Preliminary settlement in deadly Florida condo meltdown lawsuit totals nearly $1 billion

A nearly US$1 billion interim settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors of a condominium collapse last June in Surfside, Florida, a said a lawyer on Wednesday.

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

Earlier this year, Hanzman approved an $83 million settlement to compensate people who suffered economic losses such as condominium units and personal property. A key question from the beginning has been how to allocate the money from the sale of the property, the proceeds from the insurance and the damages from the lawsuits between wrongful death cases and property claims.

The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium abruptly collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24, 2021, almost instantly destroying dozens of individual condo units and burying the victims under tons of rubble. Rescuers spent weeks carefully digging up mountains of concrete, first to find survivors and then to recover the remains of those who died.

A total of 98 people were killed, including 4 Canadians.

WATCH | The condominium building in Florida had structural problems and needed repairs:

Evidence of structural problems before deadly Miami condo collapse

There is evidence of structural problems at a Miami-area condominium building before it collapsed as the search through the rubble enters a sixth day. 1:52

The main lawsuit, filed on behalf of the victims and family members of the South Champlain Towers, alleges that work on the adjacent Eighty Seven Park tower damaged and destabilized the Champlain Towers building, which was in dire need of structural repairs. majors. The Champlain Towers were in the middle of their 40-year structural overhaul when they partially collapsed.

The collapse has sparked lawsuits from victims, families and condo owners as well as state and federal investigations. In December, a Florida grand jury issued a long list of recommendations aimed at preventing another condominium collapse, including earlier and more frequent inspections and better sealing.

The condominium building was located in Surfside, a town just north of Miami Beach. The little-known enclave features a mix of older homes and condos similar to the collapsed tower, built decades ago for the middle class, and newly erected luxury condos appealing to the wealthy.