May 5, 2023 — A jury in Dallas, Texas has ordered a major real estate developer to pay $860 million to the family of a woman who was crushed by a construction crane that toppled in a thunderstorm.
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the parents of Kiersten Smith, a 29-year-old woman who died in June 2019 when a crane fell onto her apartment complex in Old East Dallas during a severe storm with high winds.
Five other people in the complex were hospitalized due to injuries. At least 8 apartments were completely destroyed by the falling crane, which was being used to construct another apartment complex next door.
After a day of deliberation, the jury found Greystar Development and Construction LLC to be 100% liable for her death. Lawyers for the multi-billion dollar developer had argued that it was not responsible, but instead the crane and its operator, Bigge Crane and Rigging.
Lawyers for Bigge said they only rented the crane, and had a contract with Greystar that would have made the real estate company responsible for oversight and inspections.
The jury ultimately found Greystar was responsible for using a crane with rusty bolts, failing to adequately inspect the crane, installing a large sign on top in violation of safety standards, and violating protocols for severe weather.
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