Jury Finds All Defendants Liable in 2013 Center City Building Collapse

The Salvation Army, which lost its store and two employees in the incident, was found most liable for the harm caused to shoppers when a partially demolished building fell and killed seven.
The corner of 22nd and Market streets, June 5, 2013. | Photograph courtesy of Michael Bryant/Associated Press.

The corner of 22nd and Market streets, June 5, 2013. | Photograph courtesy of Michael Bryant/Associated Press.

After 15 weeks of testimony, a Philadelphia jury found all defendants liable in the 2013 Market Street building collapse that crushed a Salvation Army and killed seven people, the Inquirer reports. 

It took the jury less than a day to reach the verdict, which found the Salvation Army liable for the incident, as well as Richard Basciano, the owner of the collapsed building, and Plato A. Marinakos Jr., the demolition monitor. Least responsible, the jury found, were the two men who had already been criminally charged and convicted – demolition contractor Griffin Campbell, whom Marinakos had hired, and excavator operator Sean Benschop. Both are currently serving lengthy prison sentences.

The jury found that all of the defendants – with the exception of Campbell – exhibited negligent conduct throughout the days leading up to the tragedy, which injured 13 people in addition to the seven who were killed when an unsupported brick wall left over from the demolition of Basciano’s building fell and crushed the Salvation Army store. The incident made national headlines and ignited controversy surrounding construction surveillance in Philadelphia.

The Salvation Army, which lost two of its employees in the collapse, was responsible for 75 percent of the harm caused to shoppers in the incident, according to the jury, largely because lawyers claimed its officials were aware of the potential danger, according to the Inquirer. The jury found that, collectively, Basciano and his company bore 18 percent of the responsibility, Marinakos bore 5 percent and Campbell and Benschop bore 1 percent each.

The Salvation Army, Basciano and Marinakos all must pay damages. On Friday, the jury will begin to determine how much the defendants owe.

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