Monday, August 22, 2011

Partner of other lesbian killed in Indiana State Fair rigging collapse files suit

The death of Christina Santiago, 29, in the stage rigging collapse at the Indiana State Fair has been widely chronicled, in part because she was a well-known (and beloved) LGBT advocate and the manager of programming for Howard Brown Health Center's Lesbian Community Care Project. Her partner, who was hospitalized, was among 45 injured.

What is less well known is the death of Tammy VanDam, a 42-year-old mother from Wanatah, Ind., whose partner of ten years, Janeen Beth Urschel, has now filed one of the first lawsuits in the aftermath of the tragedy. Radaronline reports that her attorney
is seeking $50 million for VanDam's estate and $10 million plus punitive damages for Urschel from the numerous companies involved in the concert, which included Mid-America Sound Corp. of Greenfield, which owns the stage rigging structure; Live 360 Group, the show's Indianapolis-based booker; and Live Nation Entertainment, owner of Ticketmaster.

Along with lawsuits filed Friday, Allen also plans in the near future to challenge Indiana law's lack of recognition of a same-sex partner as a beneficiary under its wrongful-death law, and seek damages from the state for the victim's 17-year-old daughter.
Related: Today, Meagan Toothman, 24, of Cincinnati became the seventh fatality of the stage rigging collapse as a decision was made to take her off life support.

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