Federal lawsuit filed in fair stage collapse


MERRILLVILLE - A federal lawsuit is being filed to force the state to pay full and fair damages to those killed and injured at the State Fair.

Seven people were killed and more than 40 were injured when the stage collapsed before the Sugarland concert August 13. The lawsuit filed Monday seeks to overturn the $5 million damage cap in Indiana to pay for legal claims.

The attorney filing the lawsuit, Kenneth Allen, says the limit has been in place in Indiana for 40 years. He says the cap on damages does not take into account the sheer number or extent of the injuries.

One of the victims, Alisha Brennan, spoke at a press conference Monday afternoon. She said concert goers were told the storm that blew the stage rigging over into the crowd would miss the fairgrounds. .

Brennan suffered a serious head injury, broken ribs and dozens of cuts in the accident. She was in the front row with her spouse, Christina Santiago when the stage collapsed.

"We saw clouds coming. A man came out on the stage and told us that this storm would move around us, it wasn't going to hit us and if they heard further word, we would all be evacuated," she said. "Not five minutes later, I was knocked unconscious with her right in front of me, with her on the ground and I never saw her again."

Santiago died in the collapse.