Five Long Years Finally Delivers Compensation to All Victims of Massive Apartment Complex Fire in West Philadelphia after $4.75 Million Settlement

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More than 100 victims of the catastrophic Windermere Court apartment building fire have all received full compensation for their property damage and other losses.

Having lost almost everything they had...they’re finally getting back that peace of mind.

This anniversary was bittersweet for the former residents of the Windermere Court Apartments in West Philadelphia. It was five years ago to the day, last Sunday, that the large four-story apartment complex was razed to the ground after a disastrous fire that spread across the 90-unit property. But there was a silver lining: the more than 100 victims of the catastrophic West Philadelphia apartment fire have all received full compensation for their property damage and other losses, according to their class action lawyer, Thomas More Marrone of MoreMarrone LLC in Philadelphia.

According to court documents, the owners of the Windermere Court Apartments agreed to a $4.75 million settlement after several days into the class action trial held before Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Mary Colins. The court approved the settlement in January of 2015. In terms of the numbers, the average class member recovery was over $25,000, representing 110% of the average property damage claim even after deducting court-approved counsel fees in the non-fee-shifting case.

The class action lawsuit in Philadelphia, according to court documents, accused the building owners of failing to prevent the tragedy that took place on January 10, 2011. It took approximately 140 firefighters more than 11 hours to extinguish the blaze. The residents were left homeless and without any possessions except the clothes on their backs.

Throughout 2015, based on court documents, Marrone and a class administration team from Angeion Group, working with court-approved expert insurance adjuster William Underkoffler, determined each class member’s damages, and issued settlement checks. By year-end, every eligible class member received a settlement check for more than 100% of his or her property loss claims after payment of legal fees – a rare, if not unprecedented, result.

The lawyer for the former residents, attorney Tom Marrone, summed up the difficult situation saying, “These wonderful people put their faith in me and I could not let them down. I am so happy that this win has made them whole. More importantly, after waiting almost five years and having lost almost everything they had — including their peace of mind — they’re finally getting back that peace of mind.”

Though it took nearly four years for the case to be brought in front of a jury, the proposed settlement was reached just four days into a civil trial, as per court documents. “The plaintiffs were overjoyed, with some crying in the court hallway after hearing the news,” Marrone said.

According to court documents, by the time the trial commenced, five law firms were representing the defendants, but just one lawyer -- veteran trial lawyer Tom Marrone -- represented the class. Marrone was the sole class counsel for the plaintiff class, and alone tried the case for the class. "As the saying goes, the bigger they are…” said Marrone, adding, "It's a sweet feeling to have gotten the class members what they deserved. I'd be lying if I told you otherwise."

The Windermere settlement was listed as one of the Top Pennsylvania Settlements of 2014 by the Legal Intelligencer’s Top PA Verdicts of 2014, published by ALM Media, LLC. Other coverage of this story can be found on the Philly.com and Law360.com.

The case is Schall et al v. Windermere Court Apartments et al, case number 110201248 in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.

About Thomas More Marrone and MoreMarrone LLC

MoreMarrone LLC has handled cases producing some of the largest verdicts and settlements in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The firm represents plaintiffs in significant personal injury, class action, and other complex civil litigation. After a recent 11-month stretch that included two class action jury trials resulting in a settlement and verdict amounting to well over $15 million in addition to several substantial personal injury recoveries, successful business and employment negotiations, and hundreds of satisfied clients, Tom Marrone established his multifaceted firm, MoreMarrone LLC.

Licensed to practice in the State and Federal courts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, Tom Marrone has extensive experience and proven success handling difficult, complex cases, especially class actions and collective actions, cases involving personal injury, employment, wage and hour claims, insurance matters, product liability, consumer protection, consumer fraud, deceptive practices, legal malpractice, and wrongful use of civil proceedings.

Individual and corporate clients also engage MoreMarrone LLC for advisory services, including legal matters, crisis prevention and crisis management. A veteran class action trial lawyer, Tom Marrone also offers consultations with other attorneys and law firms related to class action and complex litigation theory development, implementation, and trial strategy.

Contact:

Tom Marrone
MoreMarrone LLC
1601 Market Street, Suite 2500
Philadelphia, PA 19103
tom(at)moremarrone.com
215-966-4142
http://www.moremarrone.com

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