Updated 03/30/2009 08:17 PM
Families Of Crane Collapse Victims File $100 Mil. Lawsuit
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Family members of the two men killed in last year's Upper East Side crane collapse filed two $100 million wrongful death lawsuits Monday, the maximum in punitive damages allowed by law.
Ramadan Kurtaj and Donald Leo were killed last May when a crane collapsed at 91st Street and First Avenue.
Their families announced a suit against 31 different entities, including the city of New York, the Department of Buildings and the company that owned the crane.
The suit claims a six-month long investigation found the crane company, New York Crane and Equipment Corporation, had an "utter disregard for human life."
"New York Crane got estimates from companies within the country, the United States, saying it would cost about $120,000 to repair this crack," said Susan Karten, lawyer for the Kurtaj family. "They ignored those estimates, collected the insurance claim money, and then sent the crane to China, the parts to China, to be repaired."
Lawyers obtained copies of several e-mails from that Chinese company, RTR Bearing, which suggest it did not want to do the work.
In a e-mail provided to the victims' lawyers, RTR Bearing said, "Honest[ly] speaking, we don't have confidence on this welding."
NY1 has reached out to New York Crane and the city for comment but has not heard back.