SURFSIDE, Fla. – Survivors and the family of victims killed when a condominium collapsed in Surfside, Florida, in 2021 have reached a tentative settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit.
On June 24, 2021, a portion of the Champlain Towers South building collapsed, killing 98 people aged 1 to 92.
The settlement was reached between survivors, the family of the victims killed, and two defendants: Morabito Consultants, the insurers who represent the engineering firm responsible for inspecting and certifying the building’s structural integrity, and Becker & Poliakoff P.A., which represents the condo association, CNN reported. The settlements agreed to were $16 million and $31 million, while a third defendant, DeSimone Consulting Engineers, the structural engineers for a neighboring condo, agreed to settle for $8.55 million, CNN reported.
The DeSimone settlement marks the first settlement with the defendants associated with a nearby construction project that the plaintiffs have blamed for the collapse, The Miami Herald reported. The developers of the condo have denied that the construction had anything to do with the tragedy.
The settlement agreement will create a “common fund” to compensate condominium owners for the destroyed property, and in exchange, the unit owners’ liability for injury and wrongful death would be waived, WPLG reported.
“Upon acceptance of their proportionate share of the $83 million common fund, surviving unit owners will leave this case with no further liability except to any tenant or guest who may have occupied their particular unit at the time of collapse,” the judge presiding over the case wrote, according to WPLG.
The $83 million fund is broken down into $50 million that will be taken from the first $100 million to be recovered, and $33 million to be paid from money collected over $100 million, WPLG reported.
In a statement, Becker & Poliakoff reiterated their denial of responsibility for the collapse despite the settlement, saying, “It is important to note that the cause of the collapse has yet to be identified and we continue to believe that culpable parties should be held accountable,” CNN reported.
Similarly, Morabito issued a statement saying they too were not responsible for the collapse, but that they agreed to the settlement to offer families compensation “so that they may focus on healing,” CNN reported.