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Firm Sues Over Worker's Death in FIU Bridge Collapse

Friday, April 27, 2018

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A month and a half has passed since the fatal collapse of a pedestrian bridge on the Florida International University campus, and another lawsuit has been filed—this time, Winsome Joy Campbell, the widow of a 37-year-old Sunrise construction worker employed on the project, is stepping forward.

Navaro Brown was one of six people who died due to the bridge collapse; after initially surviving the impact, he succumbed to his injuries in the hospital. According to myPalmBeachPost, it was Brown’s first day of work on the project.

Bridge Collapse

On March 14, the pedestrian bridge collapsed across eight lanes of the busy road below, flattening several vehicles.

National Transportation Safety Board, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A month and a half has passed since the fatal collapse of a pedestrian bridge on the Florida International University campus, and another lawsuit has been filed—this time, Winsome Joy Campbell, the widow of a 37-year-old Sunrise construction worker employed on the project, is stepping forward.

The 950-ton, 174-foot-long span was assembled alongside the road while support columns were erected in place. On March 10, the span was lifted off the ground with a mechanical transporter, swung into position, then lowered onto the support columns. Sliding it into place took six hours, noted the Miami Herald, and the process—known as Accelerated Bridge Construction—was touted by FIU as an innovative “instant” bridge technique.

According to CNN, shortly after the span was installed, W. Denney Pate, an engineer with bridge firm FIGG, which was part of the design-construction team, noticed there was an issue—a crack had formed along the north side of the bridge, and repairs were needed.

Lawsuits Mounting

At the time of the incident, Brown was employed by a company specializing in products to strengthen bridges.

Lake Worth attorney John Romano and Fort Lauderdale lawyer Michael Salad filed the wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday (April 25), accusing roughly 10 companies involved in the bridge construction of “gross negligence.” The company Brown worked for is not being sued, however.

Those companies being sued include the general contractor, designers, safety monitors and equipment companies. Salad and Romano cited that these entities “failed to take any and all necessary precautions in order to prevent a catastrophic failure of the subject bridge.”

The amount in damages sought for Brown’s widow has not been disclosed.

Other lawsuits have been filed: Marquise Rashaad Hepburn has sued, saying he was “seriously injured” as he rode his bicycle underneath the pedestrian bridge. On April 2, Richard Humble, a 19-year-old FIU student, also announced his own lawsuit, which focused on alleged negligence and the fact that companies did not shut down 8th Street as they tightened steel rods on the cracked end of the span.

   

Tagged categories: Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC); Bridges; Infrastructure; Laws and litigation; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Safety

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