Surfside condo collapse: Judge approves billion-dollar settlement 1 year after 98 people were killed

The judge’s decision finalizes an interim settlement that was reached last month between multiple parties and prevents the claims from going to trial. The settlement amount will be awarded to survivors, families of deceased victims and owners of damaged property.

The collapse of most of the Champlain Towers South building on June 24, 2021 suddenly transformed what was once a thriving residential building into a devastating scene as residents were crushed or trapped under a huge pile of twisted metal and concrete.

It took search and recovery teams a month to find and identify the 98 victims, aged 1 to 92. The tragedy deeply affected a close-knit Jewish community in South Florida and affected families around the world, including in Argentina, Paraguay and Colombia. In some cases, entire families have been killed.

An emotional scene unfolded in the Miami courtroom on Thursday as Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman presided over a three-hour settlement hearing, according to attorney Rachel Furst. plaintiffs, who described the proceedings as “remarkable and moving”.

In addition to the affected families, parties involved in the settlement include the Condominium Association, the City of Surfside, and engineering, architectural and other firms involved in the development and maintenance of the property and neighboring developments.

The finalized deal reflects the full amount of money available to the victims, including insurance claim payments and the anticipated multimillion-dollar land sale of the property where the tower once stood. Families of victims will now be able to submit claim forms to receive compensation from the settlement fund.

What will happen to the Surfside building collapse site?

During the hearing, at least three plaintiffs in the class action came out in favor of the settlement – a parent whose child was killed, the spouse of a victim who died in the collapse and a person whose home was destroyed, Furst said.

When the tentative agreement was reached last month, Hanzman hailed the speed with which it was reached as “beyond extraordinary.”

“We are delighted to offer this recovery to the victims, which we believe is extremely meaningful and a great step forward in bringing an end to this horrific tragedy,” said Harley Tropin, one of the lead attorneys. plaintiffs, to CNN when the tentative agreement was reached. announcement.

In March, Hanzman approved a separate settlement for condo owners whose homes were destroyed, later bringing the total payout in May to $96 million.

CNN’s Chuck Johnston, Jamiel Lynch and Jaide Timm-Garcia contributed to this report.

Leave a Comment