Victims of the South Florida condominium collapse that killed 98 people last year reached settlements totaling almost $1 billion with defendants including the developer of an adjacent luxury tower, engineers and a law firm for the condo association.
The massive deal was cobbled together through multiple agreements before a state court hearing Wednesday in Miami, according to Harley S. Tropin, one of the lead plaintiffs’ lawyers who had sued on behalf of survivors and victims’ families. He said he disclosed the settlements in court.
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“We are pleased to have resolved this case with the defendants to get what we think is a very fair recovery to help end the litigation and allow the victims to attain some means of attempting to move forward from this horrific tragedy,” Tropin said in an emailed statement.
The 12-story Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed June 24, triggering multiple lawsuits and prompting state and federal probes. A focus was the development of the Renzo Piano-designed Eighty Seven Park high-rise next door to the Champlain Towers.
The developer of that project, Terra Group LLC, is among almost two dozen settling defendants. The list includes two other firms that worked on the site, DeSimone Consulting Engineers LLC and Stantec Architecture Inc.; A law firm, Becker & Poliakoff PA, which represents the condo association, also settled.
None of the defendants immediately responded to messages seeking comment.
Lawyers for the developer have previously said the project wasn’t responsible for the tragedy, pointing to reports that Champlain Towers South was improperly designed, poorly constructed and inadequately maintained and repaired.
A lawsuit filed in November alleged the luxury project site was sloped so run-off poured into Champlain Towers and undermined the building’s structural integrity, which was also damaged by excavation and pile-driving.
When residents at Champlain Towers raised concerns about the work to the developer, lawyers for Terra Group allegedly offered $200,000 in payments to residents on condition of confidentiality rather than fix the damage, according to the complaint.
Tropin declined to say how much each defendant agreed to pay.
The settlements must be approved by a judge.
(Updates with comment from lawyer for plaintiffs.)