A resident of the Iowa building that partially collapsed last week filed a lawsuit Monday against its landlord, the city of Davenport, and the engineers and contractors who worked on the building, alleging that ‘they knew he was failing but they intentionally kept the tenants in the dark, even though their lives were in danger.
The lawsuit, filed in Scott County Court, comes eight days after the shocking structural failure at 324 Main Street, known as Davenport.
Since the May 28 collapse, nine people have been rescued. City officials said Monday the bodies of three people — Branden Colvin Sr, 42; Ryan Hitchcock, 51; and Daniel Prien, 60 – were recovered from the rubble over the weekend.
Davenport police said Monday that everything had been found and no other residents were still missing.
A copy of the complaint, filed by Dayna Feuerbach, who lived in the building at the time of the collapse, was shared with NBC News by the plaintiff’s attorney.
The filing says the structural damage that caused the collapse “has been worsening for years.”
Building owner Andrew Wold and the contractors and engineers who carried out work on the building “recognized the imminent danger that residents faced” but “left the building to deteriorate without warning residents that their lives were at stake.” hazard”.
The lawsuit accuses Wold and his companies of failing to maintain the building and ensure the safety of its tenants, and also accused the city of ignoring repeated warnings about the integrity of the building.
“Despite knowledge of the inevitable nature of this collapse, neither Wold, nor the City of Davenport, nor the licensed engineers ordered the necessary evacuation of the building,” he said.
The lawsuit names as defendants Wold; his companies Davenport Hotel LLC and Andrew Wold Investments LLC; Select Structural Engineering LLC, an engineering firm that Wold hired to assess its building and deemed the property structurally safe as recently as last month; contractor Bi-State Masonry; and the town of Davenport. It also names the building’s former owner, Waukee Investments LLC, and former management company, Parkwild Properties.
NBC News has contacted the defendants. Davenport Chief Strategy Officer Sarah Ott said the city does not comment on ongoing litigation.
“This collapse was preventable. The defendants’ negligence, gross negligence, and reckless, outrageous, willful and wanton conduct caused this devastating tragedy, and they must be held accountable,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit comes after a tense week in which city officials criticized why the building was not closed or evacuated sooner.
The city released a cache of documents last week revealing 145 interactions between officials at Davenport, Wold and the property over the past three years.
Just four days before the collapse, Select Structural Engineering released a report with the city that said large brick slabs “appeared poised to fall imminently” and warned that they were at risk of collapse.
A resident was hit by falling debris
Feuerbach was relaxing on his couch in his apartment when part of the building collapsed on May 28, according to the complaint.
She heard an “extremely loud sound” and then a power outage and alarms sounded.
She was “shaken by the force of the collapse” and ran out of her flat to join other residents who were running down the stairs to escape the building.
Feuerbach waded through hallways flooded with water from broken pipes and inhaled “large amounts of dust and debris, as well as asbestos,” according to the complaint.
During her escape, “she was repeatedly hit in the head by falling drywall and other debris.”
“The plaintiff was fortunate to have escaped with her life, but her remaining years will be marred by the significant physical, psychological and emotional injuries she suffered in this tragedy,” the lawsuit said.
Jeff Goodman, an attorney for Feuerbach, told NBC News Monday that his client was motivated to press charges to get answers about what led to the building’s failure and hold those responsible accountable.
Goodman worked with structural collapses before including the 2021 condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida that killed 98 people, and the 2013 Market Street building collapse in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. , which killed six.
“In a cruel irony, as the lawsuit was filed this morning, I was actually at the memorial for the 10th anniversary of the Market Street building collapse here in Philadelphia. In two weeks I will be at Surfside as we mark the second anniversary of this tragedy,” he said.
He said in each case, “there was warning after warning that was given to property owners, as well as municipalities, of what might happen, and those warnings were ignored.”
“Catastrophic collapses like this don’t happen overnight,” he added. “There have been years of neglect in this building. There have been years of warnings being given.”
The suit seeks an undisclosed amount of compensatory and punitive damages and a jury trial.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com