PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 26, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Allison Friedman tries valiantly to stay positive every day, but it is especially difficult this week. Tomorrow, ironically, on the one-year anniversary of the January 27, 2015 Center City Lululemon store roof collapse that crushed the 28-year-old special education teacher's body, but not her spirit, she will undergo major spinal surgery.
Following the procedure, Ms. Friedman will be hospitalized for at least five days, including her 29th birthday on Friday. Today she joined her attorneys as they announced the filing of a lawsuit asserting that negligence on the part of the owner/manager group of the six-story office building that hovered over the Lululemon store (since demolished) was clearly responsible for the easily preventable tragedy. Ms. Friedman said she never imagined that stopping in the store, on a school snow day to buy a birthday gift for a friend would change her life forever.
"I could not have been happier that afternoon," she explained. "Just married to the love of my life. Fulfilled every day working with my amazing students, and then, in a heartbeat, that beautiful world came crashing down."
"Properly maintained buildings don't collapse on their neighbors," explained Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett & Bendesky, P.C., which represents the collapse victim. "We will show at trial that the defendants knew or should have known there was a serious accident waiting to occur as that masonry wall would predictably, repeatedly freeze then thaw, losing structural integrity until it became totally unstable," added Mr. Mongeluzzi.
Mr. Mongeluzzi noted that he did not sue Lululemon because unlike in the 2013 Philadelphia Salvation Army Thrift Store building catastrophe, Lululemon was not repeatedly warned of the risk of imminent collapse.
The complaint (FRIEDMAN ETAL VS 1529 WALNUT STREET ASSOCIATES, L.P. ETAL, No. 160102936, January Term, Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas) names as defendants the property owners and managers, whom are affiliates of Pearl Properties.
Jeffrey P. Goodman, Mr. Mongeluzzi's co-counsel representing Ms. Friedman and her husband, said the tremendous force of hundreds of the deteriorated bricks from the falling wall of 1529 Walnut St. partially collapsed the store's roof directly onto Ms. Friedman.
"Thousands of pounds of bricks came crashing through the roof of the Lululemon store, crushing and trapping Alli while she waited for help to arrive," explained Mr. Goodman. "Tomorrow doctors will perform a spinal fusion, which follows her earlier rotator cuff surgery. Sadly, she will require extensive medical care and rehabilitation which will impact her personal life and prevent her from returning to teach for some time."
SOURCE Saltz, Mongeluzzi, Barrett, & Bendesky, P.C.