Miami-Dade County

Newest lawsuit filed in FIU bridge collapse aftermath by family of youngest victim

Alexa Duran, 18, was the youngest victim of the Florida International University bridge collapse. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday.
Alexa Duran, 18, was the youngest victim of the Florida International University bridge collapse. Her family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Friday.

Another lawsuit was filed Friday in the aftermath of the Florida International University bridge collapse earlier this month — the fifth so far.

The family of Alexa Duran — at 18 the youngest victim of the collapse — filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the construction firm, Munilla Construction Management, Figg Bridge Engineers and other subcontractors on the project.

The family is represented by Alan Goldfarb, who is also representing the family of the FIU student killed in August crossing the street that the bridge was designed to span.

“We were hoping to get it filed by 1:47 p.m. as a symbolic gesture, but we missed our mark by a few minutes,” said Goldfarb, who is based in Miami.

Read More: Two weeks ago, FIU’s bridge abruptly collapsed. Here’s what we know so far

Goldfarb said companies involved were reckless in trying to hurry along a delayed project and squeeze more work into the spring break window when fewer students were around. The decision to perform tests on the bridge while the road was open to traffic also featured heavily in the Duran family suit.

“They didn’t thoroughly think it through,” he said.

The Duran family’s suit is the fifth filed since the tragedy, and the second on behalf of a victim of the collapse.

The passenger in Duran’s car, 19-year-old Richard Humble, who escaped when a slab of concrete fell on Duran’s SUV and killed her, filed a lawsuit Thursday against many of the same companies.

Read More: These are the victims of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapse

Other lawsuits have been filed by the family of Rolando Fraga, 60, a software engineer killed in the collapse; Emily Joy Panagos, 22, an FIU student who escaped after her car was partially crushed; and Marquise Hepburn, 24, who was hurt while riding his bicycle near the bridge.

None of the suits names FIU or the Florida Department of Transportation because of a law giving them “sovereign immunity,” which means lawyers must give the entities 180 days notice before filing a suit.

“Six months and a day later, we sue them,” Goldfarb said. His office plans to send its letter to FIU on Monday.

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