From the Vault: Chris Messerly's Role In Getting the 35-W Bridge Memorial Built

MN-2011-After-the-Collapse-Chris-Messerly-large.jpgIn downtown Minneapolis there is a memorial near the site of the 35W bridge collapse that took the lives of 13 people and injured 145 in 2007. It's there in large part to the work of Chris Messerly of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. Messerly was brought in after the collapse to help lead a 17-firm pro bono relief effort for 112 people  harmed by the disaster. In May 2008, the state set up a $36.64 million fund for victims, which pleased Messerly, but he went for more, pressing the companies that were assigned to assess the safety of the bridge for answers and compensation. From our piece that appeared in Minnesota Super Lawyers:

The case culminated on a hot Saturday in August 2010 with a settlement conference in downtown Minneapolis. At the last minute, Messerly decided to up the ante, asking for an extra $1.5 million. Surprised, Judge Deborah Hedlund asked why he was raising his demand. "I said, here's why: 'We just passed the third anniversary of the bridge collapse, and no one has built the memorial," says Messerly. "I had called the mayor the week before and said, 'Mayor, I can't make any promises, but what kind of check would I have to give you to build this thing?'" And so, an extra $1.5 million was included in the $52.4 million URS Corp. agreed to pay that day. "That's a very important thing for closure for the people on the bridge," Messerly says.

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