Survivor who lost legs in Philly building collapse files suit

By Jon Campisi | Aug 21, 2013

One of the victims who survived the deadly building collapse in downtown

One of the victims who survived the deadly building collapse in downtown

Philadelphia in early June has filed a lawsuit over the severe injuries she sustained after an unsupported wall toppled over an adjacent thrift shop during a demolition.

The court docket shows that Philadelphia attorney Andrew Stern, of the firm Kline & Specter, filed a civil action Aug. 19 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of city resident Mariya Plekan, a 52-year-old immigrant from Ukraine who lost both of her legs during the June 6 incident.

Plekan was reportedly shopping at the thrift store at the time.

Demolition contractors were taking down an unoccupied structure when the un-braced wall gave way, and fell on top of the Salvation Army secondhand store that stood next to the demolition site.

The lawsuit says that Plekan had to have the lower portion of her body amputated due to the severity of the lower extremity injuries.

The plaintiff also suffered from kidney failure, cardiac arrest, liver dysfunction, sepsis, and other injuries that led to invasive surgeries and other ongoing medical procedures.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Plekan is a widow who immigrated to America more than a decade ago.

She reportedly moved to the Philadelphia region to take care of an elderly relative.

Following the June 5 building collapse that led to the deaths of six people – 14 others were injured in the incident – Plekan’s adult children came to Philadelphia from Ukraine to be with their mother.

The defendants listed in the lawsuit include Richard Basciano and his company, STB Investments Corp., the owners of the collapsed property, as well as architect Plato Marinakos, Jr., and his firm, Plato Studio Architect LLC.

Other defendants named in the litigation are Griffin T. Campbell, the demolition contractor who secured the contract to tear down Basciano’s building, the Salvation Army of Eastern Territory, and Sean Benschop, a worker hired by Campbell to tear down the vacant structure.

Benschop thus far remains the only person connected to the collapse who is facing criminal charges.

Along with the complaint, Stern, the plaintiff’s attorney, also filed a petition to preserve documents and evidence in the case due to his client’s deteriorating condition.

Anticipating that Plekan may not survive her injuries, the lawyer is asking a judge to preserve her testimony so that it could be used during a potential future trial.

Civil cases are sometimes stayed by the courts until criminal proceedings are complete.

Plekan is seeking unspecified monetary damages.


The case ID number is 130801874.

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