The families of the victims of a June balcony collapse in Berkeley, CA, have filed 12 lawsuits against multiple companies involved with the building, including its owner Blackrock, builder Segue Construction, and management company Greystar, according to The Guardian.
The lawsuits claim Segue Construction used cheaper wood when building the balcony on the apartment structure in 2005. The sub-par material was more vulnerable to water damage, and Segue allegedly took several months to waterproof the balcony after installing it, according to the families. They also said building owners and managers had ignored complaints from previous tenants about warning signs of water damage on the balcony.
The incident resulted in the deaths of six young adults, including five Irish exchange students, and the injury of seven others. The families are seeking an undisclosed amount in punitive damages through Alameda County Superior Court.
The balcony incident also resulted in a criminal investigation that is still underway. Investigators have said rotting joists were the culprit of the collapse.
Nearly a month after the incident, a local news station discovered that Segue Construction had previously been sued in 2010 by the owner of a San Jose apartment complex for failing to follow building codes for installing balconies, among other complaints. The company reportedly settled the case out of court. KTVU also reported that OSHA had cited Segue Construction for violations — including at least one considered "serious" — at least a dozen times over the past 10 years.
A Segue Spokesman said in July that the contractor is cooperating with the city’s investigation of the collapse.
In the months following the incident, the Berkeley City Council enacted an "emergency ordinance requiring regular inspections and stricter building regulations for outdoor balconies and patios," SFBay reported. State officials are also reportedly considering updating California building codes as a result.