Update On Sugarland’s Lawsuit! [VIDEO]
Sugarland's tour manager has become the focus of lawyers seeking millions in damages for the families of seven people who died and dozens who were injured in a deadly stage collapse at the 2011 Indiana State Fair.
Hellen Rollens is widely credited with saving the lives of the country duo by pulling them into a prayer circle just before the stage rigging collapsed in heavy winds.
Fair officials say they had a concert promoter ask the band to delay the show, but Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush say they were never asked.
Merrillville attorney Kenneth J. Allen, who represents victims of the stage collapse, released excerpts of Nettles' video testimony Monday. Nettles says she didn't think it was the band's responsibility to evacuate fans.
Attorneys want to know if Rollens relayed officials' concerns to the band.Investigative reports said Rollens told a state fair representative, “It’s only rain. We can play.”
Sugarland lead singer Jennifer Nettles said that she wasn’t aware what fans were told about the timing of the concert.
"I don’t know if anybody was told anything, and I don’t feel it’s my responsibility or my management’s responsibility to evacuate the fans in case of danger.", according to Jennifer. "Do I care about their safety? Absolutely."
Nettles appeared taken aback when she was asked by Allen whether she blamed fans for waiting. “No. Of course not,” she said.
Reports released last week after months of investigation faulted the fair for the lack of clear safety protocols and confusion over who was in charge. Reports also said the stage design was grossly inadequate.
“I think the plot will thicken on the part of Hellen Rollens, but I think at the end of the day, she’s an employee,” said Allen, noting Rollens has not yet been deposed. “The band had the ultimate authority to say we’re not performing, and Kristian Bush admitted as much.”
Victims and survivors’ families who are seeking millions of dollars in damages have filed lawsuits against various entities involved in the show. Determining who was responsible for the decision not to delay the concert could be a key factor in the outcome of those lawsuits.The state’s liability is limited to $5 million by state law, but state lawmakers voted in March to give an additional $6 million to the stage collapse victims.