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Sugarland Sued for State Fair Stage Collapse

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on November 28, 2011 12:08 PM

Dozens of victims of August's Indiana State Fair stage collapse are suing country music duo Sugarland, saying the band had the power to cancel the show -- but failed to consider spectators' safety.

The lawsuit, filed Nov. 22 by relatives of four people killed and 44 others who were hurt in the collapse, claims Sugarland was negligent in allowing their concert to proceed despite severe weather warnings, The Indianapolis Star reports.

Sugarland was set to perform on an outdoor stage Aug. 13 when gusty winds caused it to collapse. Seven people were killed.

The 48 victims' Sugarland suit also names 13 other defendants including concert promoter Live Nation and a stagehands' union, the Star reports.

Sugarland and the other defendants owed a duty to concertgoers to provide a safe environment, and to use reasonable care in setting up and supervising the show, the lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit also says Sugarland's contract gave them final say on whether the show should go on, according to The Hollywood Reporter. When the weather got worse, Sugarland should have canceled the show before the stage collapsed, the lawsuit says.

If plaintiffs' lawyers can prove Sugarland and other defendants failed to live up to their duties, the victims could win big in court. The Sugarland suit does not specify damages, but lawyers say they at least want to cover victims' medical bills.

In other legal actions, more than 100 stage collapse victims are pursuing tort claims with the state, the Star reports. One victim's partner has also filed a wrongful death lawsuit, but did not name Sugarland as a defendant.

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, who comprise Sugarland, were not hurt in the August stage collapse. Their attorney has yet to comment on the latest Sugarland suit.

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