May 16, 2022

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Lawyers: a preliminary settlement of about a billion dollars in the collapse of an apartment

Lawyers: a preliminary settlement of about a billion dollars in the collapse of an apartment

St. PETERSBURG, Florida (AP) – A preliminary settlement of nearly $1 billion has been reached in a class-action lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors of last June’s apartment complex collapse in Surfside, Florida.a lawyer said on Wednesday.

Harley S. Tropin announced a $997 million settlement during a hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman. Still awaiting final approval, the settlement includes the developers of an adjacent building, insurers and other defendants.

“I think it’s pretty cool,” Hansmann said in response to the update from the attorneys. “This is a recovery far beyond what I expected.”

Earlier this year, Hansmann agreed to a settlement of $83 million To compensate people who have suffered economic losses such as housing units and personal property. The main question from the start was how to allocate money from the sale of property and insurance proceeds and damages from lawsuits between wrongful death cases and property claims.

The 12-storey Champlain Towers South partially collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24, almost instantly destroying dozens of individual housing units and burying victims under tons of rubble. Rescuers spent weeks carefully digging through mountains of concrete, first to find survivors and later to retrieve the remains of those who had died.. Ten days after the initial collapse, demolition crews used explosives to demolish the rest of the building To give researchers access to additional areas where survivors may have been. A total of 98 people were killed.

The tragedy in the town of Surfside, just north of Miami Beach, has sparked lawsuits from victims, families and apartment owners, and prompted state and federal investigations. In October, a coalition of engineers and architects He said Florida should consider requiring tall buildings near the coast to undergo safety checks every 20 years. And in December, the Florida grand jury issued a long list of recommendations It aims to prevent the collapse of other condominiums, including early and frequent inspections and improving waterproofing.

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At the time of the collapse, Miami-Dade and Broward were the only counties of the 67 counties in the state that had condominium rehabilitation programs.

The main lawsuit, filed on behalf of the Champlain Towers South victims and family members, maintains that work on the adjacent Eighty Seven Park tower caused the destruction and destabilization of the Champlain Towers building, which was in need of significant structural repair. Champlain Towers was in the midst of a 40-year structural review when it partially collapsed to the ground.

A video released by a team of federal investigators showed evidence of severe erosion and overcrowding in the building’s concrete reinforcements.

Seven months after the collapse, temporary structural supports were added to areas in the underground garage of the sister tower of the South Champlain Towers, the North Champlain Towers, in what the Apartment Council called the building “an abundance of caution.” The apartment was built in 1981 and has an almost identical layout as the Champlain Towers South.

The little-known enclave of Surfside consists of a mixture of old, crumbling tower-like homes and apartments, built decades ago for the middle class, and recently built luxury apartments that attract the wealthy. They include former first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, who live in a residential neighborhood north of the collapsed apartment. The residents of South Champlain Towers were an international mix: South American immigrants, Orthodox Jews, and foreign retirees.


This story has been corrected to show Circuit Court Judge Michael Hansmann said he was shocked by the settlement, not Harley S. Tropin.

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