It’s been nearly six years since a deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair killed seven concertgoers and injured 58 others in Indianapolis. Now, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ruled as a matter of law the company paid to provide security to the main event band, Sugarland, could not have reasonably foreseen the collapse of the stage. That ruling in a recent case is one of the last of several personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits filed against some three dozen defendants as a result of the horrific accident.
Back in 2014, attorneys for several of those injured and relatives of some killed reached a $50 million settlement against 19 of 20 defendants, including the state of Indiana, which paid $11 million. The details of how that settlement was paid out (which plaintiffs received what) was kept confidential. It was noteworthy not just for the size of the damages awarded, but also for the fact it was the first time in Indiana a lesbian widow received a settlement for the wrongful death of her wife.
The incident occurred in August 2011 when the opening act had just finished, and Sugarland was preparing to take the stage. A large gust of wind from an approaching severe thunderstorm hit the stage’s temporary roof structure, which caused it to collapse, landing on many in the crowd. The issue of foreseeability was raised because there were numerous reports, notices, and warnings throughout the day of the concert from the National Weather Service, indicating that severe thunderstorms were likely. These messages were received by state fair officials through the automated text messaging system.