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Last Minneapolis Bridge Collapse Lawsuit Settled For $52.4 Million

Minneapolis bridge

Cars are seen amidst the remains of the Interstate 35W bridge on Friday August 3, 2007.   Kevin Rofidal/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Kevin Rofidal/AP

The final lawsuit stemming from the horrifying 2007 collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis which killed 13 people and injured 145 was settled for $52.4 million.

URS of San Francisco said it agreed to settle to avoid prolonged litigation. Companies also tend to settle such lawsuits to avert the uncertainties of a jury trial which could lead to far greater financial exposure for a company and its insurers.

The settlement was announced Monday although it actually was reached last week.

An excerpt from URS's statement:

"URS has reached an agreement that fully resolves the plaintiffs' legal claims against the Company with no admission of liability or fault by URS. The I-35W bridge collapse was a tragedy, which the National Transportation Safety Board concluded was caused by a design flaw, compounded by large weight increases from upgrade projects over the years, and the traffic and construction loads on the day the bridge collapsed. URS was not involved in the design or building of the bridge, nor was it involved in any of the later construction work, including the resurfacing work being done when the bridge collapsed.

"URS believes it is in the best interest of the Company and its shareholders to resolve this matter and avoid the cost and distraction of protracted litigation. The settlement amount of $52.4 million will be paid in full by the company's insurers."

An excerpt from a report on the web site of Minnesota Public Radio, an NPR member station:

Minneapolis — An engineering firm hired to evaluate the Interstate 35W bridge before it collapsed in 2007 has agreed to pay $52.4 million to more than 130 people affected by the tragedy, attorneys announced Monday.

The settlement with URS Corp. was the final lawsuit the bridge victims and their families had pending. They will take away $48.6 million from the URS settlement, bringing the total received from contractors and the state to more than $95 million.

The state has paid the victims $36 million through special legislation. A $10 million settlement was previously reached with PCI Corporation, the construction firm doing work on the bridge when it fell.

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