Seattle crane collapse victims awarded $100 million-plus jury verdict

Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/Iam Anupong

Victims of the fatal crane collapse that killed four people at a Google job site in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood in 2019 were awarded more than $100 million by a jury on March 15.

The verdict was for cases brought by the families of a 19-year-old Seattle Pacific University student and a 71-year-old former city worker, who were killed in the collapse, and three others who were injured or had property damaged in the incident. The families of two ironworkers who fell to their deaths during the collapse have filed separate lawsuits.

Operating in windy conditions, the iron workers were taking apart the 300-foot crane attached to an under-construction Google building in South Lake Union when it came crashing down. 

An investigation into the collapse concluded that some of the companies involved in the crane’s disassembly had prematurely removed pins supporting the structure, which is reportedly a common time-saving practice in the industry. 

The jury determined that Northwest Tower Crane, which provided the iron workers at the job site, and Omega Morgan which provided a mobile crane used to disassemble the fixed crane, were responsible for 75 percent of the $150 million in damages awarded at the trial. 

“You had Northwest Tower Crane pulling too many pins too fast, creating an opportunity for disaster,” said Todd Gardner, an attorney for the university student’s family. “You had Omega Morgan deciding they were going to continue to work despite the winds. … Had either of them done their job, this wouldn’t have happened.”

Under the verdict, the university student’s family was awarded $54 million, the city worker’s family $39 million under the verdict, and two bystanders injured in the collapse will each receive $9 million.

“When your work affects the public, your job is to protect the public,” David Beninger, an attorney for family of the retired city worker, said in a news release. ”Hopefully this will also bring some closure for the families and individuals hurt by this preventable collapse.”

If you have been injured in a construction site accident, or have a workers’ comp, L&I, or other employment law claim, contact Emery Reddy. You won’t get better advice.

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