The widow of a construction worker killed after a parking garage collapsed during construction on the Doral campus of Miami Dade College filed a wrongful death lawsuit Monday against the contractor, construction management company, structural engineers and inspectors, engineers and architectural firm.
Samuel Perez was trapped inside the cab of his cement truck for 17 hours before rescue workers amputated his legs to get him out. He died three hours later at the hospital of catastrophic injuries, said the complaint filed on behalf of Migdalia Lopez by attorney Ervin Gonzalez.
Three others were killed.
“Through this lawsuit we seek to hold the defendants accountable for the utter gross negligence and reckless conduct that took the life of Samuel Perez,” said Gonzalez, a partner at Colson Hicks Eidson in Coral Gables. “The defendants built a house of cards with a conscious disregard for the dangers associated with the project, and it eventually came tumbling down, killing innocent people and devastating families.”
Named as defendants in the suit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court are general contractor Ajax Building Corporation Inc., M.A.R. Contracting Inc., MEP Structural Engineering and Inspections Inc., Bliss & Nyitray Inc. engineers and Harvard Jolly Inc. architects. Ajax spokeswoman Alia Faraj said the company “is committed to a full investigation of the tragedy and continues to work closely with investigators to find the cause of the accident.”
The complaint accuses each company of “negligence virtually certain to result in injury or death” to Perez.
It also alleges breach of duty and failure to comply with minimal standards required to ensure site safety, construction means and methods, inspection and follow-up.
The suit alleges the project was also rushed to meet a deadline.
The lawsuit claims the defendants concealed or misrepresented the dangers from Perez and acted recklessly and in complete disregard for the life, health and safety of those working on the construction site Oct. 10.
“We hope this incident will serve as a reminder of the dangers associated with construction and help to ensure the stability of buildings and the safety of the hardworking people that construct them,” said Gonzalez, whose co-counsel is Joel Bello of Bello, Martinez & Ramirez in Coral Gables.
Perez, 53, worked in the construction industry for 20 years after coming from Cuba and was the breadwinner for his wife and stepson, the lawsuit said.