On Wednesday, Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman was informed that a $997 million settlement had been reached between the plaintiffs and the defendants of the lawsuit that resulted after the collapse of a condo in Surfside, in Miami-Dade County. The class-action lawsuit had been brought by the families of the victims as well as the survivors after the oceanfront 12-storied Champlain Towers South condominium in Florida suddenly collapsed on June 24, 2021, killing almost a hundred people and injuring many.
Harley S. Tropin announced that a $997 million settlement had been reached in a hearing before Judge Hanzman. The settlement is pending final approval. It involves several defendants including insurance companies, developers of a building adjacent to the condo and others.
The developers of the adjacent property Eighty-Seven Park project said that they contributed to the settlement to resolve claims and avoid expensive and inconvenient litigation. They did not admit any liability nor did they recognize the validity of the plaintiffs’ claims.
Judge Hanzman said that he was “shocked” by the result and that thought that it was “fantastic.” He added that it was a recovery that was “far in excess” of what he had anticipated. Earlier in the year, the Miami Circuit Court Judge had approved an $83 million settlement. How and where a settlement would be distributed among the victims’ families and the survivors has been a vexing question from the beginning of the lawsuit and has to be resolved.
In the early hours of June 24, 2021, the 12-story condominium partially collapsed at around 1.15 a.m. Authorities said that approximately 55 units of the 136 units in Champlain Towers were destroyed. Ninety eight victims died. They included young children and the elderly including both long term residents of the buildings as well as tourists who were temporarily residing at the oceanfront property.
The Champlain Towers was built in 1981. It was undergoing county-mandated inspection before it collapsed. Miami-Dade County inspected over 500 buildings after the condo collapse.
Attorney Michael Goldberg is a court-appointed receiver who would oversee the payouts. Judge Hanzman wants the whole settlement to be finalized by June 24, the first anniversary of the condo collapse. He wants the payouts to be made by fall 2022.