Lawsuits Filed Following Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse
In the wake of last week's horrible Indiana State Fair stage collapse tragedy, which claimed its sixth victim late this week, an Indiana law firm is seeking justice -- and multiple millions -- on behalf of a Wanatah, Ind. couple who were ripped apart by the event.
Attorney Kenneth J. Allen is seeking damages for his clients Janeen Beth Urschel, who survived the stage collapse accident, and Tammy VanDam, who died in the catastrophe. The attorney says that he feels better calls should have been made to get concertgoers out of the area, ultimately preventing the accident. "This was a terrible tragedy that could and should have been prevented," Allen said in a statement, according to IndyStar.com. "The responsible parties must be held to account."
Allen is targeting the multiple companies responsible for putting on the concert, including the company which owns the stage rigging that fell, Mid-America Sound Corp., the show's booking agent, Live 360 Group, and Live Nation Entertainment, who owns Ticketmaster. The stage fell when a big gust of wind took out the rigging, just minutes before Sugarland duo Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush were due to perform, and around the time State Fair officials claim they were preparing to make an evacuation announcement.
While these lawsuits may seem a bit soon to many who are still grieving, Allen says it's pertinent that the claims are filed now, "since much of the critical evidence of fault is in the possession or control of the wrongdoers at this point."
In total, the lawyer is looking to get $50 million for VanDam's estate plus 10 million punitive damages for her partner, though he'll eventually have to challenge the fact that Indiana state law doesn't allow a same-sex partner to be a beneficiary under the wrongful-death law. For now, Allen will fight for state damages on behalf of VanDam's 17-year-old daughter.
The couple had been together for 10 years, and maintained a civil union from Hawaii -- though that was not recognized by the state of Indiana. Crews will start filtering through the stage collapse damage next week.