WELP

Lawsuits Filed in Miami Bridge Collapse

After a bridge collapse at Florida International University killed six and injured others last week, several lawsuits have emerged.

Joe Skipper/Reuters

The families of a couple killed in last week’s Miami bridge collapse are reportedly filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Alberto Arias, 53, and Osvaldo González, 57, were among the six people who died last Thursday after their van was pummeled by concrete when a bridge at Florida International University collapsed. At least nine others were injured from the bridge’s debris.  

Yesenia Collazo of the Collazo Law Firm in Doral, Florida, plans to file the suit on behalf of the families after the funerals, she told the Miami Herald in a press conference on Tuesday.

“We are attacking this lawsuit as a quest for information,” Collazo said. “The family is asking very simple questions, and we’re not able to give them those answer.”

The suit is the latest in the wake of the tragedy.

Morgan and Morgan, a multimillion-dollar accident firm, has also filed one on behalf of two survivors. Marquise Rashaad Hepburn, 24, was injured while riding his bicycle and Emily Panagos, a 22-year-old FIU student, was driving when concrete from the bridge crushed the back of her car. The lawsuit alleges negligence by FIGG Bridge Engineers and Munilla Construction Management. The 33-page complaint, submitted in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, also names Bolton Perez and Associates, an inspection company, and Louis Berger U.S., a New Jersey firm that reviewed the design.

In a press conference on Monday, Matt Morgan, a representative for the law firm said, “If we assume that the facts that have been reported are true, then it appears that the building team might have had knowledge that the bridge was in a dangerous condition, did not close the roadway rerouting traffic and ultimately, a failure resulted.”

Morgan, told NBCNews that Hepburn “remains in a bad way” and in a statement to The Daily Beast said Panagos has also suffered serious injuries “as a direct result of her car being crushed, coming quite literally, within inches of her life.”  

On Friday, the Florida Department of Transportation released a transcript showing that it missed a voicemail from FIGG bridge engineer Denney Pate on Tuesday, two days prior to the collapse. On the message Pate said there was “cracking” in the bridge, adding “obviously some repairs or whatever will have to be done.” However, he urged that engineers did not find an “issue” with the bridge’s safety. According to the release, a representative from Florida’s DOT returned Pate’s voicemail a day after the collapse.