PROVIDENCE, RI (AP) – Eight acrobats seriously injured when laces hanging from their hair fell to the floor during a circus show in Rhode Island in 2014 reached a $ 52.5 million deal with ownership and administration the arena where he was a circus lawyer confirmed on Monday.
“It’s a great result, it’s the right result, and it’s a fair result,” Zachary Mandell, a lawyer for the eight women, said about the agreement, first reported by The Providence Journal.
A metal clip that held the acrobatics 20 feet (6 meters) above the floor of the Dunkin ‘Donuts Center broke during the May 2014 show, causing the women to suffer broken bones and spinal injuries. A ninth ground worker was also injured.
Some of the women still suffer from “life-changing” injuries, according to Mandell, who said she could not go into details because of the laws on medical confidentiality.
“These customers will now be able to have significant recoveries with this agreement,” he said.
The women in 2016 sued the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority, which owns the arena, and SMG, which manages it. Sean Brousseau, listed as a lawyer for both entities, said Monday that he can neither confirm nor deny an agreement.
The settlement will be paid by insurers, Mandell said.
According to the lawsuit, SMG agreed to handle all events and maintain safety inside the center and agreed with Feld Entertainment Inc. from Florida, the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, to bring the circus to Providence.
After the accident, which took place in front of thousands of spectators, the Administration of Health and Safety at Work of the US Department of Labor concluded that the circus staff overloaded a carbine clip. The clip held a chandelier-like device from which women hung by their hair.
OSHA cited Feld for a “serious” industry practice offense and imposed a maximum possible fine of $ 7,000.
Feld Entertainment disputed the finding.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which closed in 2017, also agreed to take more steps to improve safety.
Feld left an email looking for comments.