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Families of Key Bridge collapse victims to fight Dali owner's limited liability claim

Families of Key Bridge collapse victims call for thorough investigation
Families of Key Bridge collapse victims call for thorough investigation 03:22

BALTIMORE -- Attorneys for three of the victims in the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse spoke Monday afternoon, calling for a thorough investigation into the tragedy. 

Attorney Chris Stewart of Stewart Miller Simmons Trial Attorneys, along with Daniel Rose and Kevin Mahoney of Kreindler & Kreindler LLP are representing the families of Alejandro Fuentes, and José López, who died in the collapse. 

Out of the eight collapse victims, four bodies were recovered from the wreckage. Two others are missing and presumed dead. 

The attorneys are also representing Julio Cervantes Suarez, one of the two victims to survive the fall from the Key Bridge into the Patapsco River.

Earlier this month, the Singaporean company that owns the cargo ship that crashed into the Key Bridge made a move to limit its liability in the accident.

Under the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, Grace Ocean Private Limited and the manager of the ship, Synergy Marine Group, could limit the amount they have to pay for the accident to the value of the ship.  

But the victims attorney's say the act unfairly limits compensation for families affected by maritime disasters.

"Six days is all it took for Grace Ocean to go to federal court and file for protection," Attorney Chris Stewart said. "Grace Ocean is relying on a 173-year-old archaic law to shield them." 

Attorney Kevin Mahoney says filing for limited liability could deprive the injured parties of their right to trial by jury.

Ongoing Investigations

The victims attorneys say they intend to conduct their own investigation in order to file personal injury claims on behalf of the families. 

"In a normal personal injury claim, the injured party takes their time, investigates the claim, and brings the claim to a venue of their choice.  And what the Limitation Act does is flip that on its head."

The FBI, along with Baltimore City, are also conducting their own separate investigations to determine who's at fault in the accident. 

The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating separately and plans to release a preliminary report on the collapse by early May. 

The NTSB chair Jennifer Homdendy told congress last week that investigators were in touch with the ship's equipment manufacturer.  She said the board is looking at the Dali's electrical system.

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