Fodness Family Files Lawsuit In Connection With Copper Lounge Building Collapse

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The family who lived in an apartment in the Copper Lounge building has filed a lawsuit against local developers.

A lawsuit was filed on behalf of Emily, Mike and Chris Fodness on Tuesday.  The defendants named in the court filing include Legacy Development & Consulting Company, LLC; Aaron Hultgren; Hultgren Construction, LLC.; Boomerang Investments, LLC; CLP Investments, LLC; Olympia Real Estate Holdings, LLC; and RISE Structural Associates, Inc.  

The lawsuit says Emily Fodness was asleep in her bed on the morning of December 2, 2016, when she heard a crash and awoke to see her bedroom floor fall away. The lawsuit says she then rolled out of bed, fell a story and a half onto a pile of rubble and the former Copper Lounge building collapsed on top of her.

According to court papers, Emily’s father, Mike, was in the smokeshop downstairs and “heard a cracking sound and felt the building shift.” He and the smokeshop manager ran out of the building. Mike wasn’t sure if Emily was in the apartment and called his wife to check.

Mike’s wife, Chris, said she had rushed to the building collapse site. Emily called Chris while trapped under the rubble.

Emily detailed that in an interview to KELOLAND News a few weeks after the collapse

“‘Mom, I’m underneath this rubble.  You need to send help.’  By that time I had already heard sirens come out and by the time she had gotten there and she said, ‘My daughter is in there.’ I could hear her voice cracking, ‘My daughter’s in there,'” Emily Fodness said in the Dec. 2016 interview.

Emily was rescued after spending several hours underneath the rubble and was taken to a local hospital. Court papers say Emily “sustained severe physical, mental, psychological and emotional injures.” The lawsuit also alleges Emily’s parents “sustained severe mental, psychological and emotional injures resulting in physical manifestations which injuries are continuing.”

The lawsuit claims Hultgren Construction was formed at the urging of Legacy’s principals to act as general contractor on the project involving the Copper Lounge and Skelly’s buildings.  It alleges Legacy, Boomerang, CLP and/or Olympia lacked the experience, training and competence to manage and oversee the work performed by Hultgren Construction on the project.    

The family is asking for a jury trial.  The damage amount will be determined at trial.

     Page 1 of Fodness Lawsuit

 Just last week, the family of a construction worker killed in the collapse also filed lawsuits against the developers.  The lawsuits on behalf of Ethan McMahon’s brother and father make claims about what the companies knew before the building collapse. 

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