Family of man killed in collapse sues for wrongful death

Published: Jun. 22, 2023 at 2:47 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - A lawsuit filed Tuesday, June 21, by the family of a man killed in an apartment collapse claims he was alive for possibly days.

Lawyers for the estate of Branden Colvin are suing owner Andrew Wold, Davenport Hotel LLC, Andrew Wold Investments LLC, Select Structural Engineering, Bi-State Masonry and the City of Davenport -- accusing them of not preventing the tragedy despite information they had of the dangers.

Colvin was in his fifth floor apartment of The Davenport at 324 Main St. when the building collapsed, leaving him buried in rubble, according to the suit.

His body was recovered June 3.

The lawsuit outlines events leading up to the collapse that should have been addressed including a masonry company that refused to lower the price of their bid because “somebody is going to die,” a tenant that was moved to another building because she “didn’t want to fall out,” and a 911 caller who said the building was “bulging out.”

Colvin was the father of five children ages 9 to 21.

The 16-page lawsuit said the plaintiffs should be “fully and fairly compensated” in an unspecified amount, and the cost should punish and deter negligence.

Rick Keys of Keys Law Offices in Rock Island, and Brian Galligan and Amber Haberl of Galligan Law in Des Moines are representing the plaintiffs.

Allegations against Andrew Wold and his companies Davenport Hotel and Andrew Wold Investments include that significant risk to the tenants was posed by ignoring and disregarding warnings and notifications.

Select Structural Engineering is accused of negligence for failing to notify tenants and the city about how dangerous the conditions were. The lawsuit says the company didn’t meet industry standard to properly conduct inspections and appreciate the risks.

The lawsuit accuses the city of failing to warn tenants and to evacuate the building.

The narrative of incidents include:

  • On Feb. 2, Select Structural Engineering reported a section of cracked brick needed to be shored before repairs could begin.
  • On Feb. 3, the city declared the building a public hazard, but tenants could stay if shoring was put up.
  • On Feb. 3., MidAmerican Energy told Davenport that conditions at 324 Main St. were unsafe.
  • After these reports, The Davenport’s management hired Bi-State Masonry to repair the wall.
  • Select Structural reported on Feb. 28 that repairs were made, and a void left would create safety problem.
  • During a visit on March 1, the city learned Bi-State was fired after disagreements about payment to have “repairs completed properly.”
  • Also on March 1, R.A. Masonry was asked to submit a qoute for repair costs. The masonry business’ $50,000 quote was rejected, and building management requested a revised and cheaper bid. R.A. Masonry refused, saying “somebody is going to die.”
  • R.A. Masonry visited the site on May 26 and May 28 and warned workers to “Get away. You’re going to die.”
  • A 911 call May 27 reported that the building was “bulging out.”
  • A 911 call May 28 said “one of my guys” was cleaning the parking lot and was told by a person to get away because “it’s not looking good.”
  • The building collapsed at about 5 p.m. May 28.