SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Back in 2017, a platform collapsed inside of a warehouse in Barrio Logan injuring nearly two dozen children, and now a civil trial brought on by some of the families, claiming negligence, will determine who exactly is at fault.
A quick clip of the collapse was shown in court Tuesday as opening statements began.
“The evidence will show that no defendant ever got any permit for inspection that would have made this not a dangerous condition, and would have made it safe,” said Timothy Scott, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “MTS said that they’ve done nothing wrong, we think that they did.”
It will ultimately be up to the jury to decide who is responsible and whether to allocate the blame among the businesses involved in the trial.
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) owned the building and was hit with several code violations after the collapse.
But at the time, MTS leased several sections of the warehouse to different businesses, one of those tenants was San Diego Sports Entertainment Center, which then sub-leased a portion of its spot, to Vault PK, a parkour gym where the collapse happened.
An attorney for Vault PK said Tuesday that the business owner Jessica Funke used her father who is a contractor, her brother, and another contractor to help build the platform that ultimately fell, but admits they never got the required permits.
“You will hear that the Funke’s did not obtain permits for building out the facility because they were instructed to wait on that,” said Amy Frerich, an attorney representing Vault PK.
An attorney for San Diego Sports Entertainment Center says owner, Diana Ocampo had a verbal agreement to sub-lease the space to Vault PK but said Ocampo wasn’t around and didn’t know the platform was being constructed.
“They didn’t preapprove it and when she came back and saw it, she told Vault PK you ought to have that looked at by a structural engineer, she herself asked an architect to come look at it, and she reported it all to MTS,” said attorney Anthony DeMaria, representing Ocampo and San Diego Sports Entertainment.
An attorney for MTS said MTS never approved of the platform, and that the violations should apply to the tenants, not the property owner.
“MTS is not there as an advisor or a friend, or part of the business of the tenants, they leased a piece of property and the tenant is the one that has to run it, and do everything they can to make sure they run it properly,” she said.
Witnesses began taking the stand Tuesday afternoon. The trial is scheduled to last about three weeks.
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