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Lawsuit: Company failed to inspect San Diego building before death of window washer

Edi Guadalupe Medina died on January 26, 2022 after his scaffolding dropped from the 12th floor.

SAN DIEGO — The family of a man who fell from the 12th floor of a newly build homeless housing building in East Village and died says the builders and the city ignored safety checks in a mad dash to open a new 407-unit homeless housing complex, resulting in his death.

Edi Canedo was washing windows on January 26, 2022, at The Villas, a 14-story building located next to Father Joe's Village that was set to open the following days. 

Crews that week, according to the lawsuit obtained by CBS 8, had been scrambling to get everything ready for the official ribbon cutting featuring Mayor Todd Gloria and County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher as well as leaders from many local homeless organizations.

On January 26, Canedo entered the building's single-person window-washing cart that was part of a state-of-the-art monorail window-washing system. While cleaning windows on the twelfth floor Canedo guided the cart toward the end of the monorail track. The track, according to the lawsuit, was installed without a stopper at the end. Canedo's cart rolled off of the guide. 

Canedo, still inside the cart, dropped 12-stories onto the sidewalk to his death. 

Photo from lawsuit of location where Canedo fell

 Among the defendants included are affordable housing developer, Chelsea Investment as well as the lead construction firm on the project, Level 10.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the safety administration, CAL OSHA, found 5 "serious violations" during its investigation into Canedo's death. The Department of Labor issued the company $81,000 in fines. The investigation remains open.

Credit: https://www.osha.gov/pls/imis/establishment.inspection_detail?id=1574729.015
Screenshot of OSHA's investigation into the fall

Attorneys for Canedo's two young children and his widow say their clients want justice for their father and want to make sure no other family has to go through the same.

“They want to ensure that this never happens to another window washer, and never happens to another family," says Evan Willis, an attorney with the Richards Willis Law Firm. "And, that Mr. Canedo’s memory and sacrifice to the building of the St. Teresa de Calcutta Villas will never be forgotten.” 

Willis says the companies failed to do even basic inspections to make sure Canedo and others were safe.

 "[These companies] put their desire to celebrate their mega-million dollar project during a February 10, 2022 “Blue Ribbon” cutting ceremony, ahead of the safety of the workers who sweat and toiled to build this complex, including Edi Canedo," added Willis.

Photo taken from window-washing trolley

CBS 8 reached out to Level 10 as well as Chelsea Investments for comment but has not received a response. The article will be updated if and when they do respond with a statement.


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