Suit filed by parents of man killed in trench

October 13, 1993|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Staff Writer

The parents of a Crofton man killed two years ago when he was buried alive at a construction site filed a $52 million suit yesterday in Circuit Court, alleging that negligence by county inspectors and the project's developer's contributed to their son's death.

Joan and Carl Para, of the 1700 block of Reading St. in Crofton, claim the county, the Enterprise Washington Corp. of Dover, Del. and the Richards Group of Washington, based in Chantilly, Va., should have taken more stringent precautions to protect workers because of the unstable soils at the Crofton Meadows housing development.

Brian Para, 21, an apprentice laborer, was killed March 19, 1991, when a sewer trench collapsed while he was working for a subcontractor building homes at the site.

The suit alleges that the defendants should have known that the soil at the site was "exceedingly sandy and unstable," and that anyone performing an excavation work "would be exposed to the grave risk of personal injury and/or death."

Spokesmen for the defendants said they hadn't seen the 31-page suit and could not comment on it.

Mr. Para's death led to stiffer fines for violations of state laws regarding safety at construction sites.

The subcontractor who had hired Mr. Para, Ronald Razzano, 41, of Bowie, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr. Jan. 12.

He was given probation before judgment on condition that he pay a $500 fine, complete three years probation and perform 100 hours of community service that included speaking publicly to contractors about the accident.

Razzano was in charge of safety for the firm of Razzano and Fohner Inc., of Davidsonville, which hired Mr. Para to help dig sewer and water lines along the 2300 block of Putnam Lane in Crofton Meadows, where the accident occurred.

Mr. Para was in a 12-foot trench at the site of the housing project about 11 a.m. when it collapsed.

County prosecutors later said the trench was being dug in violation of state safety standards requiring that unearthed dirt be piled 18 feet from the trench, according to prosecutors. The dirt pile from the trench was only 6 feet away.

The Maryland Occupational Safety and Health program fined Razzano and Fohner Inc. $16,950.

New regulations allow MOSH to fine companies up to $70,000 for such violations.

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