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Settlement Between Indiana State Fair, Stage Collapse Victims and Stage Owner Rejected

Indiana State Fair
Joey Foley, Getty Images

Fifty one of the 62 families with legal claims after last August’s Indiana State Fair tragedy had agreed to a settlement that would have protected the state from further legal action. The stage owner decided that wasn’t enough. Mid American Sound announced that minimum participation requirements were not met, without revealing what those requirements were.

The Associated Press reports that “a sufficient ratio of claimants from the largest claims categories” didn’t agree to the terms of the settlement of $6 million from the state of Indiana and $7.2 million from Mid-America. The 62 claimants, which includes the estates of the seven people killed on August 13, 2011, would have split the money in agreeing to not seek additional compensation.

The Indianapolis Star reports that attorney Kenneth Allen — who represents three women killed in the accident — was strongly against the settlement because it released the stage company and James Thomas Engineering of liability. The families of his clients — Alina BigJohny, Christina Santiago and Tammy VanDam — wanted an opportunity to sue these companies.

“Our clients are seeking justice, not a quick backroom deal,” he said. The state is going to move forward in paying out the $6 million earmarked for the victims. On Monday, the Indiana State Fair shut down for a moment of silence to remember the 62 people killed or injured when a gust of wind toppled the light rigging, minutes before the Sugarland show. As a result of the incident, there were no shows at the grandstand amphitheater this year.

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