Pianist crushed in Allston restaurant facade collapse sues building owner, property manager

BOSTON (WHDH) - An aspiring concert pianist who became buried under tons of concrete when the façade and parapet of the Common Ground in Allston suddenly collapsed last year is suing the restaurant, the building owner, and the property manager.

Attorneys representing 23-year-old Sonya Bandouil and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Alex Pankiewicz, filed a lawsuit alleging several counts of negligence on the part of Moss Realty LLP, owner of the building, Myer Dana and Sons, Inc., the company under contract to manage and maintain the building, and Badoinkas, Inc., the tenant of the building which operates the street-level eatery.

Bandouil, a classically-trained concert pianist and teacher, was walking with Pankiewicz on Nov. 4, 2018, when chunks of concrete came crashing down on Harvard Avenue sidewalk.

“Moss Realty failed, over a period of many years, properly to inspect the façade and parapet of the property and maintain it in a structurally sound and safe condition,” a lawsuit filed by the Kreindler law firm alleges.

Pankiewicz, who was also injured, worked with other pedestrians after the collapse to dig Bandouil out from the rubble.

Bandouil suffered several life-threatening injuries, including multiple fractures of the skull, spine, ribs, pelvis, foot, leg, collarbone and jaw, in addition to a hand injury that required the amputation of a finger on her dominant hand.

“This horrific building collapse onto a public sidewalk should never have happened,” attorney Anthony Tarricone said in a press release. “Debris from the collapse shows that the concrete parapet hanging over the sidewalk was in a seriously deteriorated condition for years.  It was just a matter of time before it would crumble and collapse, with tons of large concrete blocks falling onto the public sidewalk along the length of the building—unfortunately—while Sonya and Alex were there.  Commercial building owners and managers are responsible for maintaining buildings in a safe condition and ensuring that those who pass by or enter the premises are not put in harm’s way by the dangerously deficient structural integrity of the building.”

Bandouil was taken to Brigham & Women’s Hospital, where she spent 12 days in the intensive care ward. She was then transferred to the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital system for another 65 days.

“The problem of crumbling buildings and the hazards they present in Boston and throughout the nation is substantial,” attorney Muhammad Aziz added. “Building owners and operators are under a duty to the public to ensure that catastrophic failures like this do not occur. An aspiring pianist’s career has been stolen from her, and this young couple is no doubt traumatized for life.”

The law firm says Bandouil is now living with her parents and undergoing a rigorous course of rehabilitation therapy multiple times a week.

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