Wednesday, June 27, 2007
The Boston Globe has an article today suggesting that the eventual settlement in the Big Dig lawsuits could be "huge."
"Once that jury has spoken, each defendant found responsible will bear a 'scarlet letter' likely to mark them permanently for reckless and grossly negligent conduct," warned the Del Valle lawyers Jeffrey A. Denner, Mario Garcia, and Leo V. Boyle in urging the defendants to settle the case before it goes to a jury.
The article also contains some of the factual allegations on which the plaintiffs rely in predicting huge punitive damages. If proved, the predictions seem not unreasonable:
For instance, documents show that Big Dig managers at Bechtel/ Parsons Brinckerhoff and designers from Gannett Fleming cut by half the number of bolts they originally planned to use to hold up the ceiling, while significantly increasing the ceiling's weight by making it out of concrete. These moves made the ceiling cheaper, the lawyers said, but less safe.
When construction began in June 1999, workers for Modern Continental Construction Co. made numerous mistakes installing the ceiling bolts, secured to the tunnel roof by epoxy, that weakened their strength, the lawyers wrote. In addition, crews may have used the wrong epoxy, a fast-setting type that has 25 percent less strength than specified for the job.