Category Archives: best building practices

BREAKING NEWS-No Criminal Charges in Berkeley Deck Tragedy Case

Just saw in several tweets from @mgafni that the Alameda DA’s office announced after nine months of investigation that no charges will be filed for criminal actions by the parties involved in building the deck that fell last summer.

If you recall, six died and seven Irish summer worker college students were injured after they fell 40+ feet to a concrete sidewalk in Berkeley last summer when a rotted balcony gave way. The images of that scene were horrible and left lasting wounds on the rescuers and survivors.

The DA’s office seized the fallen balcony and made it evidence from a crime scene. After investigating the case, no criminal charges will be filed, leaving civil action as the only real recourse. Although criminal intent was not found, it’s probably going to be easier to show negligence and construction defects for the plaintiff’s attorneys. Civil suits have been filed by attorney’s against the builder and the subs as well as the management company and others.

Watch for further news on the Berkeley case in the future as the civil cases move ahead.

From Contra Costa Times- Lawsuits Filed By Victims and Families of Berkeley Deck Collapse

Prior complaints by tenants about mushrooms growing out of balcony allegedly ignored.

Reporter Thomas Peele’s (@Thomas_Peele) latest article on the Berkeley deck tragedy reports that the families and victims of the deck collapse have filed a lawsuit alleging some of the defendants named in the suit knew of problems with the deck after it was built and the building occupied. Other defendants allegedly “deliberately ignored” the plans for the deck.

BERKELEY — Tenants of a Berkeley apartment had complained to building managers for weeks that mushrooms were growing on a wooden balcony before it collapsed during a party in July, plummeting six people to their deaths, lawsuits filed Thursday allege.

But their complaints were ignored, survivors and families of the victims claim in a negligence lawsuit that alleges the building owners and construction company could have prevented the tragedy.”

Read the whole article here- http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_29110468/berkeley-tenants-reported-signs-rot-weeks-before-deadly

The allegations, if proved true, would leave many of the named parties at risk of being exposed to millions of dollars in liability costs.

I’ll say it once again, decks must be built using best building practices and with the highest degree of skill and materials available, not the most cost effective, cheapest materials and labor. If successful, this lawsuit may just change the way builders hire sub-contractors-today the cheapest wins, the most responsible skilled contractor loses. It’s time for a change.

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