Saturday, December 20, 2014

Family of man who died 3 weeks after Center City building collapse files suit

The family of a man who died three weeks after the June 2013 building collapse at 22nd and Market streets has filed a wrongful death suit, claiming he died as "a direct result" of injuries he suffered while trapped in the rubble.

The lawsuit was filed today in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

Attorneys for the widow of West Philadelphia truck driver Danny Johnson say Johnson was shopping at the Salvation Army thrift store when an adjacent building that was being demolished toppled onto the shop on June 5, 2013. Six people died that day; Johnson was injured and died at a hospital on June 28, 2013, the suit says.

"For more than three weeks after the collapse Mr. Johnson was in and out of the hospital suffering from cardiac complications, pulmonary injuries and the crushing of his lower body," attorney Jeffrey Goodman said in a statement. "Medical records and a forensic pathologist have confirmed his death was caused by those injuries in this preventable tragedy."

Johnson, 59, was "unable to walk, struggled breathing and was in constant pain" in the weeks after the collapse, the lawsuit says.

The suit says he was released from the hospital on June 14, 2013, but returned on June 17 and again on June 26, when he remained hospitalized until his death.

Defendants include the Salvation Army, STB Investment Corp., which owned the building being demolished, STB owner Richard Basciano, contractor Griffin Campbell and excavator operator Sean Benschop.

The lawsuit contends that STB and the Salvation Army "failed to take the necessary steps" to protect customers and employees, and the demolition was done in an "incompetent, reckless and outrageous" manner.

Goodman's firm, Saltz, Mongeluzzi,Barrett & Bendesky, says the lawsuit is the seventh wrongful death suit filed in relation to the collapse.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

Emily Babay PHILLY.COM
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