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Berkeley balcony collapse: Survivors and families of victims reach settlements with some firms

By Shane Phelan

Survivors of the Berkeley balcony tragedy and relatives of six students who died have reached out of court settlements with a number of companies involved in the construction of the building.

The settlements were reached after civil suits were filed in the aftermath of the tragedy, which claimed the lives of five Irish J1 students and one Irish-American woman in June 2015.

San Francisco-based lawyer Matthew Davis confirmed to Independent.ie that settlements had been reached with a number of companies, the terms of which will remain confidential.

However, lawsuits remain open against a number of the main defendants in the case, including the property’s owner, the trillion dollar fund BlackRock, the company which operated the building, Greystar, and a small number of other defendants.

Mr Davis’s firm, Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, represented all of the surviving victims of the collapse and relatives of five of those who died.

In a statement, Mr Davis said: “A number of defendants involved in the design and construction of the balcony which collapsed at Berkeley’s Library Gardens apartment complex have agreed to settlement terms with the seven injured students and the families of the six deceased students. The amount is confidential.

“This settlement will never restore health or life but reflects an element of justice from the wrongdoers for the deaths and serious injuries caused by the tragedy.

“The litigation continues to proceed against other defendants including the apartment complex’s corporate owner and property manager.

“A trial date has been set for early 2018. We will not have any further comment on behalf of our twelve sets of clients.”

Irish students Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller, Eimear Walsh, and Olivia Burke died in the collapse, as did Ms Burke’s Irish-American cousin Ashley Donohoe.

The families and survivors have alleged there were deficiencies in the construction of the balcony and failings by the property’s owners and management company to ensure the balcony was safe.

One of those making a settlement was Segue Construction, the main contractor for the building.

The California Contractors State Licence Board revoked the company's licence earlier this year.

Irish Independent

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