Surfside Condo Collapse Lawsuit: Latest Settlement Brings $55.5 Million in Damages
An additional $55.5 million will be paid to plaintiffs in the Surfside condominium collapse lawsuits. This week, three new defendants were added to the lawsuit’s pre-trial settlement pool: the law firm and engineer consulting firm for Champlain Towers South Condo Association as well as the structural engineers for Eighty Seven Park.
This marks the first settlement from any defendants of the suit connected to the Eighty Seven Park building, a luxury development next to the collapsed Champlain Towers South. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs’ attorneys are arguing that Eighty Seven Park’s development was instrumental in contributing to the collapse of Champlain Towers South.
First of Eighty Seven Park Defendants to Settle
In a class-action filing, plaintiffs are seeking to hold multiple entities with the Eighty Seven Park development responsible for negligence, per the Miami Herald. These defendants include:
- The building’s condo association (8701 Collins Condominium Association)
- Architects (Santec)
- Engineers (Florida Civil and DeSimone)
- Vibration consulting firms (Geosonics)
- Developers (Terra Group)
Among the defendants connected to the Eighty Seven Park building, DeSimone is the first to settle. The structural engineering firm contributed $8.55 million to this most recent $55.5 million settlement round.
While attorneys for the plaintiffs acknowledge there were pre-existing problems with the Champlain Towers South building, they argue that the construction at Eighty Seven Park exacerbated these issues—and pushed a vulnerable building towards collapse (Insurance Journal).
Previous Settlements and Funds for Surfside Plaintiffs
This most recent settlement round is not the first to be received by plaintiffs in the suit. At this stage, funds and settlements already total close to $226 million. Additional funds have come from:
- $50 million in insurance recovery from the condo association of Champlain Towers South (CTS)
- $120 million from the sale of the CTS property
As the first trial date for the case is set for March 23, additional settlements or jury verdicts are still possible in the future.
New Florida Laws Work to Address Safety Dangers in Condo Buildings
Directly following the Surfside condo collapse in 2021, lawmakers began considering changes to Florida condo laws that would improve building safety.
Just this week, the Florida Senate unanimously passed House Bill 7069, which was approved in an earlier version by the Florida House of Representatives in February (Tampa Bay Times). Among many goals, the new laws will now require:
- More regular building inspections: Condominiums must now pass structural safety inspections after 30 years, then every 10 years thereafter. Buildings that are close to the coast—within three miles—will need to pass inspection even earlier, after 25 years.
- Planning for necessary repairs: Condo associations will now be expected to plan for the cost of repairs, regularly assessing their reserves. The Surfside collapse resulted in part from neglected building maintenance, which some attribute to the owners’ limited budgets for repairs.
- Disclosure of important documents: The new law says that potential buyers, condo owners, and government entities must receive more information about the building’s condition and inspections.
Get Legal Help if You Are Facing Safety Concerns in Your Building
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