Families Of Victims Of MDC West Campus’ Garage Collapse Reach Settlement

The victims of the Miami Dade College (MDC) West Campus garage collapse and their respective families reached a settlement agreement with the general contractor and several subcontractors involved, as announced by their lawyers on May 1st.

The wrongful death and injury lawsuits were filed by the relatives of the four workers who lost their lives in the collapse— Jose Calderon, Robert Budhoo, Samuel Perez, and Carlos Mendoza — and by some of the harshly injured workers — Christian Ramirez, Francisco Castaneda, Frank Stankus, Anslim Antoine and Mark DiBacco.

Although the exact details of the settlement agreement are confidential, attorneys Stuart Z. Grossman, Ervin Gonzalez and Alan Goldfarb said in a joint statement that “all parties look forward to better days.”

“The parties have amicably settled these cases with my law firm, Colson Hicks, and Alan Goldfarb, P.A. for confidential amounts. However, the fact that these cases settled is not to be interpreted in any way that the structure is safe. MDC will have to make that determination” said Stuart Grossman, one of the attorneys.

The defendants of the trial included general contractor Ajax Building Corp.; M.A.R Contracting; MEP Structural Engineering and Inspections; engineers Bliss & Nyitray Inc.; architects Harvard Jolly; Coreslab Structures; Solar Erectors; and Sims Crane & Equipment.

The five-story structure collapsed on October 10. The building was three-fourths of the way through its completion at the time.

Miami Dade College shut down the campus and moved classes to other campuses until January of 2013. People were also asked to park at the International Mall parking lot nearby to then receive bus transportation to the campus.

In April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalized Ajax and four other contracting companies for more than $38,000 in total as a result of multiple inspection flaws and lack of proper oversight.

OSHA still has not released a complete report describing the exact cause of the collapse. They have, however, found evidence of missing welds and grout in some support columns, and failure to properly brace columns as well as inspect eighteen of them as required. OSHA also said contractors didn’t follow project drawings and instructions.