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MIAMI — A Florida judge has approved a $1.2 billion settlement for unit owners and families of those who died in a condo tower collapse in Surfside last year. It was finalized a day before the anniversary of the disaster in which 98 people died.
In a Miami courtroom on Thursday, Judge Michael Hanzman called it a “remarkable” result. The victims, the families of the deceased, numerous defendants and their insurance companies were able to agree on an amicable settlement in the year following the collapse of the condominium tower on June 24, 2021.
Hanzman thanked the dozens of attorneys involved in the case, which he said was the most complicated he had seen in his 35-year career. The judge said it avoided the need for a trial that could have lasted a decade. He said: “These victims and their families should have endured this and endured this trauma over and over and over again.”
Justice Hanzman says it is remarkable that no victim or family of those who died chose to opt out and not participate in the settlement.
The attorneys praised Hanzman for his dedication and determination to push all parties for a speedy resolution. The victims and family members of the deceased also thanked the judge. Eileen Rosenberg, whose daughter Malky was killed in the collapse, said Hanzman had “put himself in our shoes (and) reflected our pain and our tears”.
Owners of condominium units will share the proceeds from the sale of the land where the Champlain Towers South building was located, which is expected to total $96 million. Families of those who died and residents with injury and trauma claims will share nearly $1 billion in compensation paid by 20 defendants. They include a recently built residential high-rise next door and the security company that managed the condo tower’s security systems.