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Wrongful Death Settlement of 6 Million Due to Shoddy Construction

December 26, 2007

The family of Milena Del Valle, a passenger killed in the Big Dig Tunnel in Boston, Massachusetts, settled for 6 million dollars yesterday from one of the defendants in a wrongful death suit filed against 17 defendants.

While riding as a passenger with her husband in the tunnel, Del Valle was killed when 3 3-4 ton ceiling panels gave way overhead, falling and crushing her.Her husband escaped through the window of his sedan.

Investigations revealed that contractors secured the 3-ton panels with bolts and fast-drying epoxy glue manufactured by Powers Fasteners.Defendant Powers claimed that the fast-drying epoxy should not have been used to secure overhead panels that had to sustain overhead loads.Construction documents also revealed that the contractors themselves questioned the security of the bolt/epoxy system for such considerable ceiling loads.

The Big Dig project was a 14.6 billion dollar construction project that took ten years to complete and was inundated with cost overruns, project delays and poor workmanship.Then Governor and now Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney oversaw parts of the construction project.Romney fired Turnpike Authority Chairman, Matthew Amorello, after the accident that killed Del Valle.

The Big Dig project buried Interstate 93 under downtown Boston and linked Interstate 90 to Logan National Airport.

The wrongful death suit against the remaining defendants continues.

Meanwhile in Atlanta, the Georgia DOT requested sign clarification from the Federal Highway Administration for its HOV exit ramp at Northside Drive and Interstate 75.This month the FAA determined the signage at the intersection failed to adequately warn drivers of the exit.

This exit ramp signage is the center of controversy as a result of a March 2, 2007 bus accident that killed several members of an Ohio college baseball team.This was the third fatal crash on this ramp.

Experts now say that the signage does not alert drivers that staying left in the HOV lane will result in an exit of the highway.A blind curve on the exit ramp further adds to driver confusion.Apparently, the original sign called for a two-sign display although DOT engineers left off the clarifying sign because the post could not hold both signs.

Sadly, this is another example of how poor construction decisions resulted in the death of innocent drivers.Wrongful death lawsuits against construction firms, engineering firms, and state government entities can be time-consuming, costly and require significant legal skills.However, often better design and construction for other projects is the end result.If you have a construction claim, contact the law firm of Robert N. Katz for professional advice and counsel.

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