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TV Tower Collapse Victim’s Family Files Lawsuit

(Image credit: OHSA)

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.—The family of Steve Lemay, who died as a result of a TV tower collapse in Fordland, Mo., in 2018, has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the owners of the tower, Missouri State University Board of Governors (MSU), and Tower Consultants Inc., who was contracted to retrofit the tower as part of the FCC repack.

Lemay and his crew were attempting to reinforce the 1,891-foot TV tower, which broadcasts KOZK Ozarks Public Television, on April 19, 2018. The lawsuit claims that the tower made a strange noise and shortly after collapsed, with Lemay within the tower frame at that time, killing him. No other employees were seriously injured.

The lawsuit is claiming that MSU is liable for maintaining a “dangerous condition” on its property that led to Lemay’s death and is seeking damages to compensate them for Lemay’s pain and suffering, as well as medical, funeral and burial expenses.

Doug Sampson, who the lawsuit says was the project manager, is also being sued.

The lawsuit is primarily relying upon the OHSA investigation report of the collapse, which had two key findings: 1) TCI’s suggested diagonal replacement procedure was flawed in that it compromised the effectiveness of the integrated surrounding braces and the load bearing capacity of the tower legs; and 2) the cause of the communication tower collapse was the weakening of the compressive strength of the tower legs by removing the bolts at the connection of the diagonals to the horizontal redundant.

However, the report also mentions other points that could be used by the defendants in the lawsuit, including that Lemay used an undersized come-a-long while removing the diagonal braces and that he failed to provide the design of the required temporary frame for diagonal replacement above or below a guy level.

More information on the lawsuit is available here