Seventh Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed as a Result of Market St. Building Collapse

Danny C. Johnson

Mr. Johnson in family-provided photo, as shown on his work ID at the time of the collapse. Bonnie, his wife, wears it around her neck, by her heart. (source:SMB)

Philadelphia, PA (July 22, 2014) – A seventh wrongful death complaint has been filed as a result of the fatally flawed June 5, 2013 Market Street building collapse that leveled the adjoining, occupied Salvation Army Thrift Store at the corner of 22nd & Market, according to attorneys for the estate of Danny C. Johnson. Mr. Johnson, 59, who lived with his wife in West Philadelphia, was shopping in the store at the time and died in the hospital three weeks later as a result of the crushing and associated injuries he sustained in the collapse.

Jeffrey P. Goodman, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, P.C. (SMB) today filed the complaint in Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas (July Term, 2014 / Filing #1407041404). His firm represents Bonnie Johnson, Mr. Johnson’s widow and Administratrix of his estate. The complaint, which details through the inclusion of photos and emails among the defendants the events leading up to the botched demolition of the former apartment building at 2136-2138 Market St., seeks compensatory and punitive damages from the defendants it asserts are collectively responsible for the disaster and need to be held accountable. Besides Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Johnson is survived by five adult children.

“For more than three weeks after the collapse Mr. Johnson was in and out of the hospital suffering from cardiac complications, pulmonary injuries, and the crushing of his lower body,” explained attorney Goodman. He said that on June 28, 2013 those injuries caused Mr. Johnson’s death. “Medical records and a forensic pathologist have confirmed his death was caused by those injuries in this preventable tragedy,” added Mr. Goodman. He said Mr. Johnson was employed as a truck driver at the time of the incident.

The named defendants include STB Investment Corp, and Richard Basciano, the owner-operator of the Market Street building that was being demolished by a cut-rate, unqualified project contractor (Griffin Campbell) and demolition contractor (Sean Benschop) hired by STB through its local permit expediter, architect Plato Marinakos (all of whom are also defendants in the complaint). The Salvation Army, which STB repeatedly pressured in an unsuccessful effort to buy its corner thrift store property, is also named as a defendant. The complaint asserts that the defendants, led by STB and Basciano, were far more interested in potential profits than a safe and code-complaint demolition.

“Incredibly, Basciano and STB retained Defendant, Plato Marinakos, an architect to do a survey of the adjacent Salvation Army store in an attempt to convince the Salvation Army to sell, but never retained him to perform the federally required engineering survey necessary for safety,” according to the complaint.

As for the Salvation Army, it states, “The Salvation Army was more interested in protecting their investment than protecting their patrons and employees.”

In addition to Mr. Goodman, the Johnson estate is represented by SMB attorneys Robert J. Mongeluzzi, Larry Bendesky, and Andrew R. Duffy.

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