The daughters of a Spokane construction worker who fell to his death from the Maple Street Bridge have filed claims seeking more than $6 million in damages from the city and state.
The claims accuse government officials of allowing the 1993 resurfacing project to continue despite an earlier near-fatal accident and ongoing safety violations.
On July 22, Joseph Galindo was reporting for work framing concrete forms on the south end of the bridge when he stepped on an unsecured plank at 11:15 a.m.
He plunged through the deck, dropped about 100 feet and landed face down on a pile of rocks. He was wearing a safety harness, but his safety line was untethered.
Three months earlier, another construction worker, Neal Berman, fell from the bridge under similar circumstances and was injured.
Following that incident, the state Department of Labor and Industries levied an $810 fine against the contractor, David A. Mowat Co. of Kirkland, Wash., for failing to ensure the worker was using proper safety equipment.
In the wake of Galindo’s death, Labor and Industries fined Mowat $14,000 for numerous serious safety violations.
Divorced at the time of the accident, Galindo, 43, had an excellent safety record, according to Spokane attorney J. Scott Miller.
Miller filed claims against the city and state Thursday seeking $1.5 million in damages on behalf of Galindo’s 11-year-old daughter, Lisa.
Similar claims for $5 million were recently filed by attorney Thomas Roberts on behalf of another daughter, Elizabeth.
The attorneys argue that state and city inspectors supervising the $3.5 million project were aware of unsafe working conditions and said so in reports.
Those deficiencies, however, were mysteriously not addressed, they said.
The contract with Mowat included cash incentives for early completion, fueling speculation that the company cut dangerous corners in order to boost profits.
Mowat Vice President John Sandstrom did not return telephone calls Friday. City and state officials could not be reached for comment.