You will recall that we wrote in a previous issue about the collapse of a Milwaukee parking garage panel. Now a jury has found the manufacturer of the panels, Advance Cast Stone, mainly responsible for the collapse that killed a teenager and injured two others in 2010. A total of $39 million in damages was awarded to the Plaintiffs. The jury found that Advance Cast Stone intentionally concealed and misrepresented a defect or deficiency in its installation of concrete panels at the Milwaukee County-owned O’Donnell Park parking garage.
Fifteen-year-old Jared Kellner was killed when one of the 13-ton panels fell, hitting him. Amy Wosinski and her son Eric, who also was 15, were injured. Due to her injuries, Ms. Wosinski’s left leg was partially amputated. Eric suffered a broken leg and lacerations to his head.
Testimony during the trial focused on the way a panel was attached by the Random Lake company, with two, rather than the prescribed four, steel connecting rods and other deviations. Throughout the trial, Advance Cast Stone insisted it was given permission to use the alternate method to install the panel, which later failed. Advance also argued that Milwaukee County failed to properly maintain the panel and that vehicles banging into the panel over its nearly two decades caused it to dislodge.
The jurors found that the Kellner and Wosinski families were entitled to compensatory damages consisting of pain and suffering, medical costs, lost earnings and other losses. The jury awarded $6.3 million to the estate of Jared Kellner for the pain and suffering he endured in the seconds before he was crushed. The jurors awarded $1.5 million each to Eric Wozinski and his parents for emotional distress they suffered. The jury awarded $15 million in punitive damages. The jury also awarded $6 million to Milwaukee County for repairs to the O’Donnell Parking structure and for lost revenue for the months it was closed.
The jury found Advance Cast Stone 88 percent responsible. J.H. Findorff & Son, the construction manager on the project, was found to be 10 percent at fault. That left the county at 2 percent. Incidentally, Findorff had previously settled with the Plaintiffs.
Source: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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