Victims of Florida building collapse set to receive an almost billion dollar settlement

US News

Families and victims of a devastating apartment block collapse are set to receive an almost billion dollar settlement.

The class action lawsuit came after the 12-storey block in the Florida town of Surfside suddenly sank towards the ground in the early hours on 24 June last year, almost instantly destroying dozens of individual apartments and burying victims under tons of rubble.

Rescuers spent weeks carefully digging through mountains of concrete, first to find survivors and later to recover the remains of those who died. A total of 98 people were killed.

The main lawsuit, filed on behalf of Champlain Towers South victims and family members, contended that work on the adjacent Eighty Seven Park tower damaged and destabilised the Champlain Towers building, which was in dire need of major structural repair.

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Champlain Towers was in the middle of its 40-year structural review when it partially crumbled to the ground.

The collapse triggered lawsuits from victims, families and apartment owners as well as state and federal investigations.

And on Wednesday, at a hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman, it was announced the settlement could be $997 million (£813 million).

More on Florida

It is still pending final approval.

Famous residents

Earlier this year, Judge Hanzman approved an $83 million (£67 million) settlement to compensate people who suffered economic losses such as destroyed condominium units and personal property.

In December, a Florida grand jury issued a lengthy list of recommendations aimed at preventing another collapse, including earlier and more frequent inspections and better waterproofing.

Read more:
Report warned of structural damage three years earlier

Surfside, a town just north of Miami Beach, comprises a mix of older homes and apartment blocks similar to the collapsed tower, built decades ago, as well as recently erected luxury blocks.

Famous residents include former first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who live near to the collapsed building.

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