Baltimore Says Who Should Be Held Responsible For Bridge Collapse

The city of Baltimore has filed a court document asserting that the owners of the Dali cargo ship should be held accountable for last month’s crash and subsequent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which claimed the lives of six people working on the bridge at the time of the incident.

In the filing submitted on Monday, Baltimore accuses parent company Grace Ocean Private Ltd. of gross and potentially criminal negligence for putting an “unseaworthy vessel” into the water on March 26, moments before it crashed into a structure supporting the bridge, causing it to topple. The city argues that the water transportation services company should be held fully liable for the collapse.

The court filing states, “For all intents and purposes, Petitioner’s negligence caused them to destroy the Key Bridge, and single-handedly destroy the Port of Baltimore, a source of jobs, municipal revenue and no small amount of pride for the city of Baltimore and its residents.”

The city’s legal action comes in response to Grace Ocean Private Ltd.’s own federal lawsuit, which seeks to limit their financial payout to just $43.7 million, a figure significantly lower than the billions of dollars anticipated in costs to clear the Baltimore Port and construct a new bridge.

Baltimore’s filing alleges that the Dali continued its departure despite multiple warning signs and ultimately lost power just moments before crashing into the bridge. The legal battle over who should be held responsible for the crash is expected to be lengthy.

Mayor Brandon Scott announced on April 15 that the City of Baltimore would be taking legal steps to “proactively and aggressively” address the Key Bridge collapse and its impact on the city and its residents. The mayor’s office emphasized the devastating loss of life, significant economic hardship to businesses and employees relying on the Port of Baltimore, and the human impact of the event.

City Solicitor Ebony M. Thompson reiterated the city’s intention to hold the Dali owners accountable for the collapse, stating, “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.”

The city has partnered with trial firm DiCello Levitt and Philadelphia law firm Saltz Mongeluzzi Bendesky Trial Lawyers to pursue legal action, with the Law Department’s Chief of Affirmative Litigation Sara Gross also representing the city.

Meanwhile, the FBI continues to investigate the Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse, focusing on whether ship personnel were aware of any on board technical or operational issues before the ship left the Port of Baltimore.

Related Posts