Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Indiana State Fair Tragedy Toll Is Now 7

The death roll has risen to seven. Meagan Toothman, a 24 year old cheerleading coach from Ohio, has become the seventh person to die from injuries sustained from the Indiana State Fair stage collapse. Fox 59 also reported Jenny Haskell, 22, was pronounced dead at 8:15 am Friday. She was reported to be a student at Ball State University.  

“After a long courageous battle, Jenny Haskell died at 8:15 this morning from her injuries sustained from the tragedy at the state fair,” the statement said. “Jenny’s family would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers during this difficult time. Continued support and prayers for the remaining victims would be greatly appreciated.”  

The first law suit has apparently been filed. 

Attorney Kenneth J. Allen is seeking damages for his clients Wanatah, Ind. Natives Janeen Beth Urschel, who survived the stage collapse accident, and Tammy VanDam, who died in the catastrophe. 

The attorney says that he feels better calls should have been made to get concertgoers out of the area, ultimately preventing the accident. “This was a terrible tragedy that could and should have been prevented,” Allen said in a statement, according to IndyStar.com. “The responsible parties must be held to account.”  

Multiple companies responsible for putting on the concert, including the company which owns the stage rigging that fell, Mid-America Sound Corp., the show’s booking agent, Live 360 Group, and Live Nation Entertainment, who owns Ticketmaster are named in the law suit.
$50 million is sought for VanDam’s estate plus 10 million punitive damages for her partner Urschel. The couple had been together for 10 years, and maintained a civil union from Hawaii — though that was not recognized by the state of Indiana.

Legal experts expect many more lawsuits to follow.

State law limits government's liability to $700,000 per injury or death. But the more important limit in the stage collapse is that all claims from a single incident are capped at $5 million.

Lawyers have 270 days after an incident to give the state notice that they intend to sue.

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