The first of many anticipated lawsuits has been filed against Shuckers Bar and Grill over the June 13 collapse of the Miami restaurant’s outdoor deck. The suit was filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court by a couple that was injured when the porch collapsed into Biscayne Bay as guests enjoyed a viewing of the NBA Finals.
In the 14-page complaint, filed by Reynaldo Reyes and Flavia Guisella Ellemberger, the victims claim that Shuckers had, “a duty to properly maintain its property and to warn of dangerous conditions which it had actual or constructive knowledge of… and should have taken action to remedy it.”
On the day of the collapse, the couple and a child were seated on the wooden deck of Shuckers, which extended over 25 feet above the water, along with about 90 other people. As they were sitting and enjoying their food, the deck suddenly gave way, plunging guests into the water.
The victims say that they both suffered injuries, disfigurement and mental anguish; they also claim that the incident aggravated previously existing conditions and that their injuries necessitated hospital treatments, nursing and caused them a loss of income.
According to North Bay Village Building Official Raul Rodriguez, a visual inspection of the collapsed deck showed that supporting concrete had disintegrated around corroded steel pilings beneath the deck. The building’s last inspection occurred in January, when the establishment was cleared by Rodriguez, despite the fact that state-licensed engineer Steven Jawitz never inspected the deck portion of the property.
Since the troublesome inspection report has been brought to the public’s attention, Rodriguez has claimed that he just assumed the porch had been inspected because the building code requires that all structures on the property be inspected after 40 years. The deck had been in place since the 1960s, if not earlier, according to Miami-Dade County officials, meaning it was well overdue for a structural inspection.