Billion dollar settlement reached following Florida building collapse

A nearly $1 billion interim settlement has been reached in a class action lawsuit brought by families of victims and survivors of a Florida building collapse last June, a lawyer has said.

Harley S Tropin announced the $997m (£813m) settlement during a hearing before Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman.

Still pending final approval, the settlement involves insurance companies, developers of an adjacent building and other defendants.

(Lynne Sladky/AP)

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

A key question from the beginning has been how to allocate the money from the sale of the property, the proceeds from the insurance and the damages from the lawsuits between wrongful death cases and property claims.

The 12-story South Champlain Towers in Surfside abruptly collapsed in the early hours of June 24, almost instantly destroying dozens of individual apartments and burying victims under tons of rubble.

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

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

(Lynne Sladky/AP)

The Champlain Towers were in the middle of their 40-year structural overhaul when they partially collapsed.

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

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

Surfside, a town just north of Miami Beach, features a mix of older homes and apartment buildings similar to the collapsed tower, built decades ago for the middle class, and newly erected luxury buildings attracting the rich.

They include former first daughter Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner, who live about a block north of the collapsed building.

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