Berkeley construction company files restraining order

The company behind the construction of the Berkeley apartment complex where six Irish students died in a balcony collapse last month has filed for a restraining order against the district attorney investigating the tragedy.

Berkeley construction company files restraining order

Segue Construction took the action on Tuesday against the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, which last Thursday said it would conduct a criminal investigation into the accident.

“We are applying for a temporary restraining order to ensure no evidence related to this tragic accident is altered, inspected, tested or destroyed without allowing Segue to observe and participate in that process,” the company said in a statement.

“Our immediate concern is that the criminal investigation announced by the Alameda County District Attorney respect the customary legal rights of all parties to an investigation.”

The company was also critical of the City of Berkeley’s decision to remove an identical balcony from the apartment directly below the unit where the tragedy took place, arguing that the fixture “could have been used for accident reconstruction purposes to determine potential causes and the source of water intrusion”.

“As a result of this potential evidence spoliation, Segue’s investigation of the accident, its defences in future litigation, and its ability to prosecute cross-claims may have been drastically impaired,” the company’s attorney wrote in the court documents.

Meanwhile US human rights activist Erin Brockovich, who has offered to help families of the victims, said they were badly in need of advice in selecting reputable legal representation.

She said there were “government codes and government regulations and immunity laws and procedures in place that require knowledgeable leadership and skilled navigation by firms that know what they are doing”.

Ms Brockovich said she had sought a meeting with the Irish consulate in San Francisco and had contacted Dublin firm Phelim O’Neill solicitors.

The city has released another inspection report of the apartment. The inspection was carried out last year. It examines the conditions of the kitchen, common areas, bathroom and both bedrooms in the apartment. On a scale of one to five, one being ‘as new’ and five meaning the item needs to be replaced, the apartment’s fittings scored a two in 24 categories.

Inspectors also recorded that there were no problems with moisture in the apartment.

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