SAN FRANCISCO—The Millennium Tower Homeowner’s Association has hired attorney Dan Petrocelli to file suit against the sinking building’s developers.
Residents of the 58-story high-rise were notified on Monday, February 13, that the Millennium Tower Association hired Dan Petrocelli to represent them in the suit. Petrocelli is best known for winning a $33.5 million wrongful-death civil judgment against O.J. Simpson in 1997 on behalf of the families of Simpson’s slain ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.
He represented President Trump in litigation against former students who sued Trump University, which was settled for $25 million just before he took office. The settlement kept the incoming president from having to testify at a trial, and as part of the deal he did not admit any wrongdoing.
Attorneys for the condo owners have been in mediation talks for months with developer Millennium Partners over stabilizing the San Francisco tower. The building has settled 16 inches, much more than the 4 to 6 inches that project engineers anticipated over the life of the structure. It has tilted 2 inches to the northwest.
The talks have been complicated by disagreements among the two sides over how bad the situation really is. City building inspectors issued a report in January concluding that the tower is safe for occupancy. Some residents say the report overlooked evidence that the settling has caused strain on the building’s foundation and electrical systems.
Lawsuits have been filed by the building’s 419 condo owners against Millennium Partners, the city of San Francisco and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority and the developer of the neighboring Transbay Transit Center. Millennium Partners accuses the authority of contributing to the building’s sinkage by pumping groundwater during the new terminal’s construction, which the authority disputes.
Most of the individual condo owners’ suits have claimed Millennium Partners is guilty of fraud, noting the firm was aware of the sinking before the building opened and failed to disclose it to buyers.
The multi-million dollar tower may require getting money from Millennium Partners’ insurance company to fix the problem, but under law, an insurer can’t be held liable for a client’s [potential] fraud.