Minnesota’s five-year legal battle over the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge has ended with an $8.9 million settlement involving Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., a California design firm, which paid its final installment on November13th. The settlement is seen as a final chapter in the 35W legal saga and ends all litigation dealing with the collapse of the 35W bridge.
While the settlement was reached in October, it wasn’t publicized until mid-November. The Associated Press learned of the settlement through a disclosure of pending cases the state makes ahead of bond sales. As you may recall, 13 people died and 145 more were injured when the highway bridge buckled and fell into the Mississippi River during an August rush-hour.
Jacobs’ lawyers contended that state law put a ten-year limit on liability and noted the state had a 1962 contract with the bridge’s designer, a now-defunct company that Jacobs acquired in 1999. But state courts let the lawsuit proceed. The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the company’s final appeal in May. The settlement money will go into the state’s general fund. Like others, the latest settlement helped reimburse Minnesota taxpayers for the I-35W Survivor Compensation Fund.
Federal investigators determined an original design flaw was a key factor that doomed the bridge. After the collapse, the state also sued URS Corp., an engineering company that was evaluating the bridge before it fell. The parties settled that case for $5 million. Separate from its state payment, URS settled lawsuits brought by survivors and the families of those killed for more than $52 million. The state also had set up the special $36.6 million compensation fund for those impacted by the bridge collapse.
Source: ABC News
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