Source: South Florida Business Journal, December 4, 2012
By: Paul Brinkmann
One of South Florida’s best-known plaintiffs firms, Coral Gables-based Colson Hicks Eidson, is among the first to handle a lawsuit connected to the Oct. 10 Miami Dade College parking garage collapse in Doral.
Colson Hicks attorney Ervin Gonzalez, is representing Migdalia Lopez, widow of Samuel Perez, who died after he was trapped in a truck for 17 hours and had his legs amputated. Another Coral Gables law firm – Bello, Martinez and Ramirez – is co-counsel on the case.
The suit names Tallahassee-based Ajax Building Corp.; MAR Contracting of Doral; MEP Structural Engineering and Inspections of Coconut Creek; engineering firm Bliss & Nyitray, Coral Gables; and architecture firm Harvard Jolly of St. Petersburg.
Perez, 53, was one of four construction workers killed after a parking garage that was under construction. He was driving a cement truck at the project site during the time of the collapse.
The lawsuit demands judgment against the defendants for all damages recoverable under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. The complaint alleges gross negligence, breach of duty and a failure to comply with minimal standards required to ensure site safety, construction means and methods, inspection, and follow up, including rushing the operation to meet a deadline.
The lawsuit alleges the defendants were well aware of the dangers associated with the construction method and concealed or misrepresented the dangers.
Gonzalez is a well-known plaintiffs lawyer who has recently been in the news as a member of the steering committee for national litigation over defective Chinese drywall.
In a news release, he said defendants in the college parking garage lawsuit “built a house of cards with a conscious disregard for the dangers associated with the project, and it eventually came tumbling down, killing innocent people and devastating families.”
Perez worked in the construction industry for 20 years after migrating to Miami from Cuba.