Illegal method blamed for fatal collapse…

Plan not authorised but “performed surreptitiously, in disregard of city ordinances”.

The owner and contractors on a Miami Beach building that collapsed during demolition were accused in a worker’s wrongful death suit of using an illegal work method when the structure crashed in a plume of dust and debris.

The Marlborough House was being demolished in July last year to make way for a high-end development when the 13-story structure collapsed next to Collins Avenue.

Samuel Landis, who was working on the project, was struck by debris and died on 3 August from his injuries, the lawsuit claims.

Landis’ mother, Judith Landis, on Monday sued affiliates of the owner and developer as well as the contractors, alleging they were using an implosion method after the city denied an implosion permit and prohibits implosion demolitions altogether.

Two subcontractors started demolishing the building by pulling out first-floor support structures with chains and a front-end loader, essentially pulling “the legs out from underneath the building,” according to the Miami-Dade Circuit Court complaint.

“This intended plan was not authorised by the city but was illegally authorised and/or approved by all of the defendants, who collectively agreed that it was to be performed surreptitiously, in contumacious disregard of the city of Miami Beach ordinances,” attorney Steven Osber wrote in the complaint. This was done “because it was a ‘quicker and cheaper’ method of demolition.”

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