City Files Suit Against 1031 Canal Owners Over Hard Rock Collapse

Crane Demolition
Two large cranes from the Hard Rock Hotel construction collapse are seen in this aerial photo from Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS — Mayor LaToya Cantrell today announced that the City of New Orleans “has filed suit against the parties responsible for the fatal collapse of the Hard Rock project, which killed three of our residents in October of last year,” according to a press release. The suit, which names the building owners and their partners and contractors, seeks damages on behalf of the city “as we continue to experience significant harm as a result of this disaster.”

Cantrell said that 1031 Canal developer Mohan Kailas, his partners and their contractors bear the moral and legal obligation to accept responsibility for this horrific tragedy, and the suit seeks to hold them accountable.

“As you heard me say to the entire city last week, we will continue to hold the building’s ownership accountable and stand with our families to seek justice,” she said. “This lawsuit is a step toward doing just that. Our city was harmed. Our people were killed. No amount of delay or denial or excuses can change that fact — and we will not allow those responsible to evade responsibility for the damages they have caused.”

“While the City would have preferred to not engage in litigation, we have done so only because the property owners have failed to right the wrongs they have caused,” said City Attorney Sunni LeBeouf.

Cantrell said the city’s priority for the last 10 months has been to prevent further injury at the disaster site. Now that the remains of Quinnyon Wimberly and Jose Ponce Arreola – two workers who were killed in the partial collapsed and whose remains were trapped on the site until this month – have been returned to their families, the city is turning its attention to recovery of the losses it sustained as a result of the collapse. Cantrell said the Hard Rock collapse not only damaged city property, including streets and infrastructure, but it required the city to divert and expend tremendous public resources for work necessary to respond to the collapse and its consequences — at a cost of at least $12.3 million to taxpayers.

Further, the collapse caused the near-total shutdown of one of the city’s economic corridors, including the closure of the Saenger Theatre and other neighboring businesses for months. Business closures continue in some instances.

To read the lawsuit in its entirety click here. 

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