State Fair injury settlements challenged

(File photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Sixty-two people injured in the 2011 stage collapse at the State Fairgrounds accepted legal settlements from state government. Now the state Court of Appeals is being asked to find that the payments were distributed in an unconstitutional way.

It’s all about efforts by the state to limit the damages from the Fair collapse. The state has what’s called a cap on tort claims. That means it can’t be sued for more than $5 million for any one incident.

In the case of the State Fair collapse the legislature, in a one-time-only move, contributed an additional $6 million but lawyers for one victim say that she was still unfairly denied the ability to sue state government.

In arguments conducted at the Statehouse Monday they told a 3-judge panel that the tort claim cap that applies to individuals, $700,000, should be available to every victim.

Those lawyers represent Jordan Polet of Cincinnati, whose mother Jill and older sister Jaymie were seriously injured in the stage collapse. Both of them accepted settlements.

Jordan rejected an offer of $1,690 and her lawyers are fighting an uphill battle to win the right to sue.

“The court understands the issues,” said Polet’s attorney, Robert Peck. “It’s now in their hands.”

When asked if it would be a big precedent if he won, Peck answered, “Yes it would.”

Jordan Polet’s lawyers lost this case at the trial court level leading to the appeal. They say that her claim against the state could go as high as $100,000.

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