A group of lawsuits filed in California claim that the deaths and injuries associated with the collapse of a balcony over the summer are due to negligence on the part of third parties. Specifically, the suits are naming the company managing the property, the owner of the property and a construction company that was involved in building the balcony.
Twelve lawsuits were filed by seven individuals who were injured in the collapse and on behalf of five others who died from injuries in the collapse. The lawsuits claim that the construction company used cheap materials when building the balcony. Those materials made the structure more susceptible to damage from water, says the lawsuit.
Reports are that tenants said they saw mushrooms growing on the wood of the balcony before the collapse occurred. Mushrooms are considered a sign that wood might be rotten. An investigation occurred following the collapse. The report from that investigation indicates that beams supporting the structure were rotted.
According to reports, the balcony collapsed while a group of people was on it. The incident occurred while tenants and friends celebrated a birthday. Thirteen people fell to the ground below, which was 50 feet away. Six of those individuals died and seven faced serious injuries.
Reports indicate that the district attorney for the county where the collapse occurred is reviewing the incident to determine whether criminal charges should be filed. In the meantime, the families and victims are acting within the realm of the civil courts to seek compensation for losses from those who might be responsible for building a defective balcony or failing to repair the balcony once defects were notable.
Source: ABC News, "Victims of Deadly California Balcony Collapse File Lawsuits," Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press, Nov. 12, 2015