The owners of a Folsom apartment complex that was the site of a deadly stairwell collapse in 2015 that killed a Cal Poly graduate student settled with the victim’s family for an undisclosed amount Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court.
San Francisco-based Gerson Bakar and Associates, owners of The Legends at Willow Creek, was days away from a wrongful death jury trial when the firm reached the agreement with the parents of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo graduate student Shun Xiang Yuan, who was killed in the collapse.
Terms of the settlement are confidential, said court officials Wednesday.
Yuan was 26 in July 2015 when he and friends stopped by a friend’s third-floor apartment at the complex on their way to a water park outing.
As Yuan descended the staircase at the complex’s Building 8, the structure collapsed, plunging him 30 feet to the ground, rubble falling on top of him.
His friends escaped injury but Yuan was trapped underneath the pile and died a short time later.
Folsom officials determined the 2015 collapse happened after support bolts pulled away from the deteriorating wooden staircase, causing the structure to crumble under Yuan’s feet.
The staircase collapse was the second in as many years at the 208-unit South Lexington Drive complex. A stairwell at the building adjacent to the 2015 collapse failed a year earlier. No one was hurt in the 2014 collapse at the complex’s Building 7.
But Alexander and Yuan’s parents Qixing Yuan and Yulin Ye alleged years of dry rot and foot-dragging fatally compromised the stairway and that the 2014 failure should have sounded the alarm to other potential dangers.
“The 2014 stairway collapse provided defendants with specific knowledge that the stairways existed in a dangerous and unsafe condition for the tenants and their guests accessing them,” plaintiff’s attorney Mary Alexander stated in the civil complaint. “Yet, defendants let the dangerous and unsafe stairway in Building 8 remain a ticking time bomb.”