4 injured workers sue over collapse at Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati

CINCINNATI - Four workers injured earlier this year when a floor collapsed at the construction site of Cincinnati's first and only casino filed a lawsuit on Monday against the project's builders, accusing them of neglecting safety to get the project done on time.

The lawsuit, filed in the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, says that all four of the workers suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and are in financial ruin as a result of the Jan. 27 collapse at the casino, still under construction in downtown Cincinnati.

The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages for workers Mark Hedges, James Lancaster, Micah Morthland and Damon Robinson.

The men and at least eight other workers were pouring concrete on the second floor of the two-story casino when structural beams collapsed and a 60-foot-by-60-foot section of floor came down, causing the men to fall about 25 feet.

No one was killed, but Monday's lawsuit says that Hedges, Lancaster, Morthland and Robinson all were seriously injured and still struggle today with pain from the injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Robinson "still has recurring nightmares and cannot stand the smell of concrete because he was buried in it," according to the lawsuit. "The sight of steel support beams and concrete terrify him."

The lawsuit accuses Cincinnati-based Messer Construction Company, the site's general contractor, of frequently ordering workers to pour concrete in the rain and freezing cold "knowing this negates concrete's ability to set."

"Messer required this to meet deadlines without regard to the integrity of the structure," the lawsuit says, adding that the January collapse was the result of the weight of wet concrete and the workers, and an inadequate number of bolts securing steel support beams.

Calls to Messer and the casino's owner were not immediately returned Monday.

The lawsuit also accuses other construction firms on the project of inadequately overseeing safety.

Federal safety inspectors who investigated the collapse cited four companies, including Messer, for safety violations, carrying about $37,000 in fines.

Slated to open in the spring, the $400 million Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati is among four casinos approved by Ohio voters in 2009 to generate taxes for the state. Casinos in Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus all opened this year.

The casinos' gross revenues will be taxed at 33 percent, among the highest rates in the country, and will go toward public school districts, cities and counties, the state's gambling commission and law enforcement training, among other programs.
 

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