Judge’s Ruling Opens Skanska to a Thousand Lawsuits

A federal judge found Skanska negligent in damages from barges that crashed into the Pensacola Bay Bridge.

Source : Florida Department of Transportation

January 4, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

Back in September 2020, Hurricane Sally was expected to make landfall 200 miles from the Pensacola Bay Bridge. While Skanska has argued in court that the eastward shift of the storm took them by surprise and could not have been predicted, Senior United States District Judge Lacey Collier ruled to the contrary.

As we wrote last year, prior to Hurricane Sally, Skanska was contracted to the tune of $430 million to help with construction of a bridge parallel to the “Three Mile Bridge.” But during the storm, Skanska’s barges broke loose and rammed into the bridge.

Judge Collier wrote in her ruling that “Skanska’s Hurricane Plan directed that the barges be relocated to Butcherpen Cove in the very situation presented by Hurricane Sally.”

As Engineering News-Record notes, the ruling “clears the way” for some 1,000 lawsuits against Skanska to go forward in the courts.

Skanska’s 27 barges didn’t just impact the bridge, but also seawalls and beachfront properties.

The event also caused the closure of the Pensacola Bay Bridge for nine months, taking a major financial toll on local businesses.

The very same day that Skanska was ruled negligent, a class action lawsuit was filed in addition to the huge number of other suits filed by businesses and property owners. The class action suit seeks compensation for commuters who were affected by the bridge closure.

"This class action is really a way to make sure that people who were having to deal with this commute every single day — sometimes two or three hours, one direction going to and from work — that they're represented, that their interests are represented, and that hopefully, they will be able to be compensated for those losses," one of the lawyers with Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis and Overholtz law firm, which is behind the class action lawsuit, told Pensacola News Journal.

"Skanska remains adamant that it took all appropriate measures with the information available at the time to prepare for the storm,” the company has stated. "Immediately following the storm, Skanska put forth its full resources to address the damage as quickly and as safely as possible and reconnect the communities impacted."

Category : Bridges

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