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Settlement reached in Big Dig death lawsuit

The family of a woman killed when a Big Dig tunnel ceiling collapsed has reached a settlement of $28 million with 15 entities named in a wrongful death lawsuit.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The family of a woman killed when a Big Dig tunnel ceiling collapsed has settled a wrongful death lawsuit for more than $28 million, attorneys told The Associated Press.

The settlement was announced Tuesday night by attorneys for the husband and three adult children of Milena Del Valle, who was killed in July 2006 when part of a tunnel ceiling collapsed on her car.

The main defendants in the lawsuit included companies that worked on the Big Dig — Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, Modern Continental Co., Gannett Fleming Inc.— and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.

Brad Henry, an attorney for Del Valle's children, said the settlement resolves claims against all 15 defendants. It includes an earlier announcement from Powers Fasteners Inc., that it was paying $6 million.

Del Valle, 39, of Boston, was fatally crushed under 26 tons of concrete when ceiling panels collapsed and fell on the car she was riding in with her husband, Angel Del Valle.

The National Transportation Safety Board said in a 2007 report that the wrong type of epoxy was used. The report spread blame among Big Dig project manager Bechtel/Parsons Brinckerhoff, construction contractor Modern Continental, designer Gannett Fleming and Powers Fasteners, the firm that supplied the epoxy.

Gannett Fleming and BPP were criticized for failing to identify potential creep in the epoxy bolts. Modern Continental and BPP were faulted for failing to monitor the bolts after several of them began to creep out of the ceiling in 1999.