Who is to blame for wall fall that injured boy?

Eyewitness News Exclusive
January 11, 2008 3:16:20 PM PST
On Thursday, we told you about a little boy whose leg was amputated after a wall fell on him. But now, questions linger about whether that wall could have been a safety hazard for years.

So who is responsible? Who is responsible for an 11-year-old boy who doesn't have a leg?

He is a little boy who is having a tough time, both physically and psychologically.

Phil Lipof continues his exclusive story.

That is the big question. Who is responsible for this horrible accident?

Damion Rosa's family has hired an attorney, who is suing several people. So now, as this little boy tries desperately to recover, the blame game begins.

Rosa lives in a virtual world, in which he is constantly playing video games. There, he can run and jump. But in reality, those abilities were violently taken from him on July 1.

While walking to his grandmother's house down the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, a parapet wall, along with a good portion of a building, crashed down on him. He was buried under a pile of bricks and rusted metal. He was rescued and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. His left leg had to be amputated.

After all that trauma, Damion has shut down. He won't talk about that day, not to us, his doctors or even his own mother.

"I have to speak to speak for Damion, because Damion can't and won't speak," attorney Maxine Susseles said.

Susseles is the Rosa family attorney.

She has filed lawsuits against a number of people, including the Jacob Alan Corp., which owns the building, and Gerald Lieblich, who is president of RTR funding group, which owns the Russian Tea Room.

"Lieblich is a bridge through all of the parties that have been named in this lawsuit," Susseles said.

Lieblich's attorney says, "Mr. Lieblich has not had any interest in the Jacob Alan Corp. for a number of years. And, like all New Yorkers, Lieblich's hopes and prayers go out to Damion Rosa."

Eyewitness News found mortgage documents for the building filed with New York City back in November of 2001. At the time, Lieblich was vice president of Rusi Holding Corp., also named in the suit. Rusi sold the building to Jacob Alan in 2003.

In 2001, New York Community Bank specified that several repairs be made to the building. Among them was to repair the bell tile coping on the roof brick parapet walls.

"I can't speak to whatever proof they have or they don't have," Susseles said. "The one thing I can tell you is that walls just don't fall down."

The Department of Buildings issued violations to Jacob Alan Corp. immediately after the wall collapsed. The reason was for failure to maintain exterior building wall.

So now, there will be a legal fight.

Everyone wants to know if the wall was an accident waiting to happen? Was it ever fixed? And who's responsible for it?

For Damion, the only fight he's concerned with is the battle to feel whole again. And for an 11-year-old boy, that fight is not easily won.

So will this case go to trial? Or will it be settled out of court? That is still up in the air.


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