Civil Trial Underway Of 2013 Building Collapse
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Nearly a year after the convictions of the only two people facing criminal charges in connection with the deadly 2013 building collapse that crushed a Salvation Army Thrift Store in Center City, a civil trial is getting underway.
The civil trial consolidates about 20-lawsuits on behalf of the six killed and 13-injured. A jury will decide if any individuals or corporate entities are liable financially.
Only demolition contractor Griffin Campbell and his excavator, Sean Benshop faced criminal charges, and both men are now in prison. Last October, a jury convicted Campbell of multiple counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment. Benshop pleaded guilty to the same charges, before trial.
The wider net cast in this civil case includes building owner Richard Basciano, architect Plato Marinakos, Campbell, Benschop and the Salvation Army. Marinakos was the key prosecution witness who testified at the criminal trial under a grant of immunity from prosecution.
They are represented by several prominent defense attorneys, who are facing off against high profile plaintiff lawyers who specialize in complex liability cases, and their armies of support staff.
No one will hear anyone make comments outside the courtroom. Common Pleas Court Judge Teresa Sarmina has slapped a 'gag order' on participants. Among other cases, Judge Sarmina handled the 2012 Roman Catholic clergy sex abuse trial of Monsignor William Lynn.
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