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Sunday 24 September 2023 Dublin: 18°C
# Settlement
Survivors and families of Berkeley victims agree compensation with construction firms
The family of Ashley Donohoe, who died in the balcony collapse, released a statement through their lawyer today.

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SURVIVORS OF THE Berkeley balcony collapse, and the families of those who died in the tragedy, have reached a settlement with some of the companies involved in the construction of the building.

All aged 21 and 22, Irish students Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Niccolai Shuster, Lorcan Miller, Eimear Walsh and Irish-American Ashley Donohoe died when a balcony collapsed during a party at an apartment in the US city of Berkeley, California on 16 June 2015.

A number of others suffered serious injuries in the incident.

Legal action was taken by the families of the six who died, as well as seven who were injured, against dozens of companies involved in the construction, management and maintenance of the Library Gardens apartment complex in Berkeley.

A partial settlement has now been reached with companies involved in the construction phase, with legal action set to continue.

The terms of the settlement are set to remain confidential.

Lawyer Eustace de St Phalle, who represents the family of Ashley Donohoe, issued a statement today on their behalf, saying that the financial settlement would not bring Ashley back and that they would continue to push for legislative change to ensure this did not happen again.

He said: “Although there may be a partial settlement in the Berkeley balcony collapse cases, the Donohoe family will continue to push for legislative changes to the building codes and related to establishing a reporting requirement to the contractors licensing board for contractors who settle claims related to poor construction work.

The Donohoe family does not want negligent contractors to be able to hide the settlements of claims related faulty construction through the use of secret settlements.

“The amounts paid will never restore health or lives of the students but the payments reflect an effort to maximally compensate the victim’s within the means of the wrongdoers,” he said.

Litigation will continue against the other defendants in the case, including the apartment complex’s corporate owner and property manager, with a trial date set for early 2018.

Last month, the state of California revoked the licence of a building contractor, which was found to have “willfully ignored” building plans during construction.

It was the state’s case that if the balconies had been built as per the plans and specifications, the balcony would not have collapsed:

Design and load analysis of the balcony established that if the balcony had been built as designed, the imposed load of the 13 students was well within the design limits of the balcony.

In September, California passed legislation that would enforce greater regulation and oversight of construction procedures.

Read: ‘If this balcony had been built as designed, this would not have happened’

Read: ‘I miss my friends so much’: Berkeley balcony survivor speaks out about tragedy

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