A construction worker who watched two co-workers fall to their deaths at a hotel construction site in Florida last year is suing Marriott and its partner companies for failing to provide sufficient safeguards for workers.
News sources say the August 29 incident occurred during construction of a 16-story hotel. A scaffold collapsed under the weight of concrete being poured, sending Lorenzo Zavala and Jerry Bell plunging 80 feet to their deaths.
A lawsuit filed by Vernon Brown in Orange County Circuit Court claims that Marriott, DCS Investment Holdings, Bonnet Creek Venture, PCL Construction Services, Kimley-Horn & Associates, C&C Pumping Services, Cemex and Universal Engineering Sciences acted with “gross negligence” and “failed to take any and all necessary precautions in order to prevent a catastrophic failure and collapse” of the scaffold. It also alleges that defective concrete was used and that the building’s framework was not properly inspected prior to work on it.
The suit says that witnessing the incident caused Brown, who worked on the site for a contractor, to require medication for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The suit seeks in excess of $15,000.
In the wake of the incident, federal authorities fined PCL Construction Services $144,532 and Universal Engineering Sciences $13,260; the fines against Universal Engineering Sciences was subsequently dropped.