Saturday, 2:15 PM
Manslaughter case to continue against Big Dig epoxy company
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff
The manslaughter case will continue against the New York epoxy company that allegedly played a role in the Big Dig ceiling collapse that killed a woman last year.
A Superior Court judge, in a decision filed today, rejected a bid by Powers Fasteners Inc. to get the charges dismissed.
Powers is facing the only criminal charges brought in the accident that killed 38-year-old Milena Del Valle. The company had argued that Attorney General Martha Coakley should not have gotten involved in the prosecution because her office had previously launched a civil case seeking millions in damages for the ceiling cave-in from Powers and other companies.
But Suffolk Superior Court Judge Patrick F. Brady said the attorney general's office was acting properly and was "authorized to conduct the civil and criminal cases at the same time."
"Powers has not shown that there is any conflict or other reason to disqualify the office. ... When the attorney general represents the Commonwealth in parallel criminal and civil cases, she represents the same public interest in both, without the dangers that come with the concurrent representation of a private party," the judge wrote in the eight-page decision.
Del Valle was killed in July 2006 when the concrete ceiling in an Interstate 90 connector tunnel fell and crushed the car she riding in. Federal investigators concluded the accident was caused by faulty ceiling bolt epoxy that was used to hold ceiling panels in place. Powers is one of more than a dozen companies and agencies involved in the design, construction, and inspection of the ceiling.
Powers allegedly failed to warn construction contractors and project managers of the potentially fatal consequences of using a fast-drying glue to secure the ceiling.
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