According to a recent article, a settlement has finally been reached in the case of the fatal 2013 Salvation Army building collapse in Philadelphia. The civil trial has been declared the lengthiest trial in Philadelphia court history, as well as the most expensive payout ever granted in a case. The Plaintiffs as a group agreed to settle for $227 million dollars to conclude this trial. At first blush this may sound like an incomprehensible sum but the losses in suffering and human lives were arguably profound and incalculable.
Litigation persisted for a whopping 17 weeks before it was abruptly stopped by the announcement of the multi-million dollar settlement. This award will be divided equitably based upon the severity of the losses among the families of seven deceased victims and 12 survivors who were severely injured as a result of the building's collapse on June 5, 2013. Both the Salvation Army and building owner Richard Basciano, a New York real estate speculator, were found liable for the casualties and injuries of the plaintiffs. One of the most severely injured survivors, a 52 year old widow who was found barely alive under the rubble lost the entire lower half of her body below her hips and lifecare costs to support and maintain her were estimated at $50 million.
Basciano, 91, was hoping to redevelop properties he had been promised for 20 years. When contractors came to remove the brick building. Its structure was left unsupported, leaving the brick walls to crumble on occupants within the store. According to the lawsuit, the Salvation Army had received numerous emails regarding the threat of a collapse in the thrift store for months while under construction. Salvation Army employees refused to inform their customers of the forewarnings and did absolutely nothing to ensure their safety.
In the jury's liability verdict, they assigned the charity 75% at fault for the shoppers injured in the collapse. The jury found Basciano and his corporation responsible for 18% of the harm to shoppers harmed and killed in the collapse, he was assigned an additional 68% of the harm to thrift shop employees that were killed and injured. These percentages were based on findings that Basciano failed to research the qualifications of architect Plato Marinakos, who had no sufficient experience in monitoring such a major project. Testimonials also proved that Basciano also received Marinakos' recommendation of contractor Griffin Campbell, an inexperienced and unlicensed contractor to provide his services for the demolition.
The defendants decided to reach a settlement three days after the emotional and moving testimonies of survivors and families of the deceased. The jury had already begun to calculate monetary compensation for the damages suffered by the plaintiffs, but both parties were aware that after the testimonials, a settlement was likely.
One of the lawyers for the plaintiffs said the settlement sent a message to the business community that he hopes rings loud and clear. “If you cut corners and endanger the public, you will be held accountable".
Had the trial continued, punitive damages against the defendants would have been assigned.
If you or someone you know has been injured as a result of the negligence of an individual, corporation or entity due to faulty construction or demolition, they may be eligible for compensation if seriously injured. Don't let those who have hurt you or a loved one continue operating without being held accountable for their actions. Call the Brod Law Firm today for a consultation toll free at 1-888-435-7946 (1-888-HELPWIN) or contact them online.
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