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Six companies, including one that designed doomed FIU bridge, will settle victims’ suits

Victims of the FIU bridge collapse

These are the victims of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse.
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These are the victims of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse.

Tallahassee-based FIGG Bridge Group, which designed the doomed Florida International University pedestrian bridge, was one of six companies that have agreed to settle lawsuits brought by the victims and their families, an attorney for the plaintiffs announced in Miami-Dade Circuit Court Wednesday.

While the amount is not yet known, the agreement means more money will be added to the $42 million in a pool set aside by the bankrupt construction company that built the bridge, Magnum Construction Management, formerly known as Munilla Construction Management.

Families of the six people who died on March 15, 2018, and the eight injured survivors sued more than 20 defendants for their role in the collapsed bridge over Southwest Eighth Street, across from FIU’s main campus in southwest Miami-Dade. The people who died were crushed to death by the collapse of the 950-ton bridge.

Florida International University recorded a time lapse from three different angles of the doomed pedestrian bridge being raised over Southwest Eighth Street and then collapsing, killing six people. The time-lapse video spans from March 1 to March 19.

“It’s a positive step toward bringing an ultimate resolution for all of the victims that have suffered losses,” said attorney Alan Goldfarb, who represents the family of Alexa Duran, the 18-year-old FIU student who was killed when the bridge debris crushed her car as she waited at a red light. “It may lead to other defendants following a similar course and entering into settlements with all the plaintiffs.”

The other five companies — all of which handled different aspects of the bridge development and installation — that have agreed to settle are: Bolton Perez & Associates; Corradino Group; A&P Consulting Transportation Engineers Corp.; RLT Engineering Services LLC; and Gerdau Ameristeel US Inc.

Christos Lagos, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told a judge he is hopeful that other companies involved will soon settle.

“There are several other defendants that we have a lot of momentum and we very close to resolving, as well, to put them into this bankruptcy process,” he said.

But even with a settlement, the bridge disaster is not something anyone will soon forget, said attorney Stuart Grossman, who represents Richie Humble, who was riding with Duran in the car — and survived.

“The plaintiffs continue to press on for a fair and complete settlement, but this event has scarred the community and will never be forgotten,” he said.

Miami Herald staff writer Nicholas Nehamas contributed to this report.
Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.
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