Fri, 09 Jun 2023

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida: - A nearly $1 billion settlement has been agreed upon in a lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors of the June 2021 collapse of a condominium building in Surfside, Florida.

Attorneys announced during a hearing in Miami that a $997 million settlement had been reached. The settlement is to be paid by developers of an adjacent building, insurance companies and other defendants.

"I think it's fantastic," Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman said, after receiving reports from attorneys. "This is a recovery that is far in excess of what I had anticipated," he told the Associated Press.

Earlier in 2022, Hanzman approved an $83 million settlement to compensate those who suffered economic losses, including apartments and personal property.

Left unresolved at that time was how to distribute money to be received from from the property's sale, insurance proceeds and judgments against the condominium association for wrongful death cases and property claims.

The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium in-part collapsed on June 24, destroying dozens of apartments and burying victims under tons of rubble. It took weeks of careful digging for the bodies of the victims to be retrieved.

Located in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, the collapse resulted in state and federal investigations. In October, a group of engineers and architects said Florida should require high-rise buildings near the coast to undergo structural inspections every 20 years.

The largest lawsuit claimed that construction of a nearby building damaged and destabilized the Champlain Towers building, which had already been in need of major structural repair.

The town of Surfside includes older homes and condos similar to the collapsed tower, built in the 1980s for middle-class tenants.

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