Another lawsuit filed in Indiana fair stage collapse

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

 The family of a Fort Wayne woman killed when a stage collapsed in strong wind at the Indiana State Fair filed a lawsuit Monday alleging gross negligence and recklessness by the promoters and producers of the concert.

The lawsuit was filed in Marion Superior Court on behalf of the estate of 23-year-old Alina Bigjohny and her parents, Robert and Polly Bigjohny. The Indianapolis Star reported the lawsuit contends fair and concert organizers failed to warn fans waiting for country band Sugarland to perform of an approaching storm. The stage rigging collapsed into the crowd following a 60- to 70-mph wind gust.

"Without question there was gross negligence on many levels, from the state of Indiana on down," attorney Kenneth J. Allen of Valparaiso said at a news conference Monday. "Multiple entities had the opportunity to prevent this occurrence, to prevent these people from losing their lives and being harmed in the way they've been harmed."

Bigjohny was a 2011 Manchester College graduate who was recently hired to teach seventh-grade English in Muncie. She attended the concert with a friend, Jennifer Haskell, who died of her injuries six days after the Aug. 13 collapse that killed seven people.

Among those named in the lawsuit were Mid-America Sound Corp., Lucas Entertainment Group LLC, Live 630 Group, Live Nation Touring and ESG Security. Linda Jackson, a spokeswoman for Mid-America, said the company had no comment.

Joe Robinson, chief executive officer of ESG Security Inc., said he was surprised his company was named in the lawsuit.

"We absolutely had nothing to do with the decision-making process of whether the concert was to go on or not," he told The Associated Press.

The AP left messages seeking comment Monday at the offices of the other companies named in the lawsuit.

Allen also has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the family of 42-year-old Tammy VanDam of Wanatah, who was killed, and her same-sex partner, who was injured.

LaPorte County Judge Thomas Alevizos ordered the state last week to preserve the wreckage from the collapse as evidence. Alevizos also issued an order for the state to follow the protocols put forth by the engineering firm the state has hired to investigate the collapse.

Former Marion County prosecutor Carl Brizzi has filed a notice with the state that he will be seeking damages for the family of Glenn Goodrich of Indianapolis, a 49-year-old security guard killed by the collapse.

Indianapolis law firm Cohen & Malad is seeking class-action status for a lawsuit filed in Marion County Superior Court against the state and companies involved in putting on the concert.

But on Monday Indiana's attorney general asked a Marion County judge to dismiss that suit, which was filed on behalf of Indianapolis resident Angela Fischer, who says she was emotionally traumatized by the deadly accident.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller said the law firm failed to follow the legal process in suing. He said Fischer's lawyers notified his office with a tort claim Aug. 22 of their plans to sue the state, and then filed suit the same day.

Zoeller said Indiana law declares the state cannot be sued until it has had 90 days to review and approve or deny a tort claim.

"This is not a reflection on the plaintiff's claim, but there are deadlines and a process that must be followed under Indiana law. We can't have one claimant try to cut in line when other claimants are following the rules," Zoeller said in a statement.


  • agreed
    Tragic tragic. 50mill a bit excessive, and the money will not bring them back.

    the results will be when there is a chance of rain the only decision is to cancell a concert.
  • Seriously?!?!
    This is a joke! $50M asking price? This family is simply out to get rich off of their relatives death. Tragic as it is, it was an act of weather, not irresponsible fair organizers. All medical and funeral costs should be covered and a small amount provided for recovery and adjustment, but $50M is greed and attaches a stigma to this innocent persons name!

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. Of what value is selling alcoholic beverages to State Fair patrons when there are many families with children attending. Is this the message we want to give children attending and participating in the Fair, another venue with alooholic consumption onsite. Is this to promote beer and wine production in the state which are great for the breweries and wineries, but where does this end up 10-15 years from now, lots more drinkers for the alcoholic contents. If these drinks are so important, why not remove the alcohol content and the flavor and drink itself similar to soft drinks would be the novelty, not the alcoholic content and its affects on the drinker. There is no social or material benefit from drinking alcoholic beverages, mostly people want to get slightly or highly drunk.

    2. I did;nt know anyone in Indiana could count- WHY did they NOT SAY just HOW this would be enforced? Because it WON;T! NOW- with that said- BIG BROTHER is ALIVE in this Article-why take any comment if it won't appease YOU PEOPLE- that's NOT American- with EVERYTHING you indicated is NOT said-I can see WHY it say's o Comments- YOU are COMMIES- BIG BROTHER and most likely- voted for Obama!

    3. In Europe there are schools for hairdressing but you don't get a license afterwards but you are required to assist in turkey and Italy its 7 years in japan it's 10 years England 2 so these people who assist know how to do hair their not just anybody and if your an owner and you hire someone with no experience then ur an idiot I've known stylist from different countries with no license but they are professional clean and safe they have no license but they have experience a license doesn't mean anything look at all the bad hairdressers in the world that have fried peoples hair okay but they have a license doesn't make them a professional at their job I think they should get rid of it because stateboard robs stylist and owners and they fine you for the dumbest f***ing things oh ur license isn't displayed 100$ oh ur wearing open toe shoes fine, oh there's ONE HAIR IN UR BRUSH that's a fine it's like really? So I think they need to go or ease up on their regulations because their too strict

    4. Exciting times in Carmel.

    5. Twenty years ago when we moved to Indy I was a stay at home mom and knew not very many people.WIBC was my family and friends for the most part. It was informative, civil, and humerous with Dave the KING. Terri, Jeff, Stever, Big Joe, Matt, Pat and Crumie. I loved them all, and they seemed to love each other. I didn't mind Greg Garrison, but I was not a Rush fan. NOW I can't stand Chicks and all their giggly opinions. Tony Katz is to abrasive that early in the morning(or really any time). I will tune in on Saturday morning for the usual fun and priceless information from Pat and Crumie, mornings it will be 90.1