At least 51 will participate in Indiana stage collapse settlement

Bryan Cohen Aug. 6, 2012, 9:27am


INDIANAPOLIS (Legal Newsline) - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced on Thursday that a majority of eligible State Fair claimants have told the state they want to participate in a $13.2 million public-private settlement package.

The package was offered to the victims of the Indiana State Fair stage-rigging collapse that occurred in 2011. The deadline for eligible claimants to sign and return the paperwork for the settlement application was Wednesday. The injured and the estates of the deceased were eligible for the public-private settlement package.

By the deadline, 51 out of 62 eligible claimants who previously participated in the original settlement last year accepted the new supplemental settlement plan. Because paperwork postmarked by midnight on Wednesday will still be accepted, there could be more than 51 eligible claimants who participate in the settlement.

"This is an expedited and reasonable settlement that puts victims first and will provide for the immediate medical and financial needs now, rather than after waging lengthy and uncertain litigation," Zoeller said. "The vast majority of claimants, after reviewing the settlement and weighing their options carefully, are willing to accept."

Claimants have the right to decline the settlement offer and pursue litigation against the two participating companies. Litigation could take years and no payment is guaranteed at the end of a lawsuit. Claimants agreeing to the combined settlement may still continue to pursue litigation against parties that are not involved in the public-private settlement offer.

"We respect the right of the few claimants who may decide to turn down the settlement, but it is important to move forward so that the vast majority get immediate relief," Zoeller said.

The private part of the public-private settlement includes $7.2 million offered by James Thomas Engineering Inc. and Mid-America Sound Corporation.

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