A construction worker and his wife have filed suit in a Florida state court against several Defendants. The suit arises out of the erection of the $22-million Miami Dade College parking garage that collapsed in October 2012, killing four workers and injuring several others including the Plaintiff, Juan Carlos Fernandez. The Plaintiff is seeking damages for his injuries, which include post-traumatic stress disorder. He was working on the second floor of the garage approximately five feet from the section that collapsed.
The suit names as Defendants the general contractor Ajax Building Corp.; M.A.R. Contracting Inc., MEP Structural Engineering and Inspections Inc.; engineering firm Bliss & Nyitray Inc., architectural firm Harvard Jolly Inc., and Sims Crane & Equipment Co. Also sued were subcontractors Coreslab Structures Miami Inc. and Solar Erectors U.S. Inc., which were both hired to erect the precast concrete slabs and concrete building components of the structure. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there were several violations, including columns not being properly braced or inspected.
The incident occurred October 10, 2012, at Miami Dade College’s West Campus in Doral, Fla. The families of the four workers killed and five of the workers who were injured reached a confidential settlement in early May in their lawsuits against Ajax and several other defendants, including Coreslab, Solar Erectors and MEP. In those cases, the Plaintiffs claimed that Ajax’s decision to use a cheaper precast concrete construction method caused the collapse. They also contended that Ajax’s inspectors should not have let workers back into the garage after a crane accident two days before the collapse compromised the structure.
It is alleged in the Fernandez suit that it is customary in the type of construction that was being done to use temporary attachments to hold precast concrete components in place before they are permanently secured through bolting, welding, tying or cast-in-place concrete. At the time of the collapse, it was alleged that the pieces had not yet been fully secured. It was alleged:
The condition of not securing the multiton components as described above, especially in light of the inspections defendants conducted before and after the crane impacted the garage, was virtually certain to result in injury or death to those on the construction site, including the plaintiff.
The Plaintiff and his wife are represented by Miami lawyers Herman J. Russomanno and Robert J. Borrello. The case is Fernandez et al. v. Ajax Building Corp. Inc. et al. in the Circuit Court for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida.