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Baltimore Business Owners File Bridge Collapse Lawsuit


BALTIMOREApril 26, 2024 /7Newswire — Attorneys for Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman (“Milberg”) have filed a class action lawsuit over the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore and the losses it has caused to Baltimore businesses.

Lead plaintiffs Karen Austin and Charles Austin, who run American Publishing LLC, are the first business owners to sue for the economic disruptions resulting from the collision of the container ship M/V Dali with the Key Bridge on March 26, 2024. The impact led to the bridge’s immediate collapse, shutting down a crucial section of Interstate 695 that connects people, businesses, and communities throughout the Baltimore area.

Their complaint accuses Grace Ocean Private, the owner of the Dali, and the ship’s operator, Synergy Marine Group, of gross and potentially criminal negligence. The lawsuit also argues that the companies’ petition to cap the damages they could be forced to pay at $43.6 million should not be allowed because the Dali was “clearly unseaworthy.”

Since the Key Bridge has been shut down indefinitely, the Austins say demand for their once-thriving business has dropped substantially. They seek compensatory damages for themselves and others for financial losses stemming from the destruction of the bridge. Anyone who has similarly lost business income due to the bridge collapse may be able to join the lawsuit as a class member.

“Thousands of ships have made the same journey the Dali made that fateful day when the Key Bridge was struck without incident,” said Milberg Of Counsel Roy L. Mason, who is representing the Austins. “There were major red flags that the Dali never should have left port that day, which makes the bridge collapse—and the damage to Mr. and Mrs. Austin’s business—entirely preventable.”

Mrs. Austin is a former counter-terrorism equipment specialist and the daughter of William C. Horn, a U.S. Navy veteran and retired Baltimore City homicide detective. She worked to provide equipment to command posts as a 9/11 first responder and developed the first “To-Go Kit” for terror attacks. She later founded American Publishing, a business that provides services to military and civilian personnel and the local Baltimore business community through publications such as the Armed Forces Directory.

“Much attention has been paid to the supply chain impacts of the Port of Baltimore being shut down after the destruction of the Key Bridge, and rightly so, but with this lawsuit we hope to address the harm that has been done to the Austins and other small business owners in the Baltimore region,” said Milberg Senior Partner Marc Grossman.

The Milberg Baltimore Bridge Taskforce hosted a virtual town hall on April 25 to help businesses affected financially by the Key Bridge collapse. A recording of the event is available on Facebook. Businesses can also visit Milberg.com to learn about potential avenues for recovery.

About Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, PLLC
For over 50 years, Milberg and its affiliates have been fighting to protect victims’ rights and have recovered over $50 billion for clients. A pioneer in class action litigation, Milberg is widely recognized as a leader in defending the rights of victims of corporate wrongdoing.

Media Contact:
Karine Lim

SOURCE Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman PLLC