Feinberg: Payout role requires 'backbone'

Sept. 8, 2011 at 9:38 PM
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INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Kenneth Feinberg says he'll need "backbone" while serving as a consultant on paying out $5.8 million in claims from the Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

"The emotional level is high in all these cases. You just have to have the backbone for it and take the criticism," Feinberg said at a news conference Wednesday, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Feinberg, who served as the administrator of victim compensation funds after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the 2010 BP Gulf oil spill, will help Indiana divide a $5 million Tort Claim Fund, to be administered by Attorney General Greg Zoeller, and about $800,000 donated by private individuals and business.

Seven people were killed and dozens were injured Aug. 13 when high winds blew over the stage at the Indiana State Fair.

Feinberg calls the sum an "extremely limited" amount of money.

"There's going to be a lot of decisions made about who is eligible," Feinberg said. "There will always be a tension."

Zoeller said in a statement the state would give priority to families of victims who died and those who were seriously injured. The Star said state law limits the government's liability to $700,000 per injury or death and a maximum of $5 million for the case.

Some victims and their lawyers say more money should be made available for payouts, the Star reported.

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