The longest civil trial in the history of the city of Philadelphia wrapped up on February 8, 2017, with a settlement for the plaintiffs: twelve people who were injured and the families of the seven people who perished in a building collapse in June 2013. The collapse occurred when the demolition of a Center City building owned by New York real estate/adult entertainment magnate Richard Basciano caused an adjacent building housing a Salvation Army consignment store to collapse under four stories of brick.
The Philadelphia Daily News reported on court documents that stated Basciano was at the scene of the demolition in a conference with the contractor, Griffin Campbell, as the building began to collapse. In a related criminal case, convictions were handed to Campbell, and the excavator operator, Sean Benschop, who were sent to prison for 15 to 30 years and 7 ½ to 15 years, respectively, for their roles in the collapse.
The publicized seventeen-week civil trial ended with a settlement of $227 million, to be paid by Basciano and the Salvation Army to the plaintiffs. According to an anonymous source reported in the Philadelphia Daily News, $200 million is to be paid by the Salvation Army, and $27 million by Basciano.The settlement money is to be divided via an arbitrator among the victims of the collapse and their families.
Victims sustained serious injuries in the collapse. One woman suffered such extensive injuries under the prolonged weight of the rubble, that she underwent 30 surgeries including amputation of her lower body at the hips.Part of the settlement will help to pay for the woman’s medical care, which is expected to reach $50 million, according to the woman’s attorney.
When accidents occur, such as the Center City building collapse, victims and their families must fight for justice. Whether that justice comes in the form of settlement money to pay for medical expenses, punishment for wrongful parties, or a public acknowledgment of wrongdoing and expression of remorse, an attorney can help. Contact David Singer and Associates to discuss your options and to seek justice.