The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to accept a $400,000 settlement in the lawsuit the city brought against the developer of the Da Vinci Apartments complex, much of which burned to the ground in a massive arson fire in December 2014.
The amount was much less than the original $20 million that was sought in the negligence lawsuit against the developer Geoffrey H. Palmer and his company, GH Palmer Associates.
City Attorney Mike Feuer said at the time the lawsuit was filed that his office was seeking compensation for the damage to city property from the fire, which was estimated at $50 million to $60 million by Mayor Eric Garcetti.
“We’re pleased that beyond the nearly $62 million paid by the insurance carrier, the city recovered $400,000 from the developer,” said Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for Feuer.
The lawsuit claimed Palmer failed to have an adequate fire protection plan at the complex at 900 W. Temple St. and failed to install fire walls or doors.
The lawsuit also claimed Palmer failed to have appropriate water supplies on hand for fire suppression or security measures in place to prevent people from getting onto the property.
“We’re fighting to fully compensate the city’s taxpayers for losses we allege could have been avoided had this massive building incorporated key safety measures and been better constructed,” Feuer said in 2016 when he announced the filing of the lawsuit.
Palmer did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
The overnight fire on Dec. 8, 2014, caused $20 million to $30 million in damage to the 1.3 million-square-foot complex, which was largely in the framing stage, according to the fire department.
At least two-thirds of the structure collapsed during the fire, which also damaged two nearby office towers owned by the city.
Dawud Abdulwali, 56, was arrested in May 2015 on suspicion of setting the blaze. He pleaded no contest to a single felony count of arson of a structure in April and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
–City News Service
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