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Supreme Court: State Not Responsible For 2011 Stage Collapse

The Indiana Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state doesn’t have to cover payments made by a private company to victims of the State Fair stage collapse. The decision wraps up the ongoing legal battle surrounding the 2011 tragedy.

This final argument in the three-year long battle came down to language on the back of an invoice.  Mid-America Sound did more than a decade of business with the State Fair before the tragedy. And, since 2002, its invoices contained “indemnification” language, meaning Mid-America would be exempt from responsibility for accidents that occurred with the contractor or their equipment.

Mid-America says the state knew about that language; the state says it didn’t.

The Indiana Supreme Court says it doesn’t matter. In a unanimous ruling, Chief Justice Loretta Rush writes that indemnification language must be agreed to in, quote, “clear and unequivocal terms.” And she says that the state and Mid-America had operated with the language on that invoice for several years doesn’t amount to those clear and unequivocal terms.

The Court decided the state won’t have to cover settlement payments Mid-America provided to stage collapse victims.

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