Balcony Collapse Litigation

Balcony and deck collapses are all too common – especially in the Bay Area.  Collapses occur through structural defects as well as through lax and deferred maintenance.  An example is the tragic balcony collapse that occurred at 12:41 a.m. on June 16, 2015 in Berkeley (Bay Area of California), which as of 9:00 a.m. had claimed six lives with many more victims in the hospital with major and life threatening injuries.  Most of the victims of this tragedy were Irish students spending their summer on work visas.  

Among the balcony collapse cases that Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy has handled are the following:

    • Malhotra et al. v. Randall Nathan et al., Case No. 976685, San Francisco Superior Court, September 24, 1998:  Frank Pitre and Niall P. McCarthy of CPM represented Plaintiffs Shalini Malhotra, Daniel Slane, Karin Lewis and ten other individuals in connection with a fourth floor balcony collapse case that occurred at 2003 Franklin Street in San Francisco due to construction defects.  One person died and another suffered severe brain injury in the collapse.  The victims were at a party in the San Francisco building when their third-story balcony collapsed.  The jury awarded $12,389,050 to the victims of the fall against the property manager and landlord who negligently maintained the residential deck that collapsed.  As part of the verdict the landlord was required to live in his own badly maintained building.  The $12 million dollar verdict brought attention to the high rate of balcony collapses in the Bay Area.

    • Birusingh v. Tom, Case No. Case No. CGC 95 968644, San Francisco Superior Court: Mr. McCarthy and Mr. Pitre of CPM represented the victims of a four story balcony collapse that occurred at 610 Lake Street in the Richmond District neighborhood of San Francisco.  An out of court settlement was reached.  The collapse was the result of dry rot.  As alleged in the pleadings, tenants Kamla, Kamini and Karen Birusingh claimed that previous tenants had alerted owner and defendant Faye Tom to the fact that tiny fragments of the balcony were falling off, and that Tom had failed to correct the problem leading to the collapse.

    • Taggart v. PML Management Corporation and Peninsula Landing Homeowners Association, Case No. CIV 450406, San Mateo Superior Court: Mr. McCarthy represented Dan Taggart, a local man who worked at Draegers.  In the early evening of May 12, 2004, Mr. Taggart arrived home from work and as he walked up the staircase to his condominium the stairs gave way.  He fell six feet and struck the landing between the two tier staircase and landed on his feet.  He suffered a compression fracture of his spine as a result of the fall.  After a four day trial the jury awarded significant damages and found the defendants 100% at fault.

    • Ayala v. Kang et al. Case No. 405384, San Mateo Superior County: Mr. McCarthy represented the guardian ad litem for a 2-year old Hispanic boy who was injured in a balcony collapse in East Palo Alto at apartments located at 2000 Cooley Ave.  As alleged, the boy fell 12 feet head first onto a concrete parking surface because the second-floor balcony had no railings.  The case was resolved on a highly successful basis for significant damages.

    • CPM also represented a pregnant woman who suffered severe injuries in Orange County when a balcony collapsed.  CPM reached a highly successful result.

Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP specializes in representing victims in cases such as these described above.  Leading up the practice is partner Niall Padraic McCarthy.  Mr. McCarthy has repeatedly been selected as one of the top plaintiff attorneys in California and the United States by multiple publications, including the Daily Journal and the National Law Journal. In every year since 2004 he has been selected as a Northern California "Super Lawyer" by San Francisco Magazine.  McCarthy has been named a Top 100 attorney by the Daily Journal and Super Lawyers Magazine. He has the highest possible rating, AV, from Martindale-Hubbell (a leading ranking system for attorneys in the United States).  In 2013, McCarthy was awarded the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the San Mateo County Trial Lawyers Association.  He has also been elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA).  Mr. McCarthy was named to the 2014 Irish Legal 100 as published by Irish Voice Magazine. 

For further information about CPM’s balcony and deck injury practice, please contact Niall McCarthyFrank PitreAnne Marie Murphy or Darren Kelley at (650) 697-6000.