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Family wants $600,000 settlement over death at Allen Benedict Court apartments

Derrick Roper, 30, was found dead in his unit at the Allen Benedict Court Apartments in January.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The family of a man who died of carbon monoxide poisoning at a Columbia public housing complex is offering to end a wrongful death lawsuit against the city's housing agency in exchange for a monetary settlement. 

Online records show that the representative for the estate of Derrick Roper said they'll stop their legal battle if the Columbia Housing Authority agrees to a $600,000 payment. If accepted, the family would agree not to make any further legal claims against the authority. 

RELATED: 'He's bleeding out the ears': 911 calls at Allen Benedict Court reveal pleas for help

Roper, 30, was found dead in his unit at the J Building at the Allen Benedict Court Apartments on January 17, 2019. A man who lived in a nearby unit, 61-year-old Calvin Witherspoon Jr., also died.

RELATED: Two new lawsuits filed over death, injury at Allen Benedict Court apartments

The coroner's office concluded the men both died of carbon monoxide poisoning.  A letter sent by the Columbia Fire Department a day after the men's deaths outlined a a series of code violations the fire department discovered at the complex, including a presence of natural gas and carbon monoxide described as "severe and lethal" detected in several units.

The entire complex had to be abandoned, displacing 411 people. 

In the lawsuit, Roper's lawyers claimed the Housing Authority knew or should have known about the potentially toxic conditions found on the property. The suits said gas, carbon monoxide, and cyanide were leaking into units, and yet nothing was done.  

In their offer, Roper's estate said they are giving the authority 20 days to accept it, or it will be considered rejected. They also said they reserve the right to withdraw the offer. 

Other lawsuits against the Housing Authority regarding the conditions at the units are still pending. 


In our investigation, we've uncovered previous maintenance problems in the units at Allen Benedict Court, that showed there were concerns about the units well before January 17th. We have a mountain of documents related to the case, as well as interviews with residents, and we continue to present new information each day.

You can see more into our probe below: 

RELATED: Four years of Allen Benedict Court inspection reports released

RELATED: DEEP DIVE: Work orders highlight potentially life-threatening problems at Allen Benedict Court

RELATED: Deep Dive: Work orders for deceased resident's apartment

RELATED: History of issues at Allen Benedict Court Apartments

RELATED: Allen Benedict Court records show possible lack in maintenance

RELATED: Incident report reveals possible source of CO in Allen Benedict Court deaths

RELATED: 'Maybe they care, maybe they don't' Columbia Housing resident speaks out about maintenance issues

RELATED: EMS radio recordings describe moments after man was found in his apartment at Allen Benedict Court

RELATED: Fire Department: At least 7 calls for 'suspicious odors' in 2018 at Allen Benedict Court

RELATED: Allen Benedict Court work orders show history of maintenance issues at deceased resident's apartment

RELATED: 'It takes a toll': Allen Benedict mother, daughter adapting to new normal

RELATED: 'I was in the belly of Hell': ex-Allen Benedict Court resident describes living there

RELATED: Previous work orders show gas leak issues at Allen Benedict Court


There have also been multiple lawsuits filed in connection to the case. You can see our coverage of those below.

RELATED: First lawsuit filed against Columbia Housing Authority director, commission chair

RELATED: Lawsuit alleges Allen Benedict Court Resident suffered from 'gas poisoning' well before evacuations

RELATED: Two new lawsuits filed over death, injury at Allen Benedict Court apartments

RELATED: 'Grossly negligent': 1st lawsuit filed over conditions at Allen Benedict Court Apartments