Sugarland Singer Ordered to Testify in Stage Collapse Lawsuit

Jennifer Nettles will have to give deposition in April

March 24, 2012 11:19 AM ET
nettles sugarland
Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland performs in Los Angeles.
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles will have to testify next month in lawsuits filed over the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair last August, the Associated Press reports.

Marion, Indiana, Superior Court Judge Theodore Sosin ordered Nettles to give a deposition in April focusing on whether the band had declined to delay their concert in the face of dangerous weather warnings. The country duo was about to perform when winds reaching 60 to 70 miles per hour ripped through the area and caused the stage's collapse, killing seven people and injuring 58.

An executive with the Indiana State Fair Commission had testified in a January deposition that fair officials discussed delaying the start of the concert with Sugarland's representatives, but said the band resisted because of scheduling concerns.

Mid-America Sound Corp., the company that built the stage's roof and rigging, is facing lawsuits over the collapse. Lawyers for the company had requested that the band provide depositions starting next week, but on Friday Sosin approved a request by Sugarland's attorneys to delay the testimony. They are now required to submit by Tuesday dates between April 1st and April 15th that Nettles will be available to testify. Nettles' bandmate, Kristian Bush, will not be required to testify.

"Certainly there's a lot of fault to go around in this case," said Kenneth J. Allen, the attorney representing the victims of the stage collapse. "However, having said that, Ms. Nettles and Mr. Bush are 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 there was a legitimate reason."

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