Attorney plans lawsuit over Ind. State Fair victims fund

John O'Brien Sep. 26, 2011, 4:19pm


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - An attorney who has already filed wrongful death lawsuits over the collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair is challenging caps on damage claims paid out by the State.

The Aug. 13 collapse occurred between live performances by singer Sara Bareilles and country band Sugarland. The above-stage fly system was hit by a high-velocity wind gust. Seven people died and dozens were injured. Attorney Kenneth Allen is filing a lawsuit against the State's $5 million damages cap, according to a CNN report.

"The cap on damages is arbitrary and capricious," Allen said in a statement, according to the report.

"It is not indexed for inflation nor does it take into account the sheer number or extent of the injuries. It represents the worst kind of government interference. Justice requires that the cap be overturned in this case."

The $5 million fund is being administered by Kenneth Feinberg, who is known for overseeing similar funds that compensated the victims of 9/11 and the Gulf Coast oil spill.

"The State's obligation to its citizens is different from that of a private insurance company. We will not wait for litigation in order to move forward in providing compensation to victims," state Attorney General Greg Zoeller said.

"The Attorney General's Office will defend the State from this lawsuit like the others; but we generally believe it will up to the Legislature to decide whether to rewrite the laws concerning liability and beneficiaries, and up to the courts to decide how to interpret those laws."

Kenneth Allen & Associates was the first firm to file wrongful death lawsuits over the collapse.

Created by law, the Tort Claim Fund is made up of public dollars and exists so that individuals can receive settlement payments from the state without necessarily having to hire an attorney or go to court.

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