The law firm that secured a nine-figure settlement in a building collapse in Philadelphia has filed a lawsuit in the city’s Common Pleas Court over the deadly 2017 fire in London’s Grenfell Tower apartment building.
The June 2017 fire engulfed the 24-story building in the North Kensington section of West London and left 72 dead, as well as 70 injured. Friday will mark the two-year anniversary of the disaster. The Pennsylvania statute of limitations would run on that date.
A copy of the 575-page complaint, obtained by The Legal, indicates that the complaint was filed with the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas late last week by Robert Mongeluzzi of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, as well as attorney Mark DiCello of the Ohio firm DiCello Levitt.
Mongeluzzi declined to comment for the article Monday, saying in an emailed statement, “It would be premature to discuss this matter before the news conference at 11 a.m. in our office tomorrow.”
The firm is set to have a press conference at 11 a.m. Tuesday at its offices in One Liberty Place.
Mongeluzzi and his firm are well known for handling large-scale, complex litigation, including taking a leading role in the record-breaking litigation over a Salvation Army building collapse in Center City Philadelphia, which was resolved with a $227 million settlement in 2017.
The lawsuit names more than 200 plaintiffs, and just four defendants: Whirlpool Corp., Arconic Inc., Alcoa Inc., which is Arconic’s predecessor company, and Saint-Gobain, doing business as Celotex.
According to the complaint, the fire began due to an alleged wiring and crimping defect in a Whirlpool refrigerator. After the fire started, cladding made by Arconic and insulation from Celotex allegedly caused the fire to spread rapidly throughout the building.
According to the complaint, the building burned for more than 60 hours. The blaze left 72 people dead, including one person who died a month after the incident, and dozens were injured.
The complaint contended there is jurisdiction in Pennsylvania because Arconic and Celotex are both Pennsylvania citizens. The complaint contends that decisions behind the design and marketing of the cladding happened in the company’s Pittsburgh facilities, and that the decision-making process for the insulation that Celotex designed and marketed was handled at that company’s facilities in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
An Arconic spokeswoman said, “We have no comment on any potential litigation. We continue to support the public inquiry and the investigations by the authorities.”
The BBC first reported that the lawsuit over the London fire was set to be filed in Philadelphia.
In a statement to the press, a Whirlpool spokeswoman said the products are safe, investigations by the U.K.’s Department of Business, Energy and Industry Strategy and Whirlpool found no evidence of fault, and the company is committed to assisting with the Grenfell Tower inquiry in any way it can.
“While the inquiry is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,” the statement said.
Alcoa and Celotex each did not return a message seeking comment Monday.
Read the complaint here: