First lawsuit filed in Miami bridge collapse filed by bicyclist knocked down by car


A bicyclist who claims he was hurt in last week’s deadly bridge collapse in Miami filed the first civil lawsuit Monday in the case, accusing builders of reckless negligence.

Marquise Hepburn, 24, is suing various design and engineering companies involved, including Munilla Construction Management and partner FIGG Bridge Engineers.

Hepburn was biking to work Thursday afternoon just as the 950-ton span buckled onto busy Southwest Eighth Street, his attorney, Matt Morgan, said at a news conference. A car veered into Hepburn’s path to avoid being entrapped, he added, knocking him off of his bicycle and leaving him caught amid the rubble.

Morgan did not detail Hepburn’s injuries, but said he was hospitalized and is now on a variety of medication.

“He remains in a bad way and he’s recovering,” Morgan said.

Hepburn is seeking damages in excess of $15,000, although Morgan estimated lawsuits could top $1 billion in claims.

This initial suit in Miami-Dade Circuit Court comes as investigators work to unravel what caused the tragedy — and follows the revelation that a FIGG engineer working on the bridge warned state officials two days earlier that he had seen cracks in the concrete structure.

The warning was left in a voicemail that was only heard Friday because the recipient of the call had been out of the office on assignment, the Florida Department of Transportation said.

Related: Police believe all victims found in Florida bridge collapse

MCM and FIGG did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the lawsuit, but have previously said they are working with investigators.

Six people died and eight people were injured in the collapse, according to officials.

Morgan said his client’s case hinges on what officials knew about the span’s integrity and “why were vehicles allowed to travel underneath that bridge if the bridge might have been in a vulnerable state?”

The section of walkway was dropped into place March 10, but wasn’t scheduled to open until 2019, when it would have connected Florida International University with the town of Sweetwater.

The university did not design or build the bridge, but awarded the contract as part of a federal transportation grant.


Recovery operations continue Saturday morning, March 17, 2018, at the site of the Florida International University-Sweetwater University bridge in the Miami area that collapsed during construction earlier in the week.