No criminal charges in deadly Berkeley balcony collapse
- The Alameda County (CA) District Attorney’s Office announced it will not file criminal charges in association with a Berkeley apartment balcony collapse that killed six people and injured seven others last June, SF Bay reported.
- Investigations by both the district attorney’s office and the city of Berkeley determined that water intrusion was the culprit, compromising the integrity of wood support beams.
- Prosecutors said they have reviewed all evidence and have found no cause to bring criminal negligence charges based on shoddy construction or manslaughter charges related to poor maintenance.
Civil lawsuits — filed by the families of those killed — against building owner Blackrock, contractor Segue Construction and management company Greystar claim that the collapsed balcony displayed signs of weakness for years. However, prosecutors said that there were a variety of factors contributing to the collapse and that many people involved in the construction and maintenance of the building could be considered at fault, according to SF Bay.
"This is not a decision that I came to lightly," District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said in a statement. "It is the culmination of months of consultation with my team of attorneys. It follows extensive review of reports, both legal and factual, and numerous meetings with investigators and experts."
Prosecutors said that while all building materials used were in accordance with code, the accident was no doubt a factor in the Berkeley City Council’s decision to tighten up building regulations and inspect other area structures, which uncovered 402 in need of repair.
The contractor that built the apartment complex, Segue Construction, had previously paid $6.5 million to settle two other lawsuits involving balconies plagued with dry rot at different apartment buildings. The 12 civil lawsuits filed by the victims' families in the Berkeley collapse are still pending.
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