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Professional Negligence / Product Liability / Wrongful Death

Posted in on September 4, 2017 - Confidential

Rebecca S. Caraway, as Surviving Widow of Sammie Jay Caraway, Deceased v. Turner Sports & Entertainment Development, Inc., Turner Properties, Inc., Barton-Malow Company, Arquitectonican International Corp., Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, Inc., The LZA Group, Inc. d/b/a Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, Cecil Chan & Associates, Inc., H. Wilden & Associates, Inc., Metromont Prestress Company, Law Engineering & Environmental Services, Inc., and R&D Testing & Drilling, Inc., State Court of Fulton County, Georgia. A negligently designed, 18-ton concrete seating section at the Phillips Arena in downtown Atlanta collapsed during construction and fell, crushing and killing welder Sam Caraway. Mr. Caraway’s widow brought a wrongful death suit against 11 defendants, including the architects, structural engineers, inspectors and designers of the seating section.

By obtaining and reviewing over 50,000 documents related to the arena project during discovery, plaintiff showed that defendants had chosen an inherently unstable design for the seating area, imposed rigorous time pressures on construction, forced dangerous night work, and painted the connection for the seating area with non-weldable primer, all of which contributed to the collapse. Plaintiff also showed that after the incident, a safer design was implemented.

The case settled after over four days of mediation. Portions of the settlement were structured for the long-term benefit of Mr. Caraway’s four surviving children. The amount of the settlement is confidential at defendants’ request.