First wrongful death lawsuit filed for Indiana State Fair stage collapse

Two weekends ago a tragic accident occurred at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The main concert stage at the fair collapsed because of strong wind gusts on August 13, and the collapse occurred just before the popular country band Sugarland was about to perform. Seven people died and 40 more people were injured because of the stage collapse. The most recent death related to the stage collapse occurred this past Monday afternoon.

This week has seen the first wrongful death lawsuits filed as a result of the stage collapse in Indianapolis. The most recent related wrongful death suit was filed on the behalf of a 42-year-old woman from Wanatah, Indiana who perished in the accident. The suit was filed by the woman’s loved ones; her 17-year-old daughter and her partner, a 49-year-old woman. Even though Indiana law does not recognize the legal rights of same-sex partnerships, the lawyer representing the loved ones of the deceased woman plans to address that issue as well.

The 42-year-old woman was killed by the collapse of the state fair’s main concert stage which was caused by high-speed wind that blew in minutes before Sugarland was set to play. The woman’s 49-year-old partner was severely injured during the stage collapse. The 49-year-old woman suffered “serious and painful crush injuries,” and as a result will be impaired for the rest of her life.

Various groups are looking into the facts of the stage collapse. Several staffers from the Indiana Inspector General have been assigned to help the State Fair Commission with their fact-finding mission. Other firms from outside of the state have been hired to complete structural analysis and an analysis on the fair’s preparedness for an emergency.

Source: Reuters, “First lawsuits filed over deadly Indiana fair collapse,” Susan Guyett, Aug. 21, 2011

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