DALLAS — A Dallas jury this week awarded $860 million to the family and estate of Kiersten Smith, who died in June 2019 when a crane collapsed on the Elan City Lights apartment complex in Old East Dallas.
The crane collapsed during a powerful storm. Wind gusts measuring as high as 71 mph blew out the windows of high-rise buildings and tore trees apart, taking power and telephone lines with them, especially in Dallas and its northern suburbs.
The lawsuit claimed that the real estate developer, Greystar, and the crane owner, Bigge Crane and Rigging, were negligent. The jury only found Greystar at fault for the collapse.
Smith, 29, was pronounced dead at a hospital, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiners’ office, after the construction crane smashed into the five-story building near downtown. The crane destroyed many apartments at the Elan City Lights complex and reduced parts of an adjacent parking garage to a pile of concrete and mangled cars.
Five other people were injured and hospitalized.
Attorneys argued that the crane had been left in a rigid position during the storm and had not been allowed to “weather vane,” that is, point into the wind, like other cranes in Dallas that survived the windstorm.
Smith was a resident of the apartment building.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.