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Saturday 21 April 2018

Berkeley tragedy building firm sues other defendants

Workers check the remains of the balcony after the tragedy. Photo: AP
Workers check the remains of the balcony after the tragedy. Photo: AP
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

The construction firm that built the apartment complex in California where the balcony collapsed claiming the lives of Irish students is suing the building's owners and subcontractors over the tragedy.

The development is expected to significantly complicate the multi-million dollar damages suits being taken by survivors of the collapse and relatives of those who died.

Segue Construction - one of 32 companies being sued by the survivors and relatives - has denied its negligence contributed to the tragedy. It now plans to sue several other co-defendants, pointing the finger at companies which owned and managed the Library Gardens building in Berkeley as well as several subcontractors employed during its construction in 2006.

The move could trigger a raft of suits between various parties who have been linked with the tragedy.

Legal papers seen by the Irish Independent reveal Segue intends to sue at least 23 other parties.

It filed the papers with a court just weeks after it emerged Segue and four other building firms face losing their licences following an investigation by the California Contractors State License Board.

The investigation found that "poor workmanship" in the waterproofing of the balcony resulted in water damage that caused it to rot and collapse.

A file has been submitted to California's attorney general, who may bring prosecutions.

Meanwhile, parents of the Berkeley balcony collapse victims are to be called upon to testify in the civil suits in June.

Depositions will be taken in Dublin and are expected to be broadcast to a court in California via video link.

One parent representing each of the deceased victims will make a deposition.

Five Irish J1 students and a young Irish-American woman died when the apartment balcony they were standing on gave way in the Californian city last June.

Irish Independent

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