The family of a woman who was killed when Boston’s Big Dig tunnel ceiling collapsed has settled its wrongful death lawsuit for more than $28 million. The settlement is on behalf of the husband and three adult children of Milena Del Valle, who was killed in July 2006 when part of a tunnel ceiling collapsed on her car. The main defendants in the lawsuit included companies that worked on the Big Dig – Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, Modern Continental Co., Gannett Fleming Inc. – and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority. The settlement resolves claims against all 15 defendants. It includes the payment from Powers Fasteners Inc., which was $6 million. Del Valle, 39, of Boston, was fatally crushed under 26 tons of concrete when ceiling panels collapsed and fell on the car she was riding in with her husband, Angel Del Valle.
Of the nearly $30 million dollars, Bechtel/Parsons Brinkerhoff and Modern Continental will pay the largest share of the settlement, with a combined $15.4 million owed to Del Valle. Powers Fasteners, which manufactured the epoxy used to glue the support bolts for the multi-ton plates, had previously announced it would pay $6 million. Gannet Flemming Inc. and other companies will share the millions remaining.
The National Transportation Safety Board said in a 2007 report that the wrong type of epoxy was used. The report spread blame among Big Dig project manager Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, construction contractor Modern Continental, designer Gannett Fleming and Powers Fasteners, the firm that supplied the epoxy. Gannett Fleming and BPB were criticized for failing to identify potential creep in the epoxy bolts. Modern Continental and BPB were faulted for failing to monitor the bolts after several of them began to creep out of the ceiling in 1999. Brad Henry of the Boston firm of Mechan, Boyle, Black and Bogdanow represented the Del Valle children and Jeffrey Denner of Denner Pellegrino represented the husband. They did an outstanding job for their clients.
Source: Associated Press
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