Children of two men killed in Hard Rock collapse file suits



The families say they are owed compensation for anguish, grief and other damages after their fathers’ deaths.

NEW OREANS, La. (WWL-TV)- The children of two of the workers killed in the partial collapse of the Hard Rock hotel construction site have filed lawsuits against several of the companies involved in the construction.

The families say they are owed compensation for anguish, grief and other damages after their fathers’ deaths.

The suits were filed by Angela Magrette Ortega and her sister, Kamren Schexnayder and by Quinnyon Wimberly II. Wimberly’s suit was filed on his behalf by his mother, Jade Rouzan.

Magrette’s remains were recovered on Oct. 13. Wimberly’s remains have so far not been retrieved. Another man, Jose Ponce Arreola, 63, also was killed in the collapse.

A spokeswoman for the consortium in charge of the Hard Rock, 1031 Canal Development LLC, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the suits from the children of Magrette and Wimberly. But the group has said it has been monitoring and assisting recovery efforts at the site while noting that “there are many questions that are unanswerable at this juncture.”

Those developing the Hard Rock have already been hit with numerous other lawsuits, most of them filed by injured workers who survived the disaster.

One proposed class-action lawsuit aims to recoup losses experienced by businesses that had to unexpectedly close and residents who were forced to leave their homes for extended periods a result of traffic closures and evacuation orders in the wake of the collapse. 

Near the hotel’s rubble, there are signs that the city expects the effort to recover the bodies of Ponce and Wimberly will be lengthy.

Crews installed fencing along surrounding streets after blasting down two damaged cranes at the structure on Sunday afternoon, a pre-emptive step meant to prevent them from tumbling down on their own in unpredictable fashion.

In addition to searching for remains, the city is focused on removing what is left of the cranes. Part of one is still perched on top of the building, its arm dangling over Canal, while a piece of the other impaled the sidewalk on North Rampart.

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