US company claims that the Berkeley victims may have contributed to balcony collapse
Six students lost their lives in the tragedy in California last June.
A company being sued over the deaths of six young people - including five Irish students - in Berkeley, California last June is claiming that the victims may have played some part in their own deaths.
R Brothers Waterproofing is among a number of companies being sued by the families of those who died and those who were injured when a balcony collapsed at a 21st birthday party in the early hours of 16 June, 2015.
According to Conor Lally in The Irish Times, the company has filed papers denying responsibility to a lead case by the family of Aoife Beary - one of the students injured in the fall - and other survivors.
“The plaintiffs and/or cross-complainants’ own carelessness and negligence may have proximately contributed to the events and damages complained of, if any, and such bars of proportionately reduces any potential recovery to the complaint or cross-complaint," the company states under the heading of 'comparative negligence' in its defence document.
R Brothers Waterproofing also alleges that the "plaintiffs or parties may have altered the product involved – the balcony and materials it comprised of – or improperly used or maintained it."
Olivia Burke, Eoghan Culligan, Lorcán Miller, Niccolai (Nick) Schuster and Eimear Walsh, all 21 years old, and Olivia's cousin Ashley Donohoe (22) all died in the tragedy.
Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Sean Fahey,Conor Flynn, Jack Halpin, Niall Murray and Hannah Waters were all injured.
R Brothers Waterproofing also claim that they were denied the opportunity to inspect evidence, and also that the damage was “caused by irresistible forces of nature that no one could reasonably anticipate and which could not have been prevented by the exercise of reasonable prudence."