Baltimore Mayor Announces Legal Action After Bridge Collapse

Chase Smith
By Chase Smith
April 15, 2024US News
Baltimore Mayor Announces Legal Action After Bridge Collapse
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott speaks at a news conference on the collapsed Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore on March 27, 2024. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The City of Baltimore is seeking to hold accountable those responsible for the massive shipping vessel Dali striking the Francis Scott Key Bridge, leading to its collapse into the Patapsco River.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced on April 15 that the city is now “taking legal steps to proactively and aggressively address the catastrophic impact the Key Bridge collapse has had on the City of Baltimore” and its residents, families of victims, business owners, longshoremen, and other Port of Baltimore workers.

The city noted in a press release the tragic deaths of the workers who were on the bridge when it collapsed as well as a “significant economic hardship” to businesses and employees who rely on the port for revenue and wages.

“This unthinkable tragedy has taken Marylanders from their loved ones, and risked the livelihoods of thousands of Baltimoreans who rely on the Port of Baltimore,” Mr. Scott said. “We are continuing to do everything in our power to support everyone impacted here and will continue to recognize the human impact this event has had. Part of that work needs to be seeking recourse from those who may potentially be responsible, and with the ship’s owner filing a petition to limit its liability mere days after the incident, we need to act equally as quickly to protect the City’s interests.”

The announcement by the city comes the same day as the FBI confirmed to The Epoch Times that its agents were on the ship investigating the accident.

The Washington Post reported the agency’s presence on the ship Monday was related to a criminal investigation into the incident and whether those responsible let the ship leave the port while knowing it had major mechanical or electrical issues.

Action Taken by City

The city has partnered with DiCello Levitt, a national law firm with offices in several major cities, and Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky, based in Philadelphia.

“It is time to hold the M/V Dali’s owner, charterer, manager/operator, manufacturer, and others accountable for the City’s substantial and ongoing economic losses arising from this tragedy, as well as for the unimaginable distress they have caused to the City’s residents, businesses, workers, and their families,” Baltimore City Solicitor Ebony M. Thompson said in the announcement.

Attorney Adam Levitt said in the release that the city will bring “significant economic and environmental loss claims” against those involved in the disaster, calling it one of the largest inner-city maritime disasters in U.S. history.

“We need to hold these entities accountable for the emotional toll and the substantial financial losses that the City of Baltimore and its residents are facing,” he added.

Mr. Scott also released an action plan outlining steps the city is taking to support “displaced workers and others affected” by the tragedy.

The mayor said steps were being taken in partnership with federal, state, and local partners to bring support for impacted port workers, including providing resources for both businesses and workers.

“We have worked consistently since day one to offer every resource at our disposal to support both the families who lost loved ones in this unthinkable tragedy, and to the families who rely on the port to support themselves and their loved ones,” he said. “The action plan we’re releasing today is about compiling the ongoing work, expanding the areas within the City of Baltimore’s purview, and making it as accessible as possible for impacted residents.”

The action plan includes support for residents affected by the port closure, such as utility bills and more than $500,000 in rental assistance.

Additionally, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced the “Maryland Tough Baltimore Strong Fund” which brings together philanthropic, business, and community leaders to support those affected by the incident.

Other Action

While the FBI is now conducting an investigation into the incident, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) also has an open investigation into the incident.

NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy said at a recent Senate hearing that the agency had interviewed key personnel from the Dali, including pilots and the second officer, who was the man on watch at the time of the crash.

She said investigators brought in Hyundai, the manufacturer of equipment in the engine room, to help determine the cause of the electrical issues by downloading data from the electrical power system and looking at the circuit breakers.

“A voyage data recorder provides very basic information, not like a flight data recorder, so there isn’t enough information on that to understand,” she said. “It’s really [looking at] what was going on in the engine room, [because] it’s really a snapshot of the major systems on a vessel. So that information in the engine room will help us tremendously.”

The preliminary report of the incident is expected the first week of May, she added.

From The Epoch Times

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