Sugarland To Give Deposition On Fair Collapse

Sugarland will not be forced to give depositions next week in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse investigation. However, Judge Theodore Sosin says the band’s attorneys must submit dates for testimony by Tuesday, and those dates must fall between April 1-15. The band will give their statements via video conference.

The judge denied Sugarland’s request for a protective order. So far, we have not heard directly from Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush about what happened in the moments leading up to the stage collapse August 13, 2011.

“Ms. Nettles and Mr. Bush were at the top of the decision tree. They had the opportunity to postpone this and chose not to. We need to know why and whether that’s a legitimate reason,” said Ken J. Allen, attorney for the victims.

Fair Executive Director Cindy Hoye accused the band of  refusing to postpone the show twice  that night. Mid America Sound’s crew chief says he argued with fair officials and Sugarland’s lighting director over concerns about the safety of his crew, some of whom were already up in the scaffolding as the storm approached.

Sosin scolded James Milstone, the attorney representing Lucky Star, Sugarland’s parent company, for failing to offer up specific times.

“It is not acceptable to just not have dates,” the judge said. He also objected to the idea of delaying the depositions until May, telling Sugarland’s attorneys that he was against the notion that “the whole world has to stand still because of your client.”

Milstone had no comment for Eyewitness News about the judge’s remarks.

“We were actually surprised that there were no dates offered,” said Carl Brizzi, another attorney for victims. “We understand that they’re busy, but as the judge said, the world doesn’t stop turning because Sugarland’s going on tour.”

Mid America Sound got the harshest penalties from labor investigators for safety violations. The company filed the motions against Sugarland, saying the band bears some responsibility.

“There’s been good citizenship and compassionate lawyering, except Sugarland,” said Robert MacGill, the company’s attorney.

He said an April 17 mediation date has been set to settle some of the victim lawsuits.

MacGill called it “the last…best effort” and said they need to talk to Nettles about the settlement talks to “get her story on what happened that night. Did she (refuse) postponing the show…twice?”




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