Judge approves $1B+ deal in class-action lawsuit for Surfside, Florida Champlain Towers condo collapse

SURFSIDE, Florida – A judge gave final approval Thursday to a $ 1 billion settlement for the victims of the collapse of a Florida offshore condominium that killed 98 people, one of the deadliest building damage in U.S. history.

The video presented is from a previous report.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman’s decision came a day before the one-year anniversary of the Champlain Towers South disaster in Miami’s Surfside suburb. The judge praised the dozens of lawyers involved in avoiding what could have been years of litigation without a definite outcome for the victims.

“It will never be enough to compensate them for the tragic loss they suffered,” the judge said. “This settlement is the best we can do. It is a remarkable result. It is excellent.”

The agreement creates a $ 1.02 billion fund for people who lost family members in the collapse of the 12-story building, as well as those who suffered physical or mental injuries. Lawyers say another $ 200 million is available from the Champlain Towers apartment association itself, including insurance.

About $ 100 million is for legal fees – that number will be finalized in September – and $ 96 million is for owners who lost one of the building’s 136 units based on their estimated value. They range from more expensive four-bedroom units with ocean views to smaller ones with just one bedroom.

The process of determining the value of the claims for the 98 deaths and possible injuries will be completed by August 26, Hanzman said. Anyone who submits a claim by the July 18 deadline has the right to a private hearing before a judge, but this is not required.

The point will be to understand how much a life or an injury is worth. Claims for loss of life usually involve a number of factors and could include, for example, the possibility of making a living for the deceased.

“My goal is to really make it as painless as possible,” Hanzman said.

No victims have objected to the settlement or decided to be expelled, said court-appointed recipient Michael Goldberg. Several people who lost family members or property told the court on Thursday that they were grateful for such a quick end to a horrific experience.

Raysa Rodriguez, who survived the collapse of a ninth-floor unit that initially remained intact, had nothing but praise for the result.

“You have no idea what a relief this is for me personally,” Rodriguez said. “I’m so exhausted. I just want this to happen. I want these souls to rest.”

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The ruling came during a so-called fair hearing, in which anyone with objections to the deal could raise it as the judge determined whether the settlement was “fair, reasonable and adequate”, according to court documents.

The money comes from 37 different sources, including insurance companies, engineering companies and a luxury condominium whose recent construction is suspected of contributing to Champlain Towers South structural damage. None of the parties admits any wrongdoing.

A billionaire developer from Dubai is set to buy the 1.8-acre (1-hectare) offshore site for $ 120 million, contributing to the settlement. This transaction is expected to be completed by the end of July.

People could start receiving checks for their losses in September, the judge said.

Champlain Towers South has a long history of maintenance problems and questions have been raised about the quality of its original construction and inspections in the early 1980s. Other possible factors include rising sea levels caused by climate change and damage. caused by the inflow of salt water.

The final conclusion about the cause is probably years away. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is leading federal research into the crash, recently said that invasive testing would soon begin on material samples from the crash site.

The tests will help researchers find possible defects in the building’s structural elements by looking at things like the density of the materials, how porous they were and if there was corrosion, NIST said.

Florida will require re-certification of three-story condominiums across the state under new legislation signed by Republican Gov. Ron DeSadis in law last month in response to the disaster.

The death toll in the Champlain Towers crash ranks among the highest in U.S. history among similar disasters. In 1981 the collapse of the Hyatt Regency pedestrian killed 114 people and a disaster in a Massachusetts mill in 1860 killed between 88 and 145 workers.

Copyright © 2022 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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Judge approves $1B+ deal in class-action lawsuit for Surfside, Florida Champlain Towers condo collapse Source link Judge approves $1B+ deal in class-action lawsuit for Surfside, Florida Champlain Towers condo collapse

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