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Sugarland wants to delay stage testimony until May

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Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of the country duo Sugarland want to wait until May to give depositions in lawsuits over a stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair because they're preparing to tour, their attorney argued in court motions filed Wednesday.

The motions filed in an Indianapolis court seek to quash a request that they provide the depositions early next week to attorneys for the company that built the stage rigging involved in the collapse in which seven people died and dozens more were injured.

Sugarland spokesman Allan Mayer says Nettles and Bush aren't refusing to give depositions.

"They are simply refusing to be bullied into doing so on short notice without sufficient time to prepare. They and we very much share in the anguish of all those touched by this terrible tragedy, but no one's interests are served by trying to short-circuit the legal process," Mayer said in a statement.

He added that the band is getting ready for a five-month tour that starts next month.

A judge has scheduled a Friday hearing on a request by attorneys for Mid-America Sound Corp. to compel the depositions next week by Nettles, Bush and the duo's ownership company, Lucky Star Inc. Mid-America built the roof and rigging used to hold lights and sound equipment that collapsed Aug. 13 before a scheduled Sugarland concert.

Mid-America is being sued by the estates of three of the people who died and three people who were injured.

Sugarland's attorneys have called the high winds that toppled the stage rigging an "act of God" and denied the band had any responsibility for the stage construction or to warn fans.

However, Indiana State Fair Commission Executive Director Cindy Hoye testified in a Jan. 16 deposition that Sugarland resisted delaying the start of the concert despite threatening weather. Hoye said the band expressed concerns about how a delay would affect the time Nettles, the lead singer, needed to warm up and complicate the duo's travel to its next show.

A message seeking comment was left for an attorney for Mid-America.

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  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.

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