Ceiling collapse in French Quarter apartment leads family to seek damages from Louisiana State Museum

By Chelsea Partington | Jul 16, 2014

NEW ORLEANS – A family is suing the Louisiana State Museum for its alleged role in the collapse and lengthy repair of a ceiling in a French Quarter apartment.

Alan Fisher, Liudmila Bykov, David Bykov and Kirill Bykov filed suit against The Louisiana State Museum, the State of Louisiana through the Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism, the Office of State Museums, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance and the W.R. Irby Trust in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on May 23.

The plaintiffs claim that on Jan. 18, 2013 they entered into a yearly residential lease to rent 503 St. Ann Street, Floor 2 in New Orleans. Fisher and the Bykovs assert that on May 25, 2013, a plaster ceiling collapsed in the apartment making the space uninhabitable. The suit states that the ceiling completely dropped in a short time, damaging or destroying all the furnishings in that room. The plaintiffs claim that they had no choice but to vacate the premises due to safety concerns.

Prior to the ceiling’s collapse, the plaintiffs had raised concerns about its condition, the suit says. Fisher and the Bykovs allege that no efforts were made to fortify the structure.
The family contests that the damage and resulting repair work affected them for almost 12 months. The complaint states that Fisher and the Bykovs had to store their remaining property and find temporary lodgings, though they intended to return to their home of 17 years.

The plaintiffs further assert that the apartment’s renovation and repair took longer than necessary as a result of the defendant’s alleged negligence in their obligation to restore the property in a timely manner. As a result of this alleged disregard, Fisher and the Bykovs claim that they have endured significant financial consequences.

The defendants are accused of negligence with respect to the preservation, maintenance, restoration, and renovation of the historic ceiling. Additionally, the defendants are accused of violating the plaintiff's warranty of habitability and forcing the tenants to pay rent even when the apartment was uninhabitable.

The plaintiffs are seeking an unknown amount in damages for all property damaged or destroyed and all costs associated with the plaintiff's move from the apartment including storage of the plaintiff's belongings. The plaintiffs are also seeking reparations for loss of use and enjoyment of the property, in addition to compensation for pain, suffering and emotional distress.

Fisher, Bykova, Bykov and Bykov are being represented by Edward Ready of Ready Law LLC.

The case has been assigned to District H Pro Tempore Judge Val P. Exnicios.

Case no. 2014-05123.

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