Five More Building Collapse Victims File Suit

Five more civil complaints have been filed against the building owner, his demolition contractor and subcontractor, and the equipment operator in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, according to lawyers at Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky.

The suits come in the aftermath of last week’s deadly collapse of the vacant 2134 Market St. building onto the adjacent Salvation Army Family Store. Six people in the store were killed and 13 were injured.

Here is the list of the five latest plaintiffs, with descriptions provided by their lawyers:

  • Jennifer Reynolds, 27, of Philadelphia, is an event planner, she was shopping in the store at the time of the collapse after which she was trapped in the rubble before being rescued. Her lawyers say she suffered “extensive” injuries to the face, head and neck.
  • Bernard DiTomo, 61, of Broomall, is a construction worker who was in his truck on 22nd St. when it was struck by flying debris. His lawyers said he sustained injuries to his upper body and is being treated for those and respiratory complications.
  • Felicia Hill, 36, of Philadelphia is a Salvation Army store sales associate and mother of seven, was battered by the falling debris. She spoke to reporters Monday, reliving the horror of watching one of her co-workers buried in the debris.
  • Rosemary Kreutzberg, 66, of Philadelphia, is a retired insurance professional shopping at the time of the collapse. Her lawyers said her head was pinned under debris, and could move only an arm and a leg for nearly three hours before being rescued.
  • Rodney Geddis, 21, of Philadelphia is a store sales associate for more than two years. His lawyers said he lost consciousness, and doesn’t even recall how he escaped. They said he suffered a significant blow to the head, serious back injuries and abdominal bleeding.

Saltz Mongeluzzi filed the first action arising from the collapse on June 6, on behalf of 54-year-old Nadine White, a sales associate of the store who they said was smothered in the collapse and injured.

Defendants in the case include building owner Richard Basciano, his development company STB Investments, construction contractor Grffin T. Campbell, subcontractor S&R Contracting, Inc. and the operator of the crane that allegedly caused the collapse, Sean Benschop.

Benschop is being held without bail after surrendering to police over the weekend on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment after being accused of being impaired by pain killers and marijuana. His lawyer, Daine Grey, has said with the toxicology report not yet completed, there is no evidence that his client was impaired at the time of the accident.

Saltz Mongeluzzi name partner Robert Mongeluzzi inspected the site Sunday and has argued that the contractor should have demolished the building from the inside out, starting with the roof rather than the front face of the building. He said the contractor removed all lateral support, which left a three-story wall without bracing hovering over the adjacent thrift shop.

Mongeluzzi’s co-counsel include firm colleagues Larry Bendesky, Andrew R. Duffy and Jeffrey P. Goodman. Other co-counsel include solo practitioner R. Emmett Madden on behalf of Hill and Daniel Schwarz of Schwarz & Schwarz on behalf of DiTomo.

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