According to an attorney close to the matter, a tentative settlement amounting to nearly $1 billion has been reached in a class-action lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors of last June’s condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida.
Harley S. Tropin announced Wednesday, the $997 million settlement during a hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman. Still pending final approval, the settlement involves developers of an adjacent building, insurance companies, and other defendants.
The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium partially collapsed in the early-morning hours of June 24, almost instantly destroying dozens of individual condo units and burying victims under tons of rubble.
Rescuers spent weeks carefully digging through mountains of concrete, first to find survivors and later to recover the remains of those who died. Ten days after the initial collapse, demolition crews used explosives to bring down the remaining portion of the building to give searchers access to additional areas where survivors might have been located. A total of 98 people were killed.
The lawsuit filed by relatives proceeded further in October when a coalition of engineers and architects said the state of Florida should consider requiring high-rise buildings near the coast to undergo safety inspections every 20 years. And in December, a Florida grand jury issued a lengthy list of recommendations aimed at preventing another condominium collapse, including earlier and more frequent inspections and better waterproofing.
The main lawsuit, filed on behalf of Champlain Towers South victims and family members, contends that work on the adjacent Eighty Seven Park tower damaged and destabilized the Champlain Towers building, which was in need of major structural repair. Champlain Towers was in the midst of its 40-year structural review when it partially crumbled to the ground.