Sugarland Says Fans Injured at Indiana State Fair Collapse Were Responsible for Own Safety
Wed, 22 Feb 2012 09:43:46
Fans who were killed and injured when stage rigging and sound equipment collapsed onto them as they waited for Sugarland taking the stage at the Indiana State Fair in August of last year failed to take steps to ensure their own safety and are at least in part to blame for their injuries, the country duo's attorneys said, per The Associated Press. Essentially, the country duo is saying they are not at fault for the events, even though it was their concert.
The statement factors into the band's response to a civil suit filed by survivors and families of some of those killed. Blame is being cast elsewhere.
Calling the powerful winds that toppled the stage on Aug. 13 an "act of God," Sugarland's attorneys said fair officials and Mid-America Sound Corp. were responsible for the stage setup, and that the fans voluntarily assumed risk by attending the show. "Some or all of the plaintiffs' claimed injuries resulted from their own fault," according to the band's response. Sugarland attorney James H. Milstone did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment Tuesday.
Seven people died, with 58 suffering injuries when a gust of wind blew over the rigging and crushed people beneath it. It was a devastating event, since the gust of wind came out of nowhere, it seemed.
Attorneys representing at least 20 law firms across Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky filed the complaint Nov. 22 in Marion Superior Court in Indianapolis alleging breach of reasonable care to the victims. The suit names as plaintiffs dozens of people injured and the families of some of those killed, and it seeks unspecified damages from Sugarland, producers, stage riggers and others associated with the show.
Jeff Stesiak, a South Bend attorney involved in the suit, said the band's response was strange given the circumstances of the fans' injuries and the fact that singer Jennifer Nettles had issued a statement expressing grief and sympathy to all the victims. "It's unusual to put the blame on victims. The concert wasn't canceled and they weren't told to leave. I can't imagine what the victims did to be at fault," Stesiak said. "They had a duty to warn fans. An open and obvious danger is more like walking along a road and seeing a downed power line and walking over it anyway. The storm wasn't like that."
The band is seeking a jury trial via lawyers.
Do you think Sugarland are at fault? Or are they just guilty of blaming fans, which is really not cool?