Woman Injured in Florida Crane Collapse Sues Contractor and Other Firms

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Woman Injured in Florida Crane Collapse Sues Contractor and Other Firms

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A construction worker was killed and two people were taken to the hospital after a portion of a crane dropped onto the Southeast Third Avenue bridge over the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Thursday, April 4, 2024.

Photo by Carline Jean/South Florida Sun Sentinel/TNS

One of three people injured in a partial crane collapse at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., last month that resulted in the death of a construction worker has filed a $50-million lawsuit against the contractor and four other firms involved in the incident.

Attorneys for Gemmalyn Castillo claim she suffered organic brain damage, permanent facial scarring and psychological trauma when a section of the crane struck a vehicle in which she was a passenger. The section fell along with a work platform during a stepping operation for a tower crane at a planned 43-story apartment tower, killing a construction worker on the platform. Two other people were injured in the April 4 incident, which remains under investigation by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The lawsuit, filed in Broward County circuit court, alleges that Castillo’s injuries were caused by the “reckless actions” of West Palm Beach, Fla.-based general contractor Kast Construction, Phoenix Rigging & Erecting of Mableton, Ga., and Maxim Crane Works, a Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based equipment rental company. Project owner CG Riverwalk, and developer Gables Residential Services are also named as defendants.

Allegations in the filing include improper inspection, assembly and movement of the crane; an “unreasonably accelerated schedule” that caused workers to take shortcuts; and the absence of a safety plan to protect motorists and pedestrians, including diverting traffic while the crane was being assembled.

“The defendants had an obligation and a duty to conduct their construction activities, including the maintenance, operation, construction, and supervision of the subject crane such that those activities would not cause a danger to the general public,” Castillo’s attorneys say in the filing. They added that Castillo is recovering from her injuries, but is unable to return to her job as a special education teacher.

Kast Construction has declined to comment on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation. The other firms involved have not issued public statements.

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