Judge orders Apartments Downtown to pay millions in death of worker

Photo by John via Flickr

The manager of Apartments Downtown, Inc., Iowa City’s biggest apartment rental company, was ordered to pay $5.6 million on Tuesday, after a jury found him responsible in the death of one of the company’s maintenance workers in 2016.

As first reported by Ryan Foley of the Associated Press, on Monday a jury found Jeffery Clark was “grossly negligent” in the April 2014 death of Bronson Ganka. Ganka died after falling from a ladder while installing an awning in downtown Iowa City.

The jury found Clark was 80 percent responsible for the unsafe working conditions that led to Ganka’s death, and awarded Ganka’s widow and three children $7 million in damages. The judge reduced that amount on Tuesday.

Apartments Downtown was also fined by the Iowa Occupational Safety and Health Administration after Ganka’s death for a variety of safety violations. The company appealed the fine, but eventually settled the case and paid the state $5,250.

Apartments Downtown, Inc., which operates as both Apartments Downtown and Apartments Near Campus, is owned by the Clark family and is the city’s largest apartment landlord.