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Lawsuit over fatal stage collapse settled for $50 million

Because we are currently in the grips of a cold and snowy winter, New Yorkers have no doubt been fondly remembering the warmer months that allow for outdoor activities. In addition to walks and bike rides, many in the city and around the state enjoy attending outdoor music festivals and concerts during the spring, summer and fall.

But as we have previously written, these temporary music venues can be dangerous for concertgoers. And when concert promoters put guests in danger through inadequate security or dangerous premises, injuries can and do happen. Sometimes, such hazards prove fatal.

Perhaps the strongest example in recent history was the stage collapse at the 2011 Indiana State Fair. Readers may remember that seven people were killed and more than 58 were injured when high winds caused a concert stage to collapse. The tragic accident occurred just minutes before country music duo Sugarland was scheduled to perform.

Last month, news agencies reported that victims and their families had reached a settlement with 19 of the 20 defendants named. The lawsuit was settled for a total of $50 million to be allocated to plaintiffs under confidential terms.

High winds may have set the disaster in motion, but winds alone did not cause the deadly accident. A subsequent investigation revealed that the stage scaffolding did not meet safety standards. It also found that the Indiana State Fair Commission failed to adopt and implement adequate emergency planning.

After a tragedy like this one, victims deserve to be compensated and negligent parties deserve to be held accountable. But it is also important to learn from these fatal mistakes so that they are not repeated in the future. Hopefully, this case has been a cautionary tale for event planners across the country.

Source: CNN, “$50 million settlement reached in Indiana State Fair stage collapse,” Greg Botelho, Dec. 19, 2014

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