Two people who have filed a lawsuit in Scott County Court demand a jury trial, alleging the owner of a partially collapsed Davenport apartment building “directly and proximately caused the collapse.”
Mildred Harrington and Rijeh Garnett, through their attorneys Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese P.C., Des Moines; and Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC, of Chicago, say the collapse of the six-story apartment building in Davenport on May 28 was because of “egregious negligence” and ask for damages after “the untold suffering and damage it has caused.”
Named as the defendant in the class-action lawsuit is Davenport Hotel LLC, owned and operated by Andrew Wold.
This is a class-action lawsuit, which means it allows one or more people to file a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group, or “class.”
At the time of the collapse, the suit says, Harrington lived in an apartment in The Davenport. Garnett lived in another apartment building on the same block, the suit says.
“Defendant purchased the Building in 2021, and the negligent renovations leading up to the Collapse were unfortunately just one of many instances of Defendant’s negligence in caring for the property,” lawsuit document say.
The suit refers to numerous complaints about the state of the building and says one business owner leasing space on the first floor of the building “had been calling the city to complain about conditions in the Building since December when the bathroom in their retail space collapsed. “
Additionally, the suit mentions former resident Schlaan Murray (earlier, Murray spoke to Local 4 News and said “It was hell” living there.)
Mildred Harrington lived with her boyfriend, Phillip Brooks, and Phillip Brooks’ mother, Lisa Brooks, in an apartment in the building, according to documents.
“At the time of the Collapse, Mildred and Phillip were in the Building hallway and were unable to get to their apartment unit where Phillip’s mother Lisa was,” documents say. Lisa Brooks, 59, “was trapped in the family’s apartment unit until she was finally rescued the next day on May 29,” the suit says.
Lisa Brooks was admitted to a local hospital for dehydration because she was trapped in the building, according to the suit.
The suit says Harrington has had to miss work and “is worried that she may lose her employment as a result of the Collapse.”
The suit alleges that virtually all of Harrington’s belongings, her boyfriend’s belongings, and her boyfriend’s mother’s belongings, including clothing and identification, are in the collapsed building “and likely lost forever.” Additionally, the suit says Harrington and her family have “suffered emotionally” from the collapse and have lost their home.
Garnett lived in an apartment building on the same block as the building, and was out of town during the collapse, court documents say.
She returned to Davenport and “was told by a police officer that, due to the Collapse, she was not allowed to access her apartment building.” She kept two pet dogs in her apartments, and both were in the building at the time of the collapse.
“After being insistent and speaking with another police officer, Plaintiff was escorted to her apartment unit where she was able to retrieve her two dogs,” the suit says, saying she, too, experienced emotional distress the day of the Collapse and in recovering her pets.
Garnett has been homeless since the collapse, according to the suit, which alleges:
- Wold failed to maintain the building in a reasonably safe condition per Davenport Municipal Code.
- failed to remediate the improperly performed repair work that resulted in observed “falling bricks” and a weakening of the building’s structure.
- failed to hire competent contractors, inspectors, engineers, and appropriate entities to perform the required maintenance.
- failed to warn residents of structural concerns associated with the building.
- failed to warn residents of the dangers in the building of which (Wold) knew or should have known.
- failed to address warning and complaints from residents of structural concerns associated with the building, “Falsely representing to the residents of the Building that the Building was safe for residential and commercial tenants.”
The plaintiffs and class members were trapped in the building as it collapsed, suffered physical and mental injury, lost personal property, and/or were displaced from their residences because of the collapse, according to court documents.
The suit says plaintiffs and class members are “entitled to money damages for personal physical injury, mental pain and suffering, loss of earnings, loss of property, and all other damages to which they may be entitled under applicable law” and are also entitled to injunction relief because of the collapse.
Injunctive relief, or an injunction, can offer relief when monetary compensation does not suffice or is not appropriate.