Fire-deposed tenants get OK for class-action suit vs. owners

Posted: February 08, 2013

TWO YEARS after a monstrous blaze tore through a West Philadelphia apartment building, leaving hundreds homeless, the tenants have been given approval by Common Pleas Court to file a class-action lawsuit against the building's owners.

It took 140 firefighters to extinguish the five-alarm blaze that engulfed the four-story Windermere Court apartments, on 48th street near Walnut, in January 2011.

The tenants are seeking monetary compensation for damages, claiming that the building's owners, brothers David, Sam and Aron Ginsberg, of Keystone Management Group, were negligent by failing to install a functioning fire-alarm and sprinkler system.

The suit, filed in May 2011, names former tenants Theodore Schall and John Brendan Farley as plaintiffs. They are claiming more than $50,000 and $17,000 in property damage, respectively. The suit now will include all tenants. A judge Wednesday approved the class action.

"These people lost everything," said Thomas More Marrone, the tenants' attorney. "These are really good people who are from other countries, students . . . they shouldn't have to go through this to get some compensation."

Keystone Management didn't respond to requests for comment.

- Jan Ransom

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