Sugarland is among the targets of a lawsuit by the families of four of the people killed in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse in August. Now the country duo has responded to the lawsuit -- saying it’s not the band’s fault.
Seven fairgoers were killed and 58 were hurt in the Aug. 13 collapse, when towering stage equipment tumbled onto fans below. According to National Weather Service reports, wind gusts at the time were as strong as 60 to 70 mph.
Jennifer Nettles, lead singer of Sugarland, said in a statement after the tragedy that there were “no words to process a moment of this magnitude and gravity.”
The lawsuit, filed in November, seeks to hold the country band, concert promoters and those who built Sugarland’s stage responsible for negligence, reports WRTV Indianapolis.
But in court documents, Sugarland says the stage wasn’t built just for its concert and denies having any hand in its construction. Moreover, attorneys for the duo maintain that fans were taking a voluntary risk by attending the show.
Lawyers for the band are seeking a jury trial, according to WLWT.com.
At issue is whether the band was asked to delay the show. A state fair official has said in a deposition that Sugarland was approached twice about the fair’s desire to delay the show, and the band wanted to go on. But Sugarland’s tour manager reportedly told investigators that there was no such discussion.
Earlier this month, three entities were fined for their roles in the collapse, which happened as Sugarland was waiting to perform.
As The Times’ Michael Muskal reported, the company that built the stage that collapsed, the State Fair Commission and the union that worked at the site were fined. The largest fine was $63,000 against Mid-America Sound Corp., cited for failing to provide appropriate supervision and to develop a risk assessment plan.