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State fair stage collapse spurs wrongful death lawsuit

In the wake of the tragic collapse of a stage at the Indiana State Fair which took the lives of at least seven concert attendees, there have been many accusations of negligence and wrongdoing on the part of concert organizers. Recently, the spouse of a woman who was killed when the stage collapsed has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several companies involved in the concert, and there will likely be several similar lawsuits that follow. However, this case is raising interesting questions for one reason: the spouse who has filed the lawsuit is a woman.

To date, Indiana, like California and several other states, has not legalized same-sex marriage or anything similar. However, the plaintiff alleges that she has suffered the same injuries as someone who has lost a legal spouse, and that she should therefore be awarded the same damages.

The two women had been partners for more than a decade prior to the fatal accident. They had registered as reciprocal beneficiaries in the state of Hawaii, and had lived together for 10 years with the deceased's 17-year-old daughter. Because they shared a home, the surviving spouse must now find a way to pay for household bills and costs on her own income, which is likely going to be a difficult adjustment.

Several companies are named as defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit, including Mid-America Sound Corporation, which owned the stage, Lucas Entertainment, and Live Nation. The plaintiff is alleging that the companies allowed dangerous conditions to exist, and that they did not warn concert attendees of the potential danger caused by the inclement weather.

Source: WXIN, "Wrongful death lawsuit filed following tragedy raises tough questions," Ann Keil, Aug. 26, 2011

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