Fort Wayne Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer and Attorney Blog

2011 Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse Not Foreseeable For Security Company

By Jack FarnbauchJanuary 17, 2017

ESG Security, the company hired to provide security to the band Sugarland, successfully filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that they could not have reasonably foreseen the stage collapsing at the 2011 Indiana State Fair.  

ESG was among 35 defendants accused of playing a role in the seven deaths and numerous injuries at the Sugarland concert through their actions or inactions. In the case of Jill, Roeland, Jaymie and Jordyn Poelt, et al, v. ESG Security, Inc., 49A02-1510-CT-1631, Maggie Smith, attorney, argued on behalf of the Polets that the security company had a responsibility to protect both the band and the concertgoers, and there were factual disputes as to whether the company had upheld that duty, thus making summary judgment inappropriate.

The Indiana Court of Appeals disagreed and found in favor of ESG and outlined in their opinion that foreseeability is a component of both the proximate cause and duty elements of negligence and further found that when determining foreseeability as a matter of law, courts must engage “in a general analysis of the broad type of plaintiff and harm involved without regard to the facts of the actual occurrence.” The Court stated that a stage collapse is not foreseeable due to high winds. The Court also based their decision on the fact that ESG was never involved in deciding whether the concert should be delayed or cancelled. 

The appellate court decision moves the state closer to the end of the last of several lawsuits filed against nearly three dozen defendants in the aftermath of the 2011 Indiana State Fair accident that killed seven concertgoers. Other defendants have not been able to escape liability as a matter of law.