On one-year anniversary of Hard Rock Hotel collapse, developer sues host of contractors | News

The company that owns the ill-fated Hard Rock Hotel filed suit this week against a host of construction contractors, subcontractors and insurance companies for damages related to the collapse of the highrise last October that killed three workers and injured dozens more.

The legal action was filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court late Monday, on the one-year anniversary of the collapse of the upper floors of the 18-story building.

The ownership group, 1031 Canal Development, is led by Mohan Kailas. But company officials have said principals of two of the project’s main contractors — Denzell Clark, owner of general contractor Citadel Builders and Todd Trosclair, owner of electrical contractor All-Star Electric — also owned a share.

1031 Canal places the blame for the building’s failure on Citadel, All-Star, Heaslip Engineering, architect Harry Baker Smith and 15 other subcontractors. Because of the group’s contract with Citadel to build the hotel at Canal and N. Rampart streets, it also sued the insurance providers of each contractor and subcontractor.

New Orleans sues owners of collapsed Hard Rock Hotel for $12M over cleanup, other costs

The lawsuit takes particularly pointed aim at Heaslip, which was cited for several key violations by investigators with the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration. It claims that Heaslip failed to design the proper support beams and columns or calculate the proper loads that each floor could support. It branches out from there to the lead contractor, Citadel, and the various trades subcontractors.

“Just as Heaslip did not run appropriate load calculations and analyses, neither did the general contractor, or any subcontractor or supplier,” the lawsuit alleges.


Demi Searls, 7, and Harlo Cartozzo, 8, write notes to their uncle Anthony Floyd Magrette who died in the Hard Rock Hotel construction site collapse in New Orleans, Monday, Oct. 12,

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Gov. Newsom signs bill that gives one-year exemption for newspapers to keep carriers as contractors

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation into law that gives newspapers a one-year extension before they must comply with another law increasing labor protections for delivery workers.

The bill, AB 323, allows newspapers to continue classifying their paper carriers as independent contractors through Jan. 1, 2022. The governor signed the measure on Wednesday.

The law continues a temporary exemption put in place last year in response to enactment of AB 5. That 2018 landmark legislation gives so-called “gig workers” eligibility for benefits typically reserved for full-time employees such as overtime, sick leave and unemployment pay. But it has been under attack since passage.

Without the extension for newspapers, the distribution costs for The Press Democrat would have increased 60% and could have forced delivery cutbacks to rural parts of the North Coast, said Steve Falk, CEO of Sonoma Media Investments, which owns The Press Democrat and other regional publications.

On Sept. 4, Newsom had signed into law AB 2257, which provides greater carve-outs from AB 5 by removing workers such as freelance writers, editors, photographers and newspaper cartoonists from the landmark law.

The California News Publishers Association, which represents more than 400 daily and weekly newspapers, plan to work with lawmakers next year to reach a long-term solution regarding paper delivery personnel, said Chuck Champion, president and CEO. To treat news carriers as full-time workers rather than contractors would be quite costly for newspaper companies and could cause many more papers statewide to reduce news coverage or fold, publishers have said.

His group needs to do a better job of educating legislators on the importance of the exemption given that print editions are still significant revenue for local newspapers even with younger readers who consume news digitally, Champion said. “It’s critical. It continues to service a segment of our community, often

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