Partial Settlement for Victims of California Balcony Fall

By | May 8, 2017

The victims of a balcony collapse in Berkeley, Calif., that killed six college students have reached a settlement with some of the companies they sued in 2015.

The settlements are confidential, said lawyers for the families of the students who died and seven others who were injured.

“This settlement will never restore health or life but reflects an element of justice from the wrongdoers for the deaths and serious injuries caused by the tragedy,” said attorney Matthew D. Davis in a statement issued Friday.

The students, largely from Ireland, were at a birthday party in June 2015 when the balcony collapsed, sending them 50 feet (15.24 meters) down to the street below. It’s a tradition for Irish students to visit the San Francisco Bay Area for the summer to work at tourist spots and enjoy the break.

Workers remove part of a balcony that collapsed at the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley, Calif., in 2016, (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The deaths and injuries horrified people on both continents. Among the dead were cousins, Olivia Burke of Ireland and Ashley Donohoe of Rhonert Park, Calif.

Eustace de Saint Phalle, attorney for the Donohoes, said the family will continue to push for legislative changes to building codes and reporting requirements for shoddy construction work.

Lawsuits filed in Alameda County Superior Court say previous tenants reported seeing mushrooms on the balcony, but the building’s manager did not close the structure off.

The mushrooms showed the balcony’s wooden support beams were rotting, the lawsuits said. A city investigation revealed the wooden beams had rotted through from water damage.

Segue Construction is among the seven companies that agreed to the undisclosed settlement. The lawsuits said Segue used cheaper materials to construct the balcony, making it more susceptible to water damage.

Building manager Greystar and building owner BlackRock did not agree to settle so lawsuits against those companies continue.

A spokesman for BlackRock declined comment. Greystar did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Topics California

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