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7th Death Blamed On 2013 Philadelphia Building Collapse

By Cherri Gregg


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The family of a 59-year-old man who was trapped during the building collapse at 22nd and Market Streets and died three weeks later filed a lawsuit in state court today, claiming wrongful death in connection with that tragedy (see previous story).

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the widow of Danny Johnson, a truck driver who was shopping at the Salvation Army Thrift Store when the building collapsed, trapping him for more than an hour.  He was later rescued and taken to the hospital.

"Mr. Johnson had severe crush and traumatic injuries to his arms and legs," said attorney Jeffrey Goodman of the law firm Saltz Mongeluzzi.  "He also had a minor heart attack and had pulmonary trouble while under the debris."

Goodman says Johnson's pre-existing asthma and heart issues were worsened by injuries suffered during the collapse, causing him to suffer trauma and pain.

"He suffered not only during the hour that he was trapped in the rubble, but for the next three weeks until he ultimately died," Goodman says.

Johnson died June 28, 2013, and is survived by his wife and five children.

The 129-page complaint names 19 defendants, including the Salvation Army, and includes photos and e-mails outlining claims for damages based on fraud, negligence, and other claims.

As with the previous lawsuit covering six other victims, today's complaint alleges that STB Investment Corp. and Richard Basciano, the owner-operator of the Market Street building, repeatedly pressured the Salvation Army to sell.  According to the complaint, STB and Baciano were more interested in profit than in demolishing the building safely.

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