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Survivors of the August stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair have filed a lawsuit claiming that the entire tragedy could have been avoided.
Country duo Sugarland has been named in the suit, filed on Tuesday Nov. 22 by 44 survivors and family members of the deceased, along with producers, stage riggers and other associated with the Aug. 13 show. According plaintiff’s attorney Mario Massillamany, Sugarland’s contract gave the performers final say on whether the show should be cancelled due to weather.
In a statement obtained by the AP, Massillamany said, “Unfortunately, this tragedy could have been prevented if the responsible parties had been concerned about the concertgoers that night.”
The complaint states that Sugarland was guaranteed $300,500 to perform, $34,500 for sound, lights and catering, and 85% of gross box office receipts over $470,000. The band and other entities are said to have owed a duty to provide a safe concert environment, using reasonable care in the direction, set-up and supervision of the show. Seven individuals died as the result of the collapse.
“This is a devastating tragedy that has impacted hundreds of people,” plaintiff’s co-counsel Scott Starr added. “It is critical to help the victims pay the medical bills and other financial expenses that they have incurred from the incident.”
The lawsuit marks the largest claim to date, with at least two other suits previously filed on behalf of other victims. These claims also cite Sugarland among the defendants.
The band returned to Indiana on Oct. 28 to play a free show at the Conesco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. “Obviously we are here in October – we were supposed to do this show in August. Obviously, the stage is different, you are different and we are different. We are all changed by what happened then,” Jennifer Nettles told the crowd. “But we are going to try to give you the best show that we can and to celebrate healing with you and to celebrate life and music with you here tonight.”