INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Country group Sugarland, among defendants named in a massive civil lawsuit filed last fall by dozens of victims in the accident at the group's Indiana State Fair show, has fired back, blaming the fans, in part.
Seven people were killed when stage rigging collapsed in August. Dozens were injured. More than 45 people, represented by several different lawyers, filed a civil lawsuit in November against 14 defendants, including the band.
Now, Lucky Star Inc. and and Sugarland Music Inc. are demanding a jury trial – which would be an escalation of the case – and are putting the blame on several other entities, including the fans themselves who were there for the Aug. 13 show.
Among those who also share blame, the response says, are the state of Indiana and State Fair officials. And though the band claims the storm-spurred stage collapse was "a true accident, or act of God," it also says "some or all of the plaintiffs failed to exercise due care for their own safety" and "knowingly and voluntarily assumed and or incurred the risk of injury to themselves."
Sugarland also asserts that since the victims may have already received compensation, any damages assessed against the defendants should be reduced by that amount of compensation.
Paul Kruse, an attorney for the victims, said this is noteworthy because the state Legislature is currently considering a bill that could provide for an additional $5 million dollars in compensation for the victims. The state has already distributed $5 million – its liability cap under current state law, and that bill is scheduled for a vote in a Senate committee Thursday.
Sugarland's response comes days after State Fair officials said the decision to the delay the show or not ultimately rested with the band - who refused to do so .
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