By Jenn Boneza
HONOLULU (KHON2) – Putting profit over safety.
That’s what attorney’s said happened in a lawsuit against Ala Moana Center.
Attorney Rick Fried is representing Macroy “Macky” Nagato and the family of Nakoa “Koa” Freitas, the two men who fell when a rusted railing gave-way at the mall.
Fried said the tragedy could have been avoided had Ala Moana Shopping Center, one of the most profitable malls in the world, had taken action and made repairs to rusted railings.
“The reason the railing failed was a support post had almost totally rusted through and at least one of them had totally rusted through,” Fried said.
Fried added that the mall failed to provide a safe environment despite numerous warnings to make needed repairs.
“On October 9th, the Sunday, 2016, Macky Nagato and Koa Freitas were at Ala Moana Shopping Center. Koa leaned against the railing, and without any warning what-so-ever it gave-way. Macky tried to save him, reached for him, grabbed his hand, unfortunately he went over as well,” Fried explained. “Koa fell 3o feet and died…Macky fell 20 feet…to the next level.”
“When Macky fell and hit his head, he sustained critical injuries. He has what is called, hemiparesis on his left side, meaning he has lack of function in his left arm, hand, leg and foot. He has no vision in his right eye and limited vision in his left. He’s had multiple surgeries on his brain to save his life.”
His best friend, Nakoa Freitas died.
“Our investigation concluded that General Growth (the owner of Ala Moana at the time) never did anything regarding this. There were numerous OAC meetings, Owner architect contractor meetings during the demolition of JCPenney. Nor were any repairs made in the next 11 years until the railing fell.”
The lawsuit sites several letters dated 2005 from a contractor to Ala
Moana management, informing them of repairs that should be made.
“They did nothing this entire time to repair the railings or even place safety barriers,” Fried said. “People have to be cognizant of their responsibilities to the public. This is horrific. This is kind of Hawaii’s gathering place. Everyone goes there, locals, tourists. They shouldn’t have to be the least bit concerned about something as simple as leaning against a rail.”
Fried would not confirm how much the lawsuit is asking for but did say it would most likely be eight figures.
Nagato’s medical bill already total 1.5 million dollars.
KHON reached out to Ala Moana for comment, but they have not responded.