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Indiana will pay $5M to victims of state fair stage collapse: Official

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INDIANAPOLIS—Indianapolis Attorney General Greg Zoeller says the state will pay the full $5 million it's allowed to pay under Indiana law to victims of the Aug.13 stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

The attorney general also announced Wednesday that the state is consulting with Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of victims' compensation funds in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack in New York and last year's BP P.L.C. Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, on how the state will pay claims stemming from the accident.

In a statement, Mr. Zoeller said Mr. Feinberg has agreed to provide his services at no charge to the state. Mr. Feinberg also will work with the Indiana State Fair Commission to administer private donations being made to a fund to benefit victims of the stage collapse.

Mr. Zoeller said funds would be distributed to victims “as soon as an equitable formula is devised,” adding, “My goal is to focus on the needs of victims and their families while minimizing the expense of lengthy and costly litigation.”

Suits already filed

The state of Indiana and the state fair are among the defendants in several suits that have already been filed in connection with the stage collapse.

Under Indiana law, claims against public entities are capped at $700,000 per person and a total of $5 million per occurrence. Earlier this week the state moved to dismiss a suit seeking class action status on procedural grounds that it violated the state's Tort Claims Act.

Seven people were killed and dozens were injured at the Indiana State Fair when the stage collapsed during a storm prior to a performance by Sugarland.