Four men who were injured when the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati collapsed Jan. 27 have filed a lawsuit against the general contractor, Messer Construction, and its sub-contractors.
James Lancaster, Damon Robinson, Micah Morthland and Mark Hedges claim they were injured in the incident and have not been compensated adequately. They have hired Eric Deters as their attorney and held a press conference on Monday to release the details of the lawsuit.
"I had concrete over the top of my head and I reached to try to pull it off but I couldn't get it off," says Robinson. "I can just remember seeing my men on the ground moaning and yelling. The four men say they were seriously injured on that cold day in late January. Robinson says his arm was seriously injured.
"I have a broken pelvis and I have some metal screws and a plate in me, inside me and some bulging discs in my back," says Hedges who claims that the incident has ruined his life. "We just moved into a house and everything was looking good for us." He also says he's lost the home where he lived. "I couldn't pay the rent so I lost that house," he said.
Robinson understands saying, "I stay in one room and I just bought a heater for the room because it's getting cold this winter. I've been staying in one room in that house on an air mattress."
Their attorney says part of the problem is that the project was rushed, sacrificing safety. "They're (Messer Construction) the ones that ordered this pour, according to my clients. They said 'make this pour'," said Eric Deters. "And, by the way, these time limitations has affected this project. They have been pushed, pushed, pushed to meet these deadlines. The general public might be a little worried about that building down there." The casino is not being sued.
OSHA said the cause of the collapse was an "inadequate number of bolts, welds, or other equivalent support" at connection points in the steel. The weight of the concrete pour on top of the metal decking which was supported by the beams was too much for the connections to hold, creating an "overload condition." Six different companies were cited by OSHA for the incident.
According to the lawsuit, Lancaster broke two vertebrae in the lumbar portion of his spine. Hedges broke his pelvis, punctured a lung and suffered a bulging disk. Morthland suffered from herniated discs, chest contusions, groin strain and a bruised hip. Robinson suffered contusions to his left wrist and shoulder, an open fracture to his left elbow, a fractured rib, fractured vertebrae, a neck sprain and lacerations and puncture wounds. All four men fell about 25 feet when the floor collapsed.