Wis. Jury Cites Manufacturer in Fatal Panel Fall
A civil jury on Thursday assigned the majority of blame to manufacturer Advanced Cast Stone (ACS) for the June 2010 collapse of a concrete panel that killed one and injured two others at a Milwaukee parking structure.
The jury also ruled that Random Lake, Wis.-based ACS intentionally concealed and misrepresented a defect or deficiency in its installation of the panel to the O'Donnell Park structure, owned by the County of Milwaukee. During the trial, ACS indicated it received approval to employ an alternative method to install the 30-ft, 13-ton panel to the structure's facade. It also maintained that something must have struck the panel to make it fall.
Jared Kelner, 15, was killed when the panel fell. Amy Wosinski and her son Eric, then 15, were struck by debris in the same incident.
The jury found ACS 88% to blame for the incident, construction manager J.H. Findorff & Son, Milwaukee 10% to blame, and the county 2% to blame. According to reports, Findorff previously settled with the plaintiffs.
A lawsuit filed in January 2011 originally cited several companies involved in the construction of the structure, completed in the early 1990s. The majority of those case were dismissed or settled prior to the trial.
In addition to awarding millions of dollars to the Kellner and Wosinski families, the jury ordered ACS to pay $15 million in punitive damages.
Following the 2010 incident, Milwaukee County Public Works indicated the structure hadn't undergone thorough assessment since 2004, though it was included in an “updated report” issued in 2009.