Sugarland’s Lawyers Blame the Injured – IN State Fair Collapse


Just like the remainder of this story, this isn’t going to end well.

So, the legal people for the band Sugarland have made some pretty sensational comments regarding claims made by the some of the people injured or killed in the collapse that took place at the Indiana State Fair during the summer of 2011.  I doubt you’ve forgotten any of it, I can’t believe that I’ll ever forget that image of the stage crashing down:

From a post at the MSNBC site:

Fans who were killed and injured when stage rigging and sound equipment collapsed onto them as they awaited a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair failed to take steps to ensure their own safety and are at least in part to blame for their injuries, the country duo’s attorneys said.

The statement, part of a Feb. 16 response to a civil suit filed by survivors and families of some of those killed, is a clear attempt to cast blame away from the band as investigators continue to search for answers in the collapse that killed seven people and injured 58.

Calling the powerful winds that toppled the stage on Aug. 13 an “act of God,” Sugarland’s attorneys said fair officials and Mid-America Sound Corp. were responsible for the stage setup, and that the fans voluntarily assumed risk by attending the show.

“Some or all of the plaintiffs’ claimed injuries resulted from their own fault,” according to the response. Sugarland attorney James H. Milstone would not elaborate Tuesday on whether that statement included those killed as well as the injured.

I actually found out about this from Erich Friend of Teqniqal Systems in Fort Worth.  Erich is a safety guru and general genius, and my go-to guy for safety.  We were chatting about this at PLASA Focus this week when he told me about the band’s legal response to the disaster.  If you want another mind-blowing bout of complete and utter ridiculousness, read through the comments on the MSNBC Facebook post about the story.  Holy sh*t.

I haven’t seen any retractions, big announcements, or the like about Sugarland firing its legal team, so perhaps they are right in line with these comments.  We’ll see.

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  1. I agree completely. The actual blame is shared across many fronts, including Sugarlands camp. Did you see how much gear they had rigged onto that lid? You can’t tell me that roof and outriggers were rated to support that load in sustained winds of more than 25-35mph TOPS. Those people should have been evacuated long before that lid collapsed. With the advent of more and more power efficient lighting, video, and audio… seems to me that production designers and technical directors for these tours are insisting on putting more and more gear up in the air. That’s fine if you’re going to do an arena tour, but not for these portable outdoor stages where weather and random atmospheric conditions come into play. It’s time for these bands that play the fair and festival circuit to leave Vegas in Vegas. Afterall, isn’t a concert experience supposed to be about the performance and musicianship of the artist? I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’ve seen better shows with nothing more than 120k PAR rig and ACL’s in the hands of someone that knows how to use them, coupled with a good band and soundguy…….much more energy than 24 tracks of ProTools, 60 LED panels for video, 64+ EXTREMELY heavy moving head lighting fixtures, flown spots, flown Sub arrays, in addition to the regular PA, not to mention various “specials”

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