PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – A woman who was critically injured when a Philadelphia building undergoing demolition collapsed on top of the Salvation Army thrift store where she was shopping may proceed with her lawsuit even while 11 others have been stayed, a Pennsylvania judge has decided.
Plaintiff Mariya Plekan was pinned under debris for 13 hours when a four-story apartment complex being dismantled collapsed onto the adjacent one-story thrift store, killing six people and injuring 12 others besides Ms. Plekan, who lost both of her legs as a result of the cave-in.
She is suing the owner of the building that toppled, the general contractor and architect supervising the demolition, the operator of an aerial lift, and the Salvation Army. When filing her suit, Ms. Plekan’s lawyers asked Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Mark Bernstein to partially lift an anticipated stay on her personal-injury lawsuit, claiming that she needed to proceed with a videotaped deposition because she is close to death.
Judge Bernstein had stayed 11 other civil suits stemming from the building collapse after the general contractor said he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in the litigation due to the potential criminal charges hovering over him in the case.
Ms. Plekan developed sepsis and renal failure as a result of her injuries. Her lawyer told Law 360 that she was just taken off of a ventilator and may have a tracheotomy hole capped so that she can talk.
“The bottom line is that we hope to hold the deposition sometime this month,” her attorney told Law 360. “We’re thrilled about that because of the precarious position that she is in,” he added.