An attorney for Sugarland denies the duo’s responsibility in connection with last year’s tragedy at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Seven people were killed and more than 40 injured when high winds blew down stage scaffolding and equipment prior to their Aug. 13 concert.
The response was filed last week by James H. Milstone, a South Bend, Ind., attorney representing Sugarland. Several victims and their families filed a lawsuit in November against Sugarland and other companies involved in producing and presenting the outdoor concert.
In the court document, Milstone stated that Sugarland “had nothing to do with any construction of the venue, the concrete slab upon which a structure was erected, the structure that was erected on the concrete slab or any of the public address components mounted on said structure and specifically deny that the location was constructed solely to facilitate this concert.”
The response also states that Sugarland “did not have any control over the size of the stage nor the public address system, as this was all provided for by the Indiana Fair Board.” In addition to the Indiana State Fair Board, Milstone’s response listed others who may be responsible for the tragedy, including the Indiana State Police, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the National Weather Service and members of a labor union hired to build, inspect and maintain the roof of the stage.
“The incident at issue in this litigation resulted from a gust of wind of unprecedented intensity which caused a structure that may have been improperly designed, maintained and/or inspected to fail,” according to the document. “As such, this was a true accident or act of God.”
However, Milstone’s response also suggests that some or all of the plaintiffs who attended the concert “failed to exercise due care for their own safety” and “knowingly and voluntarily assumed and/or incurred the risk of injury to themselves.”
Sugarland will seek a jury trial to resolve the lawsuit.