ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando-based lawyer announced Monday afternoon that he has filed the first lawsuit in connection with the bridge collapse near Miami last week that left six people dead and at least nine others injured.
Matt Morgan, of Morgan and Morgan, announced that his firm is representing Marquise Hepburn in a civil suit filed Monday morning out of Miami-Dade County.
Morgan said his client was riding his bike to work when the bridge failed, causing a vehicle that veered to get out of the way of the collapse to hit Hepburn, throwing him from his bicycle.
Hepburn suffered spinal injuries during the incident and is still recovering, the attorney said.
He has since been discharged from the hospital.
In a press conference held Monday afternoon, Morgan said there were a number of factors his firm plans to dig into, as the collapse is under investigation.
Morgan said that since the collapse, he has heard of a voicemail in which someone reported seeing a crack in the bridge. He also mentioned that he has heard reports of a meeting that took place to discuss the reported crack, and that he plans to look into the validity of those reports.
Sen. Marco Rubio has also mentioned that work was being done on the bridge prior to its collapse. Morgan said he plans to look farther into that factor, as well.
Morgan said that in any construction project, he believes there must always be a factor of safety over efficiency. He said his plan would hold any entity that might be responsible for the collapse accountable.
The attorney said his firm, as of now, is only represents Hepburn and his family, but added that he would be open to assisting others who need representation.
In what Morgan said was the type of case that could potentially go on for years, he believes monetary claims could amount to up to $1 billion.
Also on Monday, students returning from spring break to Florida International University held a moment of silence to honor the victims killed by the collapse of the pedestrian bridge, which was supposed to be a campus showcase.
The Miami university held the ceremony at 1:47 p.m. Monday, the same time the bridge fell on Thursday, as the first step in healing the community.
Officials said 8th Street remains closed as an investigation into the collapse continues.
A vigil for the victims also is planned for Wednesday.