Florida Champlain Towers South housing collapse settlement reached, exceeds $1 billion

Lawyers for the families who lost loved ones in last year’s Florida tower block collapse that killed 98 people reached a $1.02 billion settlement on Friday, offering a quick fix for the family Lawsuits that could have dragged on for years.

The agreement to end the litigation over the Champlain Towers South tragedy has yet to be approved by District Judge Michael Hanzman, but that should only be a formality.

Earlier in court, attorneys announced a tentative agreement that nearly $1 billion would be shared by the families whose relatives died or were injured in the collapse of the 12-story Surfside tower, and parties on both sides of the lawsuit filed one on Friday Application for commitment to a $1.02 billion settlement fund. Additionally, nearly $100 million will be shared by those who lost their property in the collapse.

Victims’ families have to make claims as the money is not shared equally. The goal is to start distributing money by September.

The money comes from multiple sources, including insurance companies, engineering firms, and a luxury condo recently built next door. Neither party admits any wrongdoing. A billionaire developer from Dubai will buy the 1.8-hectare beachfront property for $120 million and contribute to the deal.

The agreement to end the litigation over the Champlain Towers South tragedy has yet to be approved by District Judge Michael Hanzman.
The agreement to end the litigation over the Champlain Towers South tragedy has yet to be approved by District Judge Michael Hanzman.
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, file

The judge will set attorneys’ fees, but it is expected to be a fraction of what attorneys would normally earn. In cases like this, it usually takes three years or more to reach a settlement, let alone a court case.

In their motion for “preliminary approval of the class action settlement,” plaintiffs’ and defendants’ attorneys described the Surfside collapse as a “‘black swan’ event that devastated this community” and said they were “proud of the challenge.” having complied with this court to provide aid to the class of victims ahead of the one-year anniversary of the collapse.”

Most of the Champlain Towers South suddenly collapsed around 1:20 a.m. on June 24 when most residents were asleep. Only three people survived the initial collapse.

No other survivors were found despite the efforts of rescuers, who dug through a 40-foot-tall pile of rubble for two weeks. Another three dozen people were able to escape from the remaining part of the building. All 135 units were eventually demolished, leaving a gaping hole on Surfside Beach.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is investigating the cause of the collapse, a process expected to take years. Champlain South had a long history of maintenance issues and questions were raised about the quality of its original construction and inspections in the early 1980s.

The collapse prompted a new review of the safety of high-rise buildings across the state, particularly in vulnerable coastal areas. At the time, Miami-Dade and neighboring Broward counties were the only ones of Florida’s 67 counties that required buildings to recertify their safety after 40 years.

A large banner highlights the names of the 98 people killed on May 12, 2022 on the grounds of the Champlain Towers South residential building in Surfside, Florida.
A large banner highlights the names of the 98 people killed on May 12, 2022 on the grounds of the Champlain Towers South residential building in Surfside, Florida.
AP

New legislation passed by the Legislature in special session this week and signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis requires these certifications statewide, much earlier in the building’s lifespan.

Recertification is required after 30 years or 25 years if the building is less than 3 miles from shore and every 10 years thereafter. The Champlain Towers South was 40 years old and its homeowners association was struggling with compliance at the time of the collapse.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/27/florida-champlain-towers-south-condo-collapse-settlement-reached-tops-1-billion/ Florida Champlain Towers South housing collapse settlement reached, exceeds $1 billion

JACLYN DIAZ

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