Class action lawsuit filed over Baltimore bridge collapse

WASHINGTON— A couple with a family business in Baltimore has presented a demand collective action against the Singaporean companies that own and manage the Dali container ship that caused the collapse of a bridge essential to the American economy, according to court documents.

A month later, the “Dalí” remains under the rubble of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in this city on the east coast of the United States, blocking part of maritime transport in one of the busiest ports in the country.

A first cargo ship stranded in Baltimore Harbor since the March 26 collapse departed Thursday through a new 106-meter-long, 19-meter-wide temporary channel opened the same day, the fourth operated since the catastrophe.

Karen and Charles Austin allege that the accident caused them significant loss of income at their company American Publishing, in a class-action lawsuit filed Thursday in federal court in Maryland, where Baltimore is located.

They complain against Grace Ocean and Synergy Marine, respectively the companies that own and manage the ship.

The pair are acting on behalf of themselves and others “in the same situation,” citing “tens of thousands of companies, individuals and other entities” likely to join this class action lawsuit.

They denounce “the flagrant and potentially criminal negligence” of the owner and manager of the “Dali”, which according to them “was not seaworthy.”

“Prior to the bridge's destruction, plaintiffs' business was thriving,” they say, reporting an 84% drop in revenue in April 2024 compared to the same period in 2023.

Six Latin American workers who were repairing potholes on the bridge road when the ship collided with it have been reported missing. The bodies of four of them were found.