A lawyer on behalf of a survivor of a building collapse in Philadelphia that killed six filed a lawsuit late Thursday against the city, claiming the incident was due to lax city regulation of the construction contracting industry.
“This is the most egregious construction accident I think I’ve ever been involved in,” said attorney Robert Mongeluzzi, whose area of expertise is construction accidents, in a CBS report. He said the accident was gross negligence and entirely avoidable.
A four-story building collapsed on top of an attached Salvation Army thrift shop in the busy Market Street section of Philadelphia early Wednesday morning, killing six and injuring 13. Just a day after the accident, city officials started to inspect hundreds of demolition sites – worried that lawsuits were on the way, CBS reported.
The first lawsuit was filed Thursday, seeking financial damages on behalf of a woman who was buried but rescued, named Nadine White, CBS reported.
Mr. Mongeluzzi alleges that the building demolition contractor broke federal safety laws and that the building owner should have used a more reputable contractor, CBS reported.
“From what we can understand, given [the contractor’s] checkered past, and what appears to be a total lack of experience and know-how, we believe that was a grossly negligent selection,” said Mr. Mongeluzzi, who has asked a Philadelphia judge for an emergency order to allow him to access and inspect the collapse site, CBS reported.
The judge could rule on Mr. Mongeluzzi’s request as early as Friday, CBS said.