There have been a number of reports in the past several months of decks collapsing at commercial buildings, causing injuries and deaths. In one such incident, a Miami couple has sued the owners of a local sports bar for failing to properly maintain a waterfront deck that collapsed in June while patrons were watching the Miami Heat play Game 5 of the NBA Finals. In the suit, filed in Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit Court, Francisco Mayorga Garcia and Solange del Castillo accused Inn on North Bay Ltd. — which does business as Best Western Plus on the Bay Inn & Marina — and 1819 Inc. of negligently failing to maintain the waterfront deck at Shuckers Bar & Grill in North Bay Village and causing the incident that sent the deck — and dozens of patrons — into Biscayne Bay on June 13th. It was alleged that the defendants “knew or should have known that its waterfront deck was not properly maintained, was not in a safe condition and was not safe from dangers.” With this knowledge, the Plaintiffs allege that the restaurant owners “purposefully chose not to repair or remedy the dangerous, hazardous and debilitating waterfront deck.”
The couple was eating dinner on the deck, which they say was overcrowded, June 13. They were watching the Miami Heat play the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA Finals when the deck collapsed into the water. Mayorga Garcia suffered back, head and knee injuries in the fall, according to the complaint. Garcia said that he first rescued his wife, who does not know how to swim, and then went in to help people who were in the water below the collapsed deck. Garcia lifted tables, chairs and other debris off patrons who were stranded in the shallow water, according to the suit, and ultimately had to be rescued himself by rescue personnel, lost consciousness and was transported to a trauma center, where he spent the next four days, according to the complaint.
At the time of the accident, the Miami Herald reported that about 100 people were on the deck, and 15 had to be transported to local hospitals. The lawsuit filed by the couple seeks damages to cover Garcia’s medical costs, as well as loss of income due to his injuries. Both plaintiffs are seeking damages for mental anguish and pain and suffering, among other claims. The plaintiffs are represented by Stuart N. Ratzan and Stuart J. Weissman, lawyers with the Ratzan Law Group in Miami, Fla. The case is Mayorga Garcia et al. v. Inn on North Bay Ltd. et al. in the Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida.
Sources: Law360 and The Miami Herald
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