Surfside Collapse Victims Reach $997M Settlement

The victims of the Champlain Towers South condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida have secured $997 million in proposed settlements it was announced Wednesday, ending the consolidated claims against all but one defendant in the tragic 2021 structural failure.

Surfside VictimsPhoto Credit: Shutterstock

The deal was announced during a hearing in Miami before Eleventh Judicial Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, bringing closure to the victims of the catastrophic building collapse that killed 98 people on June 24, 2021.

“We will be done, they will be done, and the money will be distributed,” an attorney for the plaintiffs said. “These victims will get some measure of relief.”

The sole remaining defendant is GeoSonics Inc., the company that provided vibration monitoring services for Eighty Seven Park, the luxury residential tower next door to Champlain Towers South. The plaintiffs claimed that construction of the tower, completed in 2019, destabilized their own building and ultimately contributed to the collapse. Attorneys are reportedly negotiating with GeoSonics and hope to reach a deal in the near future.

Judge Hanzman stated he was “at a loss for words.”

“The result that has been achieved in this case and the speed with which it has been achieved is beyond extraordinary,” the judge continued. “If the right people were not running this case, this could have turned into a decade-long slog.”

The lofty $997 million figure includes several settlements that had already been announced, like deals with the condominium association’s law firm and the engineering firm that had inspected the building in 2018 as part of its required 40-year certification process.

Judge Hanzman ordered that the settlement agreements be filed with the court within a week and plans to hold a final fairness hearing sometime in mid- to late June. He stated his goal is to have the global settlement approved and the case concluded by the anniversary of the collapse on June 24.

The receivership will secure all proceeds from the settlement, and then begin the process of evaluating claims from victims and their families and disbursing funds. On Wednesday, Judge Hanzman said he hopes to have checks out to victims by fall and stressed to the attorneys that he does not want the claims process to be overly complicated or burdensome.

“I’m looking for reasonableness, not perfection,” he said. “I don’t want victims to be overtaxed.”

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