The first class action lawsuit on behalf of the victims of an Aug. 13 concert stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair has been filed by an Indianapolis law firm.
In a press release the firm, Cohen & Malad LLP, accused the state and companies involved of being negligent in the handling of the event and in the installation and maintenance of the stage structure.
What we already know is that the structure failed in the environment it was designed to be used in, attorney Jeff Hammond said in the statement.
The incident claimed the lives of seven people and injured dozens of others who were at the stage to see a concert by the country-music group Sugarland.
The law firm filed the class action suit in Marion Superior Court on behalf of Angela Fisher, an Indianapolis resident who witnessed the stage collapse and allegedly continues to suffer from emotional trauma as a result of the event. Fisher was saved after her boyfriend picked her up and ran away from the collapsing structure; in the moments that followed, Fisher reportedly saw another concert-goer die and witnessed her boyfriend carry away another young woman with head trauma that was too graphic for her to even describe.
She has sought out the assistance of trained professionals, but is concerned that there are countless others who don't know what to do or where to turn for help, according to the statement.
The attorneys at Cohen & Malad have offered their legal services for no charge in an effort to maximize the limited amount of funds recoverable from the state. An Indiana law limits individual damage claims against the state to $700,000 and overall claims to $5 million per event. However, the state has the power to waive the cap, which Irwin Levin, a managing partner at Cohen & Malad, hopes it will do for this case.
Here, you've got hundreds, Levin told the Indiana Business Journal. There are so many people who were there and hit by debris-some injured seriously and some with just emotional damage.
The Indiana State Fair Commission, the Indiana State Police and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security were all named as defendants in the lawsuit. Aside from the state, the class action also named the company that installed the stage rigging, Mid-America Sound Corp., and Live Nation Worldwide Inc., the promoter of the Sugarland concert.
The lawsuit follows another tort claim notice filed by the widow of Glenn Goodrich, a 49-year-old security worker who was killed during the stage collapse. The suit is not a class action.