$95.6M awarded to Philadelphia building collapse survivor

Super Bowl Ads-Mercedes-Benz
This photo provided by Mercedes-Benz USA shows an image from the company's "Easy Driver" Super Bowl 51 commercial. To target baby boomers, Mercedes-Benz enlisted the Coen Bros. to direct an update to the tune of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.” Bikers at a bar are furious that their bikes have been blocked by a car, until they realize its Peter Fonda driving a Mercedes-Benz AMG Roadster. (Mercedes-Benz USA via AP)

PHILADELPHIA/May 27, 2017 (AP) (StlRealEstate.News)— An arbitrator has awarded $95.6 million to a Ukrainian immigrant who was seriously injured in a 2013 Philadelphia building collapse.

Mariya Plekan’s attorney, Andrew Stern, announced the division of the $227 million settlement on Thursday. Lawyers for 19 people killed or injured in the collapse reached the settlement with several defendants in February after a 17-week trial. Plekan was expected to receive the largest individual portion.

Six people were killed and 13 injured when a towering brick wall left unbraced during a demolition project crushed an adjacent Salvation Army store on June 5, 2013. One of the injured died a few weeks later. The jury had found the Salvation Army and the building owner, a New York real estate speculator, largely responsible.

Plekan, who was then 52 and a frequent shopper at the Salvation Army store, was buried beneath the rubble for 13 hours. Stern said she was rescued, but her injuries were so severe that she suffered a “guillotine amputation,” the removal of the lower half of her body at the hips.

Stern told the jury at trial earlier this year that Plekan had undergone 30 operations. While she had survived kidney failure and lung problems, she had lost her ability to speak because of throat damage from months on a respirator. He added that she would require 24-hour medical care for the rest of her life and estimated her future medical expenses at $50 million.

“We take comfort that Ms. Plekan finally can obtain the appropriate skilled medical care she needs for the rest of her life, and that she has received just compensation for the gruesome injuries she sustained from this devastating tragedy,” Stern said Thursday following the arbitrator’s announcement of the award.

Kathy Bratkowski
About Kathy Bratkowski 113 Articles
Kathy Bratkowski is an award-winning writer and multimedia producer. Her television work has been recognized with eleven regional Emmy® awards and multiple Telly awards. Her documentaries and programs have screened at film festivals (St. Louis International Film Festival and New York Television Festival). She writes and produces videos and web content for dozens of national corporations. In a previous life, she was a television news producer and worked in the corporate world. She is a published feature and short story writer and has an M.A. in Marketing and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing. She teaches Multimedia Storytelling (aka Convergence Media Production) at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park.