ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota’s five-year legal battle over the collapsed Interstate 35W bridge has ended with an $8.9 million settlement involving a California design firm, which paid its final installment on Tuesday.
Chris Joyce, a Minnesota Department of Transportation spokeswoman, said the settlement is a final chapter in the 35W legal saga.
“It ends all litigation dealing with the collapse of the 35W bridge,” Joyce said.
The deal was struck in October, but wasn’t publicized. The Associated Press learned of the settlement through a disclosure of pending cases the state makes ahead of bond sales.
Thirteen people died and 145 more were injured when the highway bridge buckled and fell into the Mississippi River during an August rush-hour.
A Minneapolis attorney who represented Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. referred calls for comment to a company executive. The executive didn’t immediately return a phone call or email. As part of the settlement, Jacobs admitted no wrongdoing but said it was done to head off continued legal expense and protracted litigation.
Jacobs had earlier pushed to have the case dismissed. It argued that state law put a 10-year limit on liability and noted the state had a 1962 contract with the bridge’s designer, a now-defunct company that Jacobs acquired in 1999. But state courts let the lawsuit proceed; the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the company’s final appeal in May. The settlement money will go into the state’s general fund.
Like others, the latest settlement helped reimburse Minnesota taxpayers for the I-35W Survivor Compensation Fund, said Democratic Rep. Ryan Winkler, who helped establish the fund for collapse victims who agreed not to sue the state.
“We can never change what happened on that terrible day, but fortunately we were able to come together and ensure that the survivors were given help to try to somehow rebuild their lives,” Winkler said in a statement.
Federal investigators determined an original design flaw was a key factor that doomed the bridge.
After the collapse, the state also sued URS Corp., an engineering company that was evaluating the bridge before it fell. The sides settled that case for $5 million settlement to avert a trial, which could have opened URS to punitive damages. Neither side admitted any liability or fault.
Separate from its state payment, URS settled lawsuits brought by survivors and the families of those killed for more than $52 million. The state also set up a special $36.6 million compensation fund for those impacted.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- 7 common ways to get sued by your employees
- Why it might be time to upgrade your toilet
- Arizona teachers are building a better future by using technology in the classroom
- How to make summer reading fun for the whole family
- How to find relief for chronic joint pain
- Can the NBA Lottery save the Suns?
- Skip Urgent Care: 5 ailments you can treat with telemedicine
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments