Saturday, December 10, 2016

Pa. court allows refiling of flood-deaths suit vs. engineers

Scene of deadly flooding on Aug. 19, 2011, where four people were killed Rebecca Drake/Post-Gazette
Paula Reed Ward reports for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

The Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled today that the families of four people killed in Washington Boulevard flooding in 2011 can refile their complaint against the Moon engineering firm that contracted with the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority as their consulting engineer and construction manager.
The families of Kimberly Griffith, 46, her daughters, Brenna, 12, and Mikaela, 8, all of Plum, and Mary Saflin, 72, of Oakmont, who were all killed on Aug. 19, 2011filed a lawsuit in 2013, alleging that there had been the potential for serious flooding on the low-lying section of Washington Boulevard in Highland Park and none of the agencies responsible for the roadway did anything to prevent motorists from becoming trapped there.
The families settled the lawsuits with PWSA, the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in 2015. Because the defendants were government entities, the damages were limited under the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act.
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The claims against Chester Engineers Inc, though, were dismissed by Common Pleas Judge R. Stanton Wettick Jr., who found that the plaintiffs' attorneys failed to plead causation and failed to allege sufficient facts to establish that Chester had a "duty" to provide information to the governmental agencies about the maintenance of the water and sewer systems.
In its opinion issued on Friday, the state Superior Court disagreed with Judge Wettick regarding causation and further said that the families of the victims should have been given the opportunity to amend their claims against Chester to address his concern over the company's duty.
Attorneys for the victims' families said they will refile an amended complaint.

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