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Washington Court Affirms $150M Jury Verdict For Seattle Crane Collapse Victims

Earlier this month, the State of Washington Court of Appeals affirmed a $150 million jury verdict against subcontractors involved in the disassembly of a tower crane that collapsed in 2019. The collapse, which was caught on video, killed four people and injured five. The Washington court’s recent opinion is notable for its detailed explanation of what allegedly went wrong. Here is what the court had to say:

The general contractor for a building construction project, GLY Construction (GLY), leased a tower crane from Morrow Equipment (Morrow), and Seaburg Construction supplied an operator for it. When construction neared completion, GLY hired Northwest Tower Crane (NWTC) to disassemble the tower crane. NWTC hired Omega to use its mobile crane to lower pieces of the tower crane to the ground as NWTC’s ironworkers disassembled it.

Disassembly of the tower crane began on Saturday, April 27, 2019. That morning, GLY, Morrow, NWTC, and Omega held a safety meeting. The parties discussed who was in charge of the disassembly, the weather conditions, and the mobile crane’s “load charts,” which specified its wind limits. The weather that morning was “good,” but the most recent forecast described the weather as “breezy” with northwest winds of 15 to 25 m.p.h. expected. As initially configured, the mobile crane would have to stop work if the winds exceeded 11 m.p.h.


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