The lawsuits are stacking up in the Kelowna Crane disaster.
The manufacturer of the tower crane that collapsed at the Bernard Block construction site two years ago, killing five people, is the main defendant in three new lawsuits filed this week.
The widows of Eric Stemmer, Patrick Stemmer and Cailen Vilness are suing Liebherr International, Liebherr Component Bieberach and its Canadian division, along with several unnamed companies and individuals.
They are the latest of several suits filed right before the two year statute of limitations on civil cases in B.C.
In her filing, Katherine Stemmer said that at the time of his death, her husband Eric Stemmer was a superintendent and project manager for Stemmer Construction, which was owned by his father Wolfram Stemmer.
Nikita Stemmer’s lawsuit says her husband, Patrick Stemmer, was the crane operator who lost his life in the tragedy on July 12, 2021.
Jaydean Braham was the common-law spouse of Cailen Vilness, 23. Vilness was a first-year carpenter’s apprentice with Stemmer Construction and died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident.
All three lawsuits claim the crane collapse was caused in whole or in part by the negligence of the defendants, but acknowledge that the particulars aren’t know pending the outcome of the WorkSafe BC and RCMP investigations. The women also allege that the crane contained a "dangerous defect," which led to the accident.
There are not details related to the defect included in the lawsuit.
They are seeking compensation for grief and emotional distress, loss of care, guidance, affection and the loss of financial support, among other things.
The widow of Brad Zawislak, who was killed when the crane operator’s cage fell through the roof of his office in the building next door, filed a lawsuit against Stemmer Construction and several others earlier this year.
Stemmer Construction has also sued crane maker Liebherr.
None of the allegations in the lawsuits have been tested in court.
So far, there has been no lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Jared Zook, the other construction worker who died.