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Out-of-Court Settlement Reached in Store Collapse Lawsuits

February 20, 1990

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (AP) _ Relatives of 13 people killed and 32 people injured in the collapse of a department store will share a $33.1 million out-of-court settlement of lawsuits reached Monday, attorneys said.

The lawsuits were filed over the July 7, 1988, collapse of a three-floor Amigo Store during a torrential thunderstorm in this border town. Many of the injured were from Matamoros, Mexico, just across the Rio Grande.

A 14th person was killed, but relatives did not sue.

Lawyer John Lewis, who represented some of the relatives and injured, said a plaintiffs’ committee of several attorneys reached the agreement Monday with the last of nine defendants.

Others who were injured reached independent settlements, said another of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Mark Cantu.

The settlement came with Amigo Stores Inc., Brownsville’s Public Utilities Board, the city of Brownsville and several construction companies and materials suppliers, Cantu said.

The defendants’ insurance companies have committed to paying varying amounts, depending on the percentage of liability attributed to them, Cantu said. Individual amounts range from $100,000 to $10 million, he said..

Attorneys for the defendants were not in their offices late Monday and could not be reached for comment.

The effort to free those trapped in the rubble following the collapse included hundreds of rescuers from throughout the lower Rio Grande Valley and Mexico and other parts of the United States.

The store site has been converted into a parking lot.

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