Two more lawsuits filed in Indiana stage collapse seek to challenge state's stance on gay marriage

September 27, 2011

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(AP/Darron Cummings, file)
Authorities survey the collapsed rigging and stage at the Indiana State Fair in August.

Two new separate lawsuits were filed Monday in connection with last August’s deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

Both lawsuits were filed by the same lawyer, personal injury attorney Kenneth Allen of Valparaiso, Indiana.

The first suit, filed in Marion County Superior Court in Indianapolis, seeks compensation from the State of Indiana for the wrongful death of 29-year-old Christina Santiago of Chicago. Santiago entered into a civil union with her same-sex partner Alisha Brennon.

Both attended the Indiana State Fair where the band Sugarland was about to take the stage when a fierce storm with high winds toppled the stage. Brennon survived but is still recovering from her injuries. Santiago did not. Santiago was among seven concert goers who died when the stage collapsed, along with another 60 who were injured. 

Brennon is seeking damages from the State of Indiana which does not recognize same sex unions. In fact, Hoosier lawmakers are seeking an amendment to the Indiana State Construction to outlaw same-sex marriage forever.

Allen hopes to change Indiana’s stance through the lawsuit.

“The unequal treatment of gay and lesbian couples in Indiana is critically important,” Allen told WBEZ on Monday.

Allen also filed a separate lawsuit in federal court in Indianapolis. In that one, Allen hopes to nullify Indiana’s $5 million dollar cap on damages.