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Today Marks Deadline To File Lawsuit In Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse

Last updated on Wednesday, August 14, 2013

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Today marks the deadline for anyone injured in the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage rigging collapse to file a lawsuit.

August 13 is the anniversary of the accident that killed seven people and injured dozens of others. A powerful wind gust led to the rigging collapse and heavy equipment falling onto the crowd that was awaiting the start of the Sugarland concert.

The civil cases already filed and combined in Marion County will go to trial in February of next year.

Critics: Indiana law encouraging 'blame game' in State Fair stage collapse

13 Investigates has covered the investigation extensively and now shows why some believe an Indiana law is creating more defendants and forcing major delays in justice.

Two years have passed and there is no end in sight for the families of those who died or suffered severe injuries, when the stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair collapsed under a 59-mph wind gust.

The wreckage has long been cleared, the legislature adopted new rules on stage inspections, and the Indiana Attorney General paid out $11 million as part of a state settlement. Yet no one is taking full responsibility for what happened.

Families are now left with civil lawsuits against 49 defendants at last count including: Mid America Sound, the company that owned the rigging; IATSE Local 30, the union in charge of putting it up the rigging; and Lucky Star, the parent company of the band Sugarland.

"We represent parents who lost their children, children who lost their parents, spouses who lost their loved ones," said Chicago Injury Attorney, Ken Allen.

Allen represents the estates of at least three of the seven who died: Christiana Santiago, Alina BigJohny, and Tammy VanDam.

From his law office, Allen says he's had to file lawsuits wherever a finger pointed because of Indiana's "non-party" defense law.

Allen explained it really is a foolish law, but it's the law in Indiana and that is the sole reason why this case has dragged on for so long.

The state's investigation blamed structural design, a lack of bracing, slow decision making and no evacuation.

Allen agrees and makes no apologies for who he says is ultimately responsible - Sugarland and Sugarland's promoters

Allen's lawsuits name both Mid America and Local 30 but says the union is a victim of blame shifting.

The civil cases already filed and combined in Marion County, are set to go to trial in February 2014.

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