Friday, August 3, 2007

After collapse, millions in legal claims likely

The Star Tribune: By Chris Serres and Matt McKinney,
The state's liability is limited by law to $1 million, regardless of how many people were injured.

A larger payout would be possible if the state DOT had an insurance policy, but it doesn't, according to Robert McFarlin, an assistant to the commissioner of the Department of Transportation.

None of the people involved in the bridge's construction or design could be sued successfully, said attorney Robert King, of the Lommen Abdo law firm in Minneapolis. State law generally places a six-year statute of limitations on a lawsuit against contractors, he added. 'You have to figure out what the triggering event was,' said Mark Kulda, spokesman for the Insurance Federation of Minnesota. 'If this was a faulty design or a faulty construction technique, then many of the claims are probably time barred.'

Given those limitations, attorneys likely will focus on the private entities involved in the bridge's maintenance, particularly if state and federal investigators find that private firms bear any of the blame for the collapse.

Didn't take long to start in on the legal issues presented by a major disaster. It rarely does.
Do these comments suggest that the law is too generous in awarding damages, as some would have it?

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