Immunity can sometimes be appropriate, like for innocent turkeys or unindicted co-conspiring Presidents. OK, bad example. But it’s really not something deserving of institutions with the capacity to harm or kill people – even if they’re state governments.
For example, ask the victims of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse tragedy, which we’ve been covering here. Many of these victims are in desperate need of compensation. One party responsible for this devastating tragedy– the state of Indiana - is not exactly immune from liability. However, practically speaking it is for many victims who will be unable to recover anything due to the state’s $5 million liability cap. Many of them have now brought suit against the singing duo Sugarland, who these victims came to see. “The complaint charges that Sugarland and the other entities owed a duty to provide a safe concert environment and use reasonable care in the direction, set-up and supervision of the concert. … Sugarland's contract specified the act had the final say on whether to cancel the concert due to weather,” said one of the victims’ attorneys.
It’s a tragedy all around, but one made far worse by the state’s Draconian liability cap. Earlier we wrote,
Why is it that people don’t seem to realize the impact of these callous, one-size-fits-all caps until something happens to them? Or to 160 people in a horrific train collision? Or when environmental catastrophes occur like the BP explosion and oil spill? Or when a horrifying stage collapse kills seven people and injures more than 40? Who exactly do people think are hurt by caps?
Take note, Seattle Times, whose editorial yesterday calls for more onerous legal burdens on victims of state misconduct - in order to save state money. Shouldn’t the focus be on stopping the injuries and deaths leading to claims in the first place, rather than trying to solve budget problems on the backs of the sick and injured? It's a turkey of an idea. On that note, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!