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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bridge collapse hearings commence

Hearings on the 35W bridge collapse claims are underway. Minneapolis attorney Susan Holden, head of the special master panel, said that 179 claims have been filed and 70 of those will be heard by the full panel. Nine claimants have waived hearings, leaving 100 cases to be heard among the three special masters, although a few claims have already been heard, Holden said. A school bus from Waite House community center with 52 children in it was on the bridge when it went down. Yesterday, Oct. 20, the panel heard testimony from the bus driver as well as the program director and youth coordinator from Waite House. “The purpose of the testimony was to set up the testimony of the kids and understand what happened,” Holden said. “It sets the context for the medical and post-traumatic stress claims.”

The hearing at the offices of Sieben, Grose, Von Holtum & Carey also provided a preview for lawyers of claimants. Holden said about eight lawyers attended the hearings. All the hearings will be concluded by the end of January and offers must be made by Feb. 28.

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