Crane collapse civil trial begins - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Crane collapse civil trial begins

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NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

Two families came to civil court in lower Manhattan looking, they say, for justice. Six years ago, a 240-foot crane collapsed on E. 91st St., killing the crane operator Don Leo, 30, who was about to get married, and Ramadan Kurtaj, 27, a Croatian who survived the Balkan war and supported his entire family.

In a criminal trial two years ago, a judge ruled crane owner James Lomma was not negligent when his 24-year-old crane collapsed.

But in opening statements, the lawyer for Leo's family told a jury Lomma caused the deaths of the two men because to save money he authorized a poor repair of a critical part of the crane.

Legal experts note this is a civil court, and in civil trials only a preponderance of evidence is needed to find against a defendant. In a criminal trial, you need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt to find a defendant guilty. That legal difference plus having a trial by jury are good signs to Leo's brother, who is also a lawyer.

The civil lawsuit is seeking an undetermined amount of money from NY Crane, James Lomma, Brady Marine Repair, Sorbara Construction, Dematteis Construction, Mattone Construction, and Howard Shapiro Engineers.

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