Evidence Sought in|Fatal Balcony Collapse

     BERKELEY, Calif. (CN) – The company that built the apartment balcony that collapsed in Berkeley two weeks ago, killing six people, sued Alameda County to try to preserve evidence.
     Anticipating litigation, Segue Construction wants the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office restrained from destroying, removing or testing evidence unless Segue is invited.
     A balcony at 2020 Kittredge St. collapsed on June 16, killing six people and injuring seven.
     Segue says that “destructive testing” on at least three other balconies has been conducted, during which “evidence may have been altered and, in some cases, irreparably damaged.” It was allowed only a brief glance at one of those balconies, Segue says.
     Segue was the general contractor for the apartment complex.
     The San Francisco Chronicle reported this week that Segue, of Pleasanton, “oversaw projects in which legal settlements over construction defects totaled $26.5 million in the past three years.”
     The newspaper said that Contractors State License Board was unaware of the cases, and that state law did not require Segue to report the cases to the board.
     State Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, who chairs the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee, sponsored legislation four years ago to allow plaintiffs to report legal settlements to the contractors board “that would otherwise be cloaked from disclosure under secrecy agreements.”
     “The bill passed, but Hill couldn’t persuade colleagues to make such reporting a requirement,” according to the Chronicle.
     Segue Construction and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office both declined to comment Wednesday.

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