$5 Million Cap Upheld in Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Disaster

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“We want all of the profits and none of the responsibilities!”

Isn’t law just so much fun?  I have learned so much in watching the legal process over the last few years since the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse.  I’ve learned that if you want to shed any and all blame and leave some of the victims high and dry, all you have to do is have your state’s Court of Appeals give you a low damage cap and complete immunity from further prosecution.  It is SO GOOD to be a state, with a corporate identity just like a regular person, huh?

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From an article at Indy Star:

The state won’t have to pay any more damages from the 2011 deadly Indiana State Fair stage collapse under a decision by the state Supreme Court.

The justices, in a 3-2 vote announced Wednesday, decided to not hear an appeal of a Court of Appeals ruling from January that upheld the state’s $5 million liability cap in a case brought by Jordyn Polet of Cincinnati, who was 10 when she was hurt in the collapse.

The lawsuit argued the cap violates the Indiana Constitution and that Jordyn was treated differently than others who sued the state. She rejected the state’s offer of $1,690, the only one of 65 claimants not to settle with the state.

Mind blowing, right?  So, the gist of this is that Indiana offered about five million bucks to 62 victims of this disaster for damages suffered at the Sugarland show on Indiana’s state fairgrounds property.  Jordyn Polet suffered some leg and ankle injuries along with some pretty bad PTSD for a ten year old girl when that massive storm of aluminum, steel, and plastic came smashing down on her family.  She was not hurt as badly (according to the state) as her mother and sister, who were awarded $184,000 and $210,000, so Jordyn’s offer of $1,690 seemed fair to the state.

Jordyn’s family disagrees, and her lawyer says she has a claim for $100,000.  But she will never see a day in court because the Indiana Court of Appeals says that the State is only liable for $5 million dollars total on the claims, and they’ve spent that already.  Tough luck, kid, you’re now a victim of Indiana’s wonderfully equal and fair justice system.  Don’t mind the news earlier this year of Indiana and the gays, that all got hushed under the rug and out of the mainstream news so it obviously disappeared.

Here’s a PRO TIP for seeing shows on an Indiana-state-owned property:  You’re responsible for watching your own ass.  The Court of Appeals just said so.  If you do get hurt, you better hope that no one besides you gets hurt so that you get to take full advantage of Indiana’s very corporate-centric Tort Claims law.

From Indiana Business Journal — Attorney General Greg Zoeller proved just how unfair it is for a corporation (ie, THE STATE OF INDIANA) to be treated like a person, like all corporations are treated here in the good ol’ US of A — ready to be pissed?

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office defended the liability cap in the case.

“Unlike a private company being sued for damages, state government under sovereign immunity cannot be sued except under the limitations and deadlines the Legislature permits, since this is taxpayers’ money and the taxpayers did not cause the loss,” Zoeller said in a statement.

In Indiana, the law says, and I am paraphrasing for brevity:  
If you’re damaged in an accident and the state is at fault, each victim has a cap of $700,000 that they could potentially be awarded.  If there are multiple injuries, the maximum dollar amount that the state of Indiana is liable for is only $5,000,000.

Start doing the math here, folks — if you divide $5 million by $700,000 there are only 7 victims who would benefit the full amount in a settlement.  There were 62 victims who were split up among the $5 million dollar capped costs for the state.  If that money had been divided up equally, which it was not based on “claim severity,” each of those 62 victims would have received $80,645 and change.  So how does Indiana, a state whose elected officials make decisions based on the rights and good governance of everyone in that state, get to be off the hook for an accident they caused?

Here’s the ugly part — Jordyn and her family declined the crap settlement from the State.  After the big $6 million chunk was added to the pool, victims who had already settled with the state got more money.  Anyone not settling got zilch.  Jordyn’s case was the only non-settlement case.

In this case of a corporation being a person, Indiana the Corporation gets to be treated specially and without repercussion.  Indiana even voted to add six million to the victims’ pool.  Sorry, Jordyn.

Here’s a little reminder of how Indiana treats its entertainment events on its property.  Piss you off a bit?  It should.  Those people died NEEDLESSLY.

Make sure that you’re keeping your own head about you when you’re at a show in Indiana — which is not a slam towards any production companies or people.  It’s a slam at Indiana, because if you get hurt on State grounds, you’re shit out of luck if more people than you get hurt too.  The Court of Appeals just said so.

I have a better idea, Indiana — instead of screwing victims out of compensation for your malfeasance, how about use some of that cash you are using to undo your PR nightmare when you got caught hating gays?  This is already a PR disaster.

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More information from news and articles about this mess with the Tort Claims Law:

http://www.ibj.com/articles/51311-court-upholds-5m-cap-in-indiana-stage-collapse-case

http://wishtv.com/2014/12/15/appeals-panel-to-weigh-constitutionality-of-indianas-tort-claim-cap/

http://www.wthr.com/story/17015906/state-fair-stage-collapse-victim-makes-strides-at-iu

http://www.indystar.com/story/news/2014/12/15/stage-collapse-victim-asks-appeals-court-throw-states-liability-cap/20456305/

http://www.wave3.com/story/29453559/court-upholds-5-million-cap-in-indiana-stage-collapse-case

http://www.theindychannel.com/news/local-news/court-upholds-5-million-cap-in-indiana-stage-collapse-case

http://fox59.com/2015/07/01/court-upholds-5-million-cap-in-indiana-stage-collapse-case/

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/1/court-upholds-5-million-cap-in-indiana-stage-colla/

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/court-upholds-5-million-cap-indiana-stage-collapse-case