Stemmer Construction suing crane manufacturer for deadly collapse

Stemmer sues manufacturer

The owner of a crane that collapsed downtown Kelowna in 2021 killing five people is blaming the crane manufacturer for the tragedy.

Stemmer Construction and Enterprises filed a lawsuit Tuesday against three divisions of the Liebherr Corporation, alleging that the crane that collapsed during dismantling contained a “dangerous defect.”

The lawsuit contains no details of the defect and comes a day before the two-year anniversary of the collapse and statute of limitations for filing a civil lawsuit.

A flurry of at least five other lawsuits from those impacted by the collapse were also filed this week, right under that deadline. One of those lawsuits also names Liebherr as a defendant alongside Stemmer, while the others have focused on Stemmer and lead developer Mission Group.

“In breach of the duty, the Liebherr Companies designed, manufactured, sold and distributed the tower crane and the manuals, which contained a dangerous defect that led to the accident,” the Stemmer lawsuit alleges.

“The accident was caused by the negligence of the defendants.”

WorkSafeBC is withholding its report into the cause of the crane collapse in an effort to not compromise the criminal negligence investigation still in the hands of police.

The Stemmer lawsuit, which also names five John Does and four unnamed companies, will keep the company’s options for litigation open should the investigations reveal a crane defect.

The lawsuit’s allegations have been untested in court. As an international company, Liebherr has 49 days to files a response to the claims.

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