Monday 5 December 2016

Berkeley Tragedy: who are the defendants?

Published 06/04/2016 | 02:30

The BlackRock sign is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York. Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz/Files
The BlackRock sign is pictured in the Manhattan borough of New York. Photo: Reuters/Eduardo Munoz/Files

The allegations against the companies implicated in the Berkeley balcony collapse.

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Blackrock inc

Allegation: It is alleged by the survivors and families of the dead that the owners of Library Gardens, BlackRock Inc, and four related companies were negligent by failing to take action after being informed mushrooms were growing on the balcony of apartment 405. It is claimed companies "purposely and wilfully endangered the health and safety of tenants".

Response: BlackRock Inc denies all the claims. It said the tragedy was either wholly or in part caused by the negligence of other defendants or parties not named in the lawsuits.

Greystar

Allegation: Similar claims have been made against the apartment management firm Greystar and three related firms.

Response: Greystar has denied the allegations and said blame for the tragedy lies elsewhere. It also claims that the lawsuits do not make a prima facie case for punitive damages.

Segue Construction Inc

Allegation: The general contractor and others subcontractors were hired to waterproof balconies when the Library Gardens complex was being built in 2005.

It is claimed the firm "purposely disregarded" specifications and failed to install plywood in the balcony, opting instead for three layers of orientated strand board (OSB).

It is claimed they were "fully aware" OSB was inconsistent with the approved plans and could cause a real risk of injury or death.

Response: Segue has denied all of the allegations. It claims the California Building Code refers to OSB and plywood interchangeably. The firm has accused lawyers for the victims of cherry picking building code requirements at random.

Brothers Waterproofing

Allegation: The company is one of a number of building firms alleged to have been careless and negligent in the construction of Library Gardens.

Response: It has denied the claims and said the lawsuits do not state sufficient facts to support a cause of action.

Its filing suggests the victims may have been careless or negligent and contributed to the balcony collapse. It also claimed the tragedy may not have been the result of any human failings but "caused by irresistible forces of nature that no one could reasonably anticipate".

Automatic fire sprinklers Inc

Allegation: Another "construction defendant" accused of being careless and negligent.

Response: It denies any wrongdoing, saying that if there were failings, others were responsible.

Abacus Project Management Inc

Allegation: An Arizona firm involved in the construction of Library Gardens also accused of being careless and negligent.

Response: It denies the allegations and said the damages claims were speculative.

The firm claims the victims knew, or ought to have known, the balcony was not in good condition.

Insul-flow Inc

Allegation: A concrete contractor named as a "construction defendant".

Response: It denies claims of negligence, suggesting the victims may have contributed to the balcony collapse.

Northstar Plastering Inc

Allegation: Identified in lawsuits in the group of allegedly negligent "construction defendants".

Response: The firm says the facts don't support the legal action against it. It also claims the action is barred under the statute of limitations and that victims may have contributed to the tragedy.

LMSA Inc

Allegation: The company is one of a number of development, engineering, design and architecture firms alleged to have been careless and negligent in their planning, drawing and designing of the apartment balcony.

Response: It has denied all of the allegations and claims the case against it is outside the statute of limitations.

It said that if there was any negligence arising from the tragedy, it was the fault of others. The firm said it was not responsible for methods of construction used by contractors.

TCA Architects

Allegation: The company faces similar allegations to LMSA.

Response: It denies the claims and points the finger elsewhere, saying the victims are correct in alleging construction contractors disregarded plans requiring the use of plywood on balcony decks.

Irish Independent

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