Survivors Of London High-Rise Fire Are Suing In Philadelphia Court
June 14, 2019
Survivors and relatives of victims of the Grenfell Tower high-rise fire in London are suing in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas. The fire, in which seventy-two people died, was fed by an updraft blamed on the design of its exterior cladding, and defendants in the lawsuit are Celotex Corp and Arconic Inc., both of which have bases in Pennsylvania and were involved with the cladding’s manufacture. Arconic, formerly Alcoa, is based in Philadelphia and Celotex has its U.S. headquarters in Pennsylvania. Michigan-based Whirlpool Corp, which manufactured a refrigerator that was said to have triggered the blaze, is also a defendant. Plaintiff attorney is Robert J. Mongeluzzi of Philadelphia-based Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky. Aaccording to Mongeluzi, quoted in an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, the cladding and the insulation product could have been made flame retardant. “These defective materials burned like gasoline and accelerated the flames,” he said. The defendants are expected to argue strenuously that this matter should be heard in British courts, which generally, as the New York Times notes in its coverage of the lawsuit, are “more deferential to businesses” and loathe to impose punitive damages.
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