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Court Rules FDOT Need Not Disclose Documents Related To FIU Collapse

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The Miami Herald initiated a lawsuit against the Florida Department of Transportation asking for documents including the minutes of meetings, emails, and other information relevant to the shocking tragedy that took the lives of six Floridians. Reports say that this information is directly related to the bridge’s construction. The Florida Department of Transportation, however, has denied the Herald access to these records. The Herald, in turn, has initiated a lawsuit to force disclosure. Now, the Feds may intervene.

The Duran family, who is represented by Alan Goldfarb, has added the Department of Transportation to the list of defendants that are at least in part responsible for the FIU bridge collapse. Allegations that the companies used unsafe construction methods to “rapidly design” the bridge have been at the crux of these lawsuits. Since the Florida Department of Transportation authorized these companies to use this kind of construction technique, lawyers for the plaintiffs feel that they bear some of the blame for its collapse.

The Feds Step In

Since the Florida Department of Transportation has been listed as a named defendant, it isn’t surprising that they would not want information regarding their communications on the lawsuit released to the press. On the other hand, the Herald has a vested interest in reporting the facts of the case and feels as though these communications should be public record and disseminated accordingly.

On June 15th, U.S. Attorney Christopher P. Canova sent notice the judge presiding over the suit authorizing him to protect the interests of the state in this lawsuit. His involvement adds an air of uncertainty over the proceedings. Since the Herald is compelling the disclosure of documents that are subject to an ongoing investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the U.S. attorneys are interested in relating how dissemination of these documents may impact their efforts.

The U.S. has asked the court to defer its rulings until a determination can be made. This is a step back from the formal command the NTSB sent the Florida DoT stating that the FDoT was prohibited from disseminating any information concerning the investigation without NTSB approval.

Court Rules in Favor of Florida Department of Transportation

When the Herald asked for documents regarding the FIU bridge collapse, the FDoT disclosed all documents leading up to the collapse but none after. The Herald tried to compel disclosure of those documents. As of yet, those documents have not been released.

These documents can shed some light on the FDoT’s role in the collapse. Since the collapse, reports that an engineer advised the FDoT of cracks in the bridge before the collapse have weighed heavily on their own culpability. The same engineer said that the cracks didn’t pose an imminent threat, but it could be argued that the FDoT should have investigated the matter anyway.

Contact Personal Injury Attorney Alan Goldfarb Today

The team at Alan Goldfarb, P.A. in Miami is representing the interests of those injured and killed by the FIU bridge collapse. He and his team can also help you with your own injuries. Give us a call at (305) 371-3111 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Resources:

miami.cbslocal.com/2018/04/02/lawsuit-fiu-bridge-collapse-survivor/

floridapolitics.com/archives/266761-feds-weigh-entering-lawsuit

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