Insurance proceeds to victims of collapsed FRC bridge, says MCM builder in court


A judge agreed on Wednesday to allow Miami-based construction firm MCM to restructure its financial obligations under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy rules. The company is being sued for death and injuries resulting from the collapse in 2018 of a pioneering pedestrian bridge at Florida International University, in which six people died and eight others injured. MCM was the bridge builder.

MCM, also known as Magnum Construction Management LLC and previously under the name of Munilla Construction Management, revealed in filing for bankruptcy Even before the pedestrian bridge incident, he was in the red and ended the year 2017 with more than $ 8 million in losses. This was the second consecutive year of net losses.

During his intervention before Judge A. Jay Cristol at the C. Clyde Atkins US Courthouse in downtown Miami on Wednesday, MCM's lawyer, Jordi Guso, said that a series of interviews were held in the city center. events had led its decision to reorganize in order to continue its operations. With 18 trial Regarding the failure of the CRF bridge, Guso spoke of the end of a lucrative project in Texas, the inability of the company to bid for Florida's Department of Transportation projects and its limited access to new funding.

Guso said MCM was asking four insurance companies with MCM's labor policies to cover at least $ 42 million and damages of up to $ 54 million. Victims' lawyers say they accepted the $ 54 million cap in negotiations for a large-scale settlement.

"Because they go bankrupt, that's the maximum we can get from MCM," said Stuart Grossman, one of the victims' lawyers. He added that they continued to claim damages from other parties, including FIGG Bridge Group, the designer of the pedestrian bridge. FIGG, headquartered in Tallahassee, operates normally.

The willingness of MCA insurers to pay bridge victims is the key issue for families and those affected by the collapse, according to Grossman. Insurers include Greenwich Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., Indian Harbor Insurance Company and The Ohio Casualty Insurance Company. Representatives of the insurers phoned Wednesday's court proceedings by telephone, but made no comment.

"The bankruptcy process should facilitate rather than interfere" with the victims' claims, said David Rosendorf, another lawyer representing the victims during the bankruptcy proceedings. "Nothing in the bankruptcy process should allow insurers to get out of the deal."

Guso announced on Wednesday that MCM had decided to declare bankruptcy after the Texas Department of Transportation had terminated MCM's deal for a road project near Denton, Texas, about a month ago. MCM is challenging the termination order, which was not related to the collapse of the FIU bridge, Guso said. The project would have generated $ 35 million for MCM.

In addition, MCM indicated that there was a shortfall of approximately $ 200 million worth of projects in collaboration with the State of Florida, which suspended the MCM sales license pending the National Transportation Safety Board's investigation into the incident. March 15, 2018. The NTSB has said that design flaws were probably a factor but has not yet published a final report. MCM and other companies involved in design and construction were fined by the Federal Administration of Occupational Safety and Health for security breaches.

Adding to the financial fragility of MCM: Two weeks after the collapse of the March 2018 bridge, MCM's revolving line of credit with Bank of America up to $ 25 million has expired; it has not been renewed, said Guso.

MCA's bankruptcy filing lists assets of close to $ 100 million and liabilities of approximately $ 47 million. The company currently has 31 active projects that it is required to carry out, including four with Miami-Dade public schools and one with Miami-Dade County. The company said it was able to operate thanks to loans totaling more than $ 22 million from two lenders: Travelers and Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company.

Jorge Munilla, president of MCM, said at the end of Wednesday's proceedings that he had been prevented from discussing details because of ongoing lawsuits and a gag order stemming from the NTSB investigation. Several members of the Munilla family, which manages MCM, attended Wednesday's proceedings.

"It's a difficult time for the [Munilla] family, he says. "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the victims."