$860M verdict in Dallas crane collapse

Greystar found liable for woman’s death during 2019 storm

Greystar's Bob Faith and Attorney Jason Itkin with Elan City Lights Apartment
Greystar's Bob Faith and Attorney Jason Itkin with Elan City Lights Apartment (Greystar, Arnold & Itkin, Google Maps, Getty)

A jury awarded $860 million to the family of a woman who was killed in her apartment when a construction crane collapsed during a severe storm in Dallas in June 2019.

The verdict against global real estate developer Greystar is $160 million more than the family requested, KDFW reported. Jason Itkin, an attorney for Arnold & Itkin law firm, represented the parents of Kiersten Smith, who was 29 when the crane crashed into her apartment and killed her. The accident injured several other people.

Greystar was deemed responsible for the crane that collapsed onto the former Elan City Lights Apartments near downtown. The jury had considered whether Greystar or the crane company, Bigge Crane and Rigging, should be more severely punished.

Itkin argued that Greystar was responsible for the operator, who had worked over 80 hours that week and failed to put the crane in weathervane mode despite a severe weather forecast. Taking that precaution could have allowed the crane to rotate naturally with the wind direction, removing pressure on the structure to prevent accidents. 

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The attorney for Bigge Crane and Rigging echoed Itkin’s argument, claiming the company was in a contract that made both the crane and crane operator the responsibility of Greystar, the outlet said. 

Bigge was fined $26,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the incident. Itkin also requested $12,006 from the company in punitive damages, serving as a remembrance for Smith, who’s apartment number was 12006.

—Quinn Donoghue

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