Articles Tagged with Premise Liability

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The first pair of wrongful-death lawsuits have been filed on behalf of the victims of the Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland, California during a dance party on December 2. Officials say 36 people died in the blaze.

According to reports, the Ghost Ship was much more than just a simple warehouse. It was a well-known “live-work” warehouse. Artists used a portion of the main floor as studio space and dozens reportedly lived there. Dance parties typically occurred on the second floor.

The lawsuits claim the building was a death trap. It was in violation of city codes and under dangerous conditions that included exposed dangling wires, makeshift heating from propane tanks, no running water, no sprinkler system, non-working smoke alarms, no fire extinguishers, and a labyrinth of flammable materials. The second floor was only reachable by a rickety staircase made of pallets. Once the fire broke out, it was impossible for most of the people inside to escape.

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A woman filed a personal injury lawsuit alleging that on February 2, while entering a grocery store, she fell due to a hazardous condition, causing her to sustain severe and disabling injuries. She claims she incurred pain and suffering, mental anguish and medical expenses. According to the claim, the defendant failed to inspect the premises, failed to maintain the premises in a safe condition and failed to warn of a dangerous condition. The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks an undisclosed amount in damages.

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On the night of August 10, natural gas built up in a basement utility room at an apartment complex in Silver Springs, Maryland, leading to an explosion and fire that killed seven people. Several others were injured as they jumped from balconies or descended down burning, crumbling staircases.

Investigators are still working to unravel what caused the disaster, but say the explosion was caused by a gas leak in the meter room of the building that built up until the explosion was sparked. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said a complete investigation is ongoing and expected to continue into next year.

In the meantime, more lawsuits have been filed alleging that blame rests with the company that managed the complex and the utility that supplied it with natural gas. According to the lawsuits, both defendants had been warned “on several occasions” about the smell of gas in apartments in the summer months before the tragedy. “Defendants deliberately disregarded the danger to the property’s residents, and undertook no steps to repair the condition,” say the new lawsuits. The suits contend that the gas company failed to ensure the security of residents by not: repairing the gas leak, properly investigating and identifying the gas leak, warning residents, and/or calling for an evacuation. The suit also claims that the utility failed to perform routine inspections that would have uncovered the potential dangers and saved the lives and property of residents.