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Family Sues Over Philadelphia Building Collapse Death

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — The first wrongful-death lawsuit over a Philadelphia building collapse has been filed by the family of an art school graduate killed inside a thrift store.

The June collapse obliterated the Salvation Army store and killed 24-year-old Mary Lea Simpson, of Haverford, and five others.

The family’s lawsuit Tuesday faults the Salvation Army, adjacent building owner Richard Basciano and demolition contractors. Simpson was shopping when an unsupported brick wall from the adjacent building collapsed onto the store.

Salvation Army lawyer Eric Weiss says Basciano and his contractors never disclosed plans to use heavy equipment during demolition.

Simpson family lawyer Steven Wigrizer says Basciano has a pattern of negligent behavior dating back to a 1997 garage accident that killed a city judge walking on a sidewalk.

Basciano’s lawyer, Thomas Sprague, declined to comment.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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