Sugarland Deny Responsibility for Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Tragedy

Country group Sugarland filed a response to a class-action lawsuit naming them in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed seven and injured dozens last summer, saying the incident was an “act of God” and that they should not be held responsible, Fox News reports.

Filed last November, the original civil suit accused the band (comprised of singers Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush), the concert’s promoters and several other companies responsible for building the stage of negligence, claiming they allowed it to become overloaded, failed to properly monitor the encroaching and threatening weather and finally failed to properly evacuate the area in a timely manner.

In their response to the filing, Sugarland argues that “they had nothing to with the construction of the venue” or therefore its safety.

Lawyers for the band added that many or all of the injuries happened because fans failed to take steps to ensure their own safety before high winds toppled stage rigging onto the crowd awaiting the band’s Aug. 13 concert.

For those who haven’t seen it, here is a video of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse:

Jeff Stesiak, a South Bend attorney involved in the suit, said the band’s response was strange given the circumstances of the fans’ injuries.

“It’s unusual to put the blame on victims. The concert wasn’t canceled and they weren’t told to leave. I can’t imagine what the victims did to be at fault,” Stesiak said Tuesday. “They had a duty to warn fans. An open and obvious danger is more like walking along a road and seeing a downed power line and walking over it anyway. The storm wasn’t like that.”

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of 51 people total, including the families and estates of four deceased fans as well as some of the injured audience, is seeking unspecified damages.

Lawyers for the Sugarland are said to be seeking a jury trial.

What do you think about Sugarland blaming the victims of the Indiana State Fair tragedy for what happened? Do you think the responsibility falls to the people who could have cancelled the concert, or made the stage safer?