$101 Million Landmark Settlement for Tropicana Garage Collapse
Largest settlement of a construction accident case in U.S. history
On October 30, 2003, the 10-story parking garage being built at the Tropicana Casino Resort in Atlantic City collapsed. Four men lost their lives while 32 others were injured. Many of them were seriously injured and unable to work for over a year because of physical and/or psychological disability, including post-traumatic stress disorder. Some suffered disabling injuries that prevented them from ever returning to jobs in the construction field.
Trial preparation by the plaintiff attorneys, co-lead by Michael Maggiano & Christopher DiGirolamo, included taking nearly 250 depositions, including those of leading structural engineering experts, obtaining and examining more than 1.5 million pages of documents, and more than 50,000 pages of deposition transcripts.
In July 2007, nearly 4 years after the collapse, the attorneys obtained a settlement package of $101 million for the claimants. The settlement included approximately $83.5 million in cash, $2 million in previously settled cases, approximately $8.2 million of workers compensation payments to victims that will not have to be repaid and more than $8.3 million in future expenses.
The payout was the largest settlement of a construction accident case in United States history.
DiGirolamo explained the floors collapsed because “the floors were not connected to the walls with the required reinforcing steel. Without the necessary reinforcing steel in place, the floors literally slid down the walls once the shoring and supports under the floor were removed”
After the settlement was announced Maggiano stated, “It is important to all the men and their families that the settlement forces the construction industry and the State Legislature to implement changes on work sites to ensure that such a tragedy does not ever happen again.” The injured men wanted to ensure that their union brothers and sisters did not have to face the same dangers that resulted in the collapse and caused their permanent disabilities.
Although the settlement was a substantial achievement, Maggiano & DiGirolamo stated that no amount of compensation could bring back the loved ones who did not return from work that day or heal the permanently disabled men that will live with the haunting memories of the October 30, 2003 garage construction collapse.