Five companies involved in the operation of a crane tower that collapsed in Seattle April 27, killing four people and injuring two others, are facing a series of wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits in the wake of the accident, which Washington state safety regulators said was “totally avoidable.”
The families of two of the four people killed in the crane collapse filed lawsuits in King County Superior Court last month, seeking unspecified damages from Morrow Equipment, GLY Construction, Northwest Tower Crane Service, Omega Morgan and Seaburg Construction – the companies involved in the operation and disassembly of the crane.
The accident killed Alan Justad, 71, a former city planning official, and Sarah Wong, a 19-year-old Seattle Pacific University student studying neonatal nursing.
Also killed were two iron workers at the construction site — Andrew Yoder, 31, of North Bend, and Travis Corbet, 33. Their families are also expected to file wrongful death lawsuits against the crane operators.
Sally Beaven, 62, and Ali Edriss, 28, who were injured in the collapse, jointly sued the same five defendants earlier in December.
The crane collapsed in the South Lake Union district of Seattle as it was being taken down. Gusty winds toppled the upper sections of the crane, which broke into smaller sections as it struck the Google campus building under construction. The heavy sections landed on Mercer St., partially crushing the vehicles occupied by Mr. Justad and Ms. Wong.
According to the Seattle Times, Ms. Wong and another SPU student were in an Uber vehicle driven by Mr. Edriss, who was treated at Harborview Hospital for a multitude of physical injuries. His attorneys say he suffers from PTSD and anxiety after the accident. The other student in the vehicle was physically unharmed.
Ms. Beaven was driving when a section of the crane hit the back of her car. She continues to undergo treatment for PTSD and memory loss, according to the Seattle Times.
Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries found that workers prematurely removed the pins holding the 20-foot sections of the crane together, which made the structure vulnerable to wind gusts.
Regulators faulted and fined GLY, Northwest Tower Crane and Morrow in the fall for a number of violations, including failing to adequately supervise the disassembly, failure to properly train workers, and failure to follow manufacturer procedures.
The Seattle police continue a criminal investigation of the accident.
The plaintiffs are suing all five companies, rather than just the three cited by state regulators for safety violations because “every entity out there that could have stopped this should be held accountable for why they did not,” an attorney for the victims told the Seattle Times.