On August 21, 2015, Michael Neff and his team of Dwayne Adams, Susan Cremer, and Shane Peagler obtained a global settlement of $2,900,000.00 on behalf of two clients who suffered serious injuries in a DeKalb County deck collapse on May 17, 2014.
Michael Neff noted, “these cases were significant because there were 11 people injured in the collapse. The less seriously injured Plaintiffs exhausted most of the available insurance coverage, and this put the assets of the business owners at risk.”
The incident occurred as a family gathered for a birthday celebration on the deck of a rental home in DeKalb County. The family was enjoying a cookout on the deck and had started to sing “Happy Birthday” when the deck detached from the house. The family members fell 7 feet to the ground below.
As the deck collapsed, the family’s grill and chaffing dishes dumped on the fallen party goers, resulting in the clients suffering fractured bones and second and third degree burns over large portions of their bodies. Both clients spent significant time in the Burn Unit at Grady Hospital.
As a result of the collapse, both clients incurred over $250,000.00 in medical bills each. One client had burns over 70% of her body and required several skin grafts. She was later diagnosed with PTSD. The other client’s badly broken ankle required two surgeries, and put her at risk of posttraumatic arthritis. She, too, had skin graft procedures in the Grady Burn Unit. Susan Cremer explained, “traumatic burn cases are increasingly complex, and it was important for us to monitor our clients’ treatment every step of the way.”
MLN Law brought suit against Bridge 2 Blue, LLC, the entity who owned the house at the time of the collapse as well as the prior owner, Double B Turnkey Investments, LLC, who bought the home off of foreclosure and renovated it. Two out of state investors created Double B in 2012 by investing $6 million to facilitate the purchase homes off of foreclosure at the courthouse steps.
The homes would be renovated, at which time, the homes would be deeded to the owner’s other company, Bridge 2 Blue, LLC for $10. Bridge 2 Blue would then commence renting the properties out to the public. Shane Peagler noted, “after investigating the transfers and the interrelationships between the companies, we realized we had a strong argument to pierce the corporate veils of both LLCs, particularly when the companies were underinsured.”
MLN Law also sued Double B and Triple R’s management companies, Rent Ready Rehabs, Capital Property Management, and Key Property services. The out of state investors utilized management companies who made a fee for each house they bought off of foreclosure, renovated, and later rented to the public. At the time of the collapse, the portfolio of properties at issue was worth $5.7 million.
Double B and Bridge 2 Blue planned to aggregate the rental properties into a fund, which would then be sold to Wall Street hedge funds. Unfortunately for the clients, the renovations at their residence were not up to code. MLN Law uncovered evidence Double B knew of defects in the deck but never had them repaired.
Rex Smith mediated the case at Henning Mediation. However, the case did not settle until the expiration of an Offer of Settlement demand from the Plaintiffs. It is expected that suits concerning insurance coverage for the incidents will continue. Dwayne Adams added, “our strong liability presentation and the catastrophic injuries likely exacerbated the LLC owners’ concerns over losing their Georgia businesses.” Michael Neff added, “we were prepared to go the distance through trial and appeal, if necessary, and I think the owners made a sound business decision to resolve these cases when they did.”
For more details, see the article from the Daily Report: http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202736471385/Investors-Pay-29M-to-Two-Victims-in-Rental-Houses-Deck-Collapse?mcode=1202615995203