Philadelphia, PA – STB Investment Corp., real estate owner-developer Richard Basciano, the demolition contractor, and the Salvation Army are among the 19 defendants named in a newly filed wrongful death complaint alleging they are collectively responsible for the death of 24-year-old aspiring artist Anne Bryan in the June 5, 2013 Philadelphia building collapse that killed six in the Salvation Army’s thrift store.
Ms. Bryan, a vibrant, gifted artist and Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) student who lived with her family only a few blocks from the store, went to the thrift shop that morning with her friend Mary Simpson to donate clothes. Ms. Bryan did not know that the owner of the building under demolition had warned the Salvation Army weeks before of the possibility of an “uncontrolled collapse,” which would result in “headlines none of us want to see or read.” Ms. Bryan was pronounced dead approximately 12 hours after what the complaint asserts was a totally foreseeable and clearly preventable catastrophe.
The Complaint also names Richard Basciano; the owner-developer for the building being demolished and who, according to the Complaint, and witnesses at the scene, was on site the morning of the collapse.
Robert J. Mongeluzzi along with his Philadelphia-based firm, Saltz, Mongeluzzi & Bendesky, PC, filed the 135-page wrongful death complaint in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas after an extensive investigation on behalf of Ms. Bryan’s estate, administered by her parents, Nancy Winkler and Jay Bryan. “The mountain of facts, including eyewitness photos, invoices for a boom lift never rented, chilling email traffic between the defendants in the weeks and days leading up to the fatal collapse, are indisputable proof that defendants knew about the extreme danger “to life and limb”, talked about the extreme danger, but chose to do nothing to prevent the very tragedy their e-mails predicted. There is no doubt that an inexcusable series of demolition safety breaches led to the death of Anne Bryan and five other innocent victims and serious injuries to the survivors,” he said.
He noted that STB’s team, including his New York-based property manager and local architect-expediter, and the Salvation Army representatives engaged in a lengthy, deadly game of chicken regarding the demolition without regard to the likely consequences.
“Human life was secondary to material interests as the building owner, STB Investments, that coveted the thrift store property as part of a grand Market Street development plan, and the Salvation Army debated the extreme danger associated