John Edwards firm representing families in scaffolding accident

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The accident happened in the 500 block of Fayetteville Street (WTVD)

The law firm of former presidential candidate John Edwards is representing the families of three men killed in a Raleigh construction accident in their lawsuit against the companies involved.

Anderson Almeida, 33, Jose Lopez-Ramirez, 33, and Jose Hernandez, 4l, all died when scaffolding at a high rise project they were working on in downtown Raleigh collapsed on March 23, 2015.

The lawsuit filed in Durham County Superior Court Thursday alleges the scaffolding wasn't put up correctly, not attached to the building properly, and overloaded.

The four companies named in the suit are Durham-based Associated Scaffolding, the general contractor for the Charter Square building project Choate Construction, Klimer Platforms Ltd., and Klimer Platforms Inc. both of which provided the equipment.

The lawsuit outlines how Almeida and his supervisor Elmer Guevara were dismantling a single tower Klimer mast scaffold on the south side of the building. Lopez-Ramirez and Hernandez were set to install glass panels in the building once the tie-ins holding the tower to the building were removed. When the scaffolding failed, it sent the three workers 100 feet to the street below. The supervisor, Guevara, was badly injured when he landed on a portable bathroom.

The lawsuit states the other three workers 'endured conscious pain and suffering,' and died of their injuries.

"This is a tragedy that never should have occurred," said Edwards in a news release announcing the lawsuit Thursday.

"This has been devastating for this family," said Chuk Umerah, a Fayetteville lawyer, who also represents the family of Lopez-Ramirez.

Associated Scaffolding was one of three companies the state Department of Labor fined back in September for violating OSHA standards. The other two companies were not named in the lawsuit.

No trial date has been set.

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