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Lawsuits Settled In Deadly College Garage Collapse

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(Source: Robert Hernandez-Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)

(Source: Robert Hernandez-Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)

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DORAL (CBSMiami/AP) – The general contractor and several subcontractors of a Miami Dade College garage which collapsed last year in Doral have settled lawsuits with the families of the men who were killed or injured.

The wrongful death and injury lawsuits were brought by relatives of the four workers who died; Jose Calderon, Robert Budhoo, Samuel Perez and Carlos Mendoza and by the families of five men who were severely injured; Christian Ramirez, Francisco Castaneda, Frank Stankus, Anslim Antoine and Mark DiBacco.

“All parties look forward to better days,” attorneys Stuart Z. Grossman, Ervin Gonzalez and Alan Goldfarb said in a joint statement.

The defendants were general contractor Ajax Building Corp. and several subcontractors.

Ajax released a statement saying they were thankful workers and families could reach an amicable resolution.

“From the start, our primary concern has been the future of the injured workers and those who lost loved ones in this tragic mishap,” the statement said. “As we move forward, Ajax remains committed to determining the specific cause of the accident so steps can be taken to ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.”

Terms of the settlements were not released.

The five-story, $20 million concrete garage at Miami Dade College’s west campus collapsed October 10th.

The body of one worker was not recovered for more than a week because the accident site was so unstable. No students were injured in the collapse.

Last month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration penalized Ajax and four other companies more than $38,000 combined for the collapse. OSHA found evidence of missing welds and grout in some support columns, failure to properly brace columns and failure to inspect 18 columns as required. OSHA also said contractors didn’t follow project drawings and instructions.

The result, according to the citations, was a failure to provide a workplace “free from recognized hazards that were causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.”

The 1,855-space garage project involved use of pre-cast concrete construction, a common method in which massive concrete pieces are created off-site and slotted into place by workers often using large cranes. The first floor was to have office and classroom space.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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