Surfside condo collapse survivors reach nearly $1 billion settlement
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Survivors of the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, have reached an almost $1 billion tentative settlement, attorneys confirmed to CBS News Wednesday. The settlement is still subject to court approval but was made in record time due to an expedited schedule, attorneys added.
On June 24, Surfside will mark the one-year anniversary of the fatal collapse of Champlain Towers South that took the lives of 98 residents and left hundreds more without homes or belongings. Once it is finalized by the courts and all parties, Wednesday’s class-action lawsuit settlement will go to the families of victims who perished in the collapse, as well as to survivors of the collapse.
Attorney Harley Tropin called the $997 million settlement an extraordinary result that exceeded his expectation, adding that cases this large usually take five to six years, but the expedited track pushed for by the judge allowed for a quick resolution.
One more party could possibly sign on to the class action settlement by Friday, according to attorney Eric Hockman, which would bring the settlement to a sum past $1 billion.
One of the worst building collapses in American history, the Surfside condo collapse is still being investigated by the National Institute for Standards and Technology. While the investigation is expected to continue for at least another year, a lawsuit filed by Surfside residents claims the building was in need of repairs and was weakened by construction of Eighty Seven Park, a luxury condominium being built next door.
The defendants associated with Eighty Seven Park denied any negligence or wrongdoing, the Associated Press reported. In March, plaintiffs settled the suit, with a judge ruling those who lost property in the collapse would divide an $83 million settlement between themselves.
On Monday, the Miami Herald won a Pulitzer Prize for its work covering the Surfside collapse.
“As a newsroom, we poured our hearts into the breaking news and the ongoing daily coverage, and subsequent investigative coverage, of the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse story,” the Miami Herald’s executive editor, Monica Richardson, said in a statement to the Associated Press. “It was our story to tell because the people and the families in Surfside who were impacted by this unthinkable tragedy are a part of our community.”