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Could There Be Criminal Charges In Hard Rock Hotel Collapse?

Posted on Dec 10, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Local Issues

In the wake of the Hard Rock Hotel collapse, civil negligence lawsuits have been filed against the builders and designers. These lawsuits will attempt to show that they did not do their jobs properly, and should be held fiscally responsible for the collapse. If negligence can be proven, the involved parties would be responsible for compensation to those workers, bystanders, and their families who were injured or affected by the collapse. Lawsuits have also been filed by businesses in the vicinity that were impacted or forced to shut down following the collapse. In addition to civil suits, there has been speculation about whether criminal charges could be filed as well. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the NOPD have each opened their own investigations. Whether criminal charges will issued is dependent on the degree of negligence that is eventually determined from these investigations.

Criminal Negligence In Construction Law

Construction Law requires that all construction projects adhere to safety and building regulations. The law states that business owners must provide a safe working environment for their employees. When the Hard Rock Hotel on Canal Street partially collapsed on October 12, 2019, three people were killed and 30 were injured. Investigations are currently underway to determine the cause of the collapse. The civil lawsuits that have been filed claim that shoddy workmanship and materials were knowingly used in construction of the building. If it can be shown that the designers and builders knowingly cut corners or used inferior materials, then they may be at fault for negligence. The lead contractors on the project were Citadel Builders. Though their website promotes multiple safety awards and a clean OSHA rating, the firm now finds itself as one of the defendants in multiple lawsuits. Fault has yet to be determined. However, since people died in the accident, if negligence is found to have occurred, Citadel and other defendants could be looking at not only civil lawsuits, but negligent homicide charges as well.

The City of New Orleans Indicates a Potential Criminal Investigation

Fox 8 reports that NOPD and the city granted access of various records and evidence to OSHA for the agency’s investigation. When the news station requested access to these records as well, the city’s attorney denied the request, claiming that “they relate to pending or reasonably anticipated criminal litigation.” In other words, if there is not already a criminal investigation underway, there is certainly the potential of one. The ramifications of the Hard Rock hotel will continue to be felt throughout New Orleans for the foreseeable future. Parts of S. Rampart remain closed at the time of writing. Multiple investigations and lawsuits are ongoing. Bloom Legal extends its thoughts, prayers, and condolences to all those people and their families who have been affected by this event.

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