First Lawsuit Filed for Victim of Miami Dade College Garage Collapse

Jose Calderon's family sued Ajax Building Corp. and some contractors for "gross negligence"

The first lawsuit on behalf of a victim of the Miami Dade College garage collapse was filed on Friday.

The family of Jose Calderon, a welder killed in the collapse, sued Ajax Building Corp. and some subcontractors, alleging "gross negligence.”

The lawsuit maintains that the Oct. 10 collapse on the college’s west campus in Doral was most likely caused by an incident two days before, when a crane accidentally struck the building. The job was shut down for a day to make sure it was safe, and the collapse happened when the work resumed.

Attorney Stuart Grossman read a statement from the Calderon family.

"We're devastated over the loss of the leader of our family, he was a wonderful husband and father, and he will be missed for all time,” he said.

Ajax Building Corp. President Bill Byrne declined to comment on the lawsuit.

"Our focus and concern is still on the families of those who died or were injured in this tragic accident. At the same time we are actively cooperating with local, state, and federal authorities in the investigation,” Byrne said in a written statement. “It would be inappropriate for us to comment on legal matters, however our thoughts and prayers are with all the affected families."

Four people were killed in the collapse, with the last body removed from the site on Thursday. Robert Budhoo’s body was taken out of the rubble, an attorney for his family said.

Andy Yaffa, another lawyer who represents the Calderons, said that after the crane hit the building, inadequate inspection was done before work was allowed to continue.

"To allow anyone to be able to walk into this building without insuring that it's certified and safe, you are putting lives at risk, it is reckless, it's beyond negligence,” he said.

The disaster was “totally preventable” and never should have occurred, Yaffa said.

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