FAMILIES of those affected in the deadly condo collapse in Florida will be receiving at least $150 million in compensation after a judge ruled a class action suit in their favor.
Those affected by the Champlain Towers building collapse in June will be paid millions of dollars first from insurance and then from the sale of the building's property.
Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman ruled that any survivors, visitors and families of those who died in the Surfside building will be eligible for the funds.
Hanzman ruled that the owners of the original 12-story building will owe the families of at least 97 people who were killed in the collapse – and over 100 families whose apartments were left in the rubble.
The sum does not include funds that would be paid due to a growing number of lawsuits that have been filed since the June 24 collapse, where the building has stood for just 40 years.
All the suits are being filed into a single class-action lawsuit, Hanzman said.
“The court’s concern has always been the victims here,” he said. “Their rights will be protected.”
Attorney Michael Goldberg will act as a receiver to handle the building's cash during a multi-agency investigation into the property.
Goldberg said the property is clear of debris and any rubble that is considered evidence will be sent to a warehouse in Miami.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is leading the federal review of the case.
Attorneys and engineers are waiting until the institute grants them the okay to carry on with their own investigation as they await to go through 22 million tons of rubble.
“It may take years for their report to become public,” Goldberg said.
Since the collapse and subsequent rescue effort, only 95 of the 97 bodies have been identified.
The property, which is worth about $100 million, is being contested by residents and authorities alike.
Some would like the building to be rebuilt so they can move back onto the property.
Others want it to become a park and memorial for those who lost their lives.
“I personally would never set foot in a building. That’s a gravesite,” owner Raysa Rodriguez said during the hearing.
“I wake up in the middle of the night thinking of everyone who perished.”
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