Comissiong hopeful of Arch Cot settlement
Attorney-at-law David Comissiong is confident that 10 surviving relatives of the five people who perished in the 2007 Arch Cot tragedy will finally get justice. And he is hopeful they could even have their case settled out of court.
Comissiong, along with his colleague Kristin Turton, filed a suit in the Supreme Court on December 12, claiming unspecified damages for bereavement, funeral expenses, guidance, care and companionship.
While parents and siblings of the adult victims Donavere and Cassandra Codrington are involved in the suit, the action is also being taken on behalf of the three surviving children – Doniya, Doniko and Zavier.
“It’s really a tragedy that requires closure and we recall, as well, the national attention that was focused on the Coroner’s inquest over those 14 months,” Comissiong told Barbados TODAY.
“We are very confident in our case. We are particularly bolstered by the contents of the Coroner’s report, the analysis of the evidence that was given at the inquest and the ultimate verdict of the Coroner that this was an ‘avoidable accident’.”
The Codrington couple and three of their children died when their Brittons Hill, St Michael apartment collapsed.
The action is being brought against the Attorney General, as a representative of the Town Planning Department; attorney Lemuel Rawlins, responsible for building the apartment building; Dr Jerry Emtage; and Mahy Ridley Hazzard Engineers Ltd.
Despite his confidence in the case, Comissiong said he was hopeful the matter could be settled out of court.
“If it has to go right through the process of litigation, it would take several years. So we are now beginning what promises to be a long journey but it is my hope that in light of the Coroner’s report and decision and the Coroner’s findings in this matter, that good sense would prevail and that there would be some offer and negotiation of some out-of-court settlement,” he explained.
“I would like to think that is how the matter would unfold but if we have to go through an entire litigation process, we are prepared for the long haul.”
Comissiong said the suit was only now filed because they had to await the completion of the more than year-long Coroner’s inquest.
In addition, he noted, they took some time to process the information contained in the report after which pre-action letters were sent to entities deemed to be responsible.
After receiving only non-committal responses, the attorney said they decided to press ahead with the suit.