PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwired - February 08, 2017) - Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller announced today the largest personal injury settlement in Pennsylvania history in a case involving the collapse of a building at Market and 22nd Streets in 2013 that resulted in seven deaths and multiple injuries. After deliberations, defendants Developer Richard Basciano, architect Plato Marinakos, the Salvation Army and other parties agreed to pay $227 million in damages to victims of the collapse. After only four hours of deliberation, the jury returned a unanimous verdict and decided the Salvation Army was 75% responsible.
"The important message to the Philadelphia business community is that the safety of your employees and customers needs to be your number one priority. It is more important than your business plan, growth or profits. If you forget that message in this city, there will be accountability," said Steven Wigrizer (http://www.wnwlaw.com/our-team/steven-wigrizer/), who, along with associate Jason Weiss (http://www.wnwlaw.com/our-team/jason-s-weiss/), represented the families of Mary Simpson and Roseline Conteh in the case.
"I am very proud right now. I'm proud of our trial team. I'm especially proud of the survivors and the families of those who didn't survive for seeing this through to the conclusion, despite the emotional toil. I am proud of our court system and Judge Sarmina, who along with the lawyers worked day and night throughout this five-month trial. I am proud to be a Philadelphian today, " Wigrizer continued. In addition to Mr. Wigrizer and Mr. Weiss, the members of the talented Plaintiffs' trial team who represented the seven individuals who died as a result of this tragedy include Robert J. Mongeluzzi and Jeffrey P. Goodman of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, Harry M. Roth and James G. Begley of Cohen, Placitella, & Roth, and Adam Grutzmacher of Clearfield & Kofsky.
The collapse occurred when two unqualified contractors were hired to demolish a building adjacent to a Salvation Army building. The contractors, Griffin Campbell and Sean Benschop, are both currently serving prison terms, but the business owner, Baciano, architect, Marinakos and the Salvation Army, which was found liable for ignoring warnings of the dangers from the demolished building, were never charged.
Wigrizer said the case was about more than simply the settlement. "One of the jurors came up to me and gave me a hug. She was from Bosnia. In Bosnia, they don't have the right to file civil cases. She felt so thankful to be an American where ordinary people can go into a courtroom to have lawyers working for them to work for justice. I'm also proud to be an American today."
Today's settlement is another in a long line of successful cases for the firm. In 2014-2015, The National Law Journal recognized Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller for its second annual list of America's Elite Trial Lawyers, a list which acknowledges the 50 US law firms that earned the largest awards for their clients. Firms selected for the list had either $40 million in awards during an evaluation period from July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 or had four or more cases totaling more than $15 million in awards. Overall, in its 35 years the firm has been awarded more than $200 million in settlements. Among other accolades the firm's senior partners were also recognized as 2015 Pennsylvania "Super Lawyers" by their peers and two other attorneys were named "Rising Stars." Weiss, who assisted on the case settled today, was named a "Rising Star" for 2016, as well as being named among the Best Lawyers 2017.
For more than 35 years, the law firm of Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller (http://www.wnwlaw.com) has been helping victims of personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with offices in Philadelphia, West Conshohocken, Allentown, and Marlton. For more information or to get help with a potential claim, call 1-800-529-6600 or visit http://www.wnwlaw.com/contact-us/.
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