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Mistrial declared in wrongful death crane collapse suit

For people in the area that day, it sounded like the world had come crashing down on Manhattan. For the families that lost loved ones in the crane collapse six years ago, their worlds will never be the same.

The families recently endured a setback in their quest for justice in a wrongful death suit filed against the crane's owner and others. The owner of the crane cannot attend the trial for weeks because of injuries he sustained in a car accident, compelling the judge in the case to declare a mistrial.

On May 30, 2008, the arm of the 200-foot-tall crane snapped and plunged to the ground, killing the crane operator and a sewer worker. The day the judge declared a mistrial was the sixth anniversary of the crane accident.

That collapse had followed on the heels of another crane disaster in Manhattan that had killed seven people. The two tragedies spurred local authorities to enact tougher regulations on construction sites and crane operation and increase enforcement of existing rules.

The New York Times has in the past reported that the crane's owner had been accused of having an unqualified Chinese company repair crucial components of the crane because the company offered a low price and quick work.

At his trial on manslaughter and other charges, the owner's attorneys argued that the crane collapse was caused not by a shoddy repair, but by the operator who had lifted a load too heavy for the equipment.

A new wrongful death trial is slated to begin in September.

Source: Centre Daily Times, "Mistrial in NYC crane case after owner's wreck," Jennifer Peltz, May 30, 2014

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