A judge approved a settlement of more than $1billion for those affected by a Florida beachfront condominium that killed 98 people when it collapsed almost a year ago to date.
The roughly $1.02 billion settlement will be split between surviving families, those who suffered injuries and the 136 condo owners.
In a Miami court room Thursday, Judge Michael Hanzman applauded the outcome. The decision was made a day before the one-year anniversary of the Champlain Towers South collapse in the suburb of Surfside.
‘It will never be enough to compensate them for the tragic loss they have suffered,’ the judge said. ‘This settlement is the best we can do. It’s a remarkable result. It is extraordinary.’
The judge praised the dozens of lawyers involved in the case for avoiding what could have been years of litigation with no sure outcome.
Hanzman said the case was the most complicated he had seen in his 35-year career, and praised the dozens of lawyers involved for avoiding a trial, noting that it could have lasted years and that ‘these victims and families would have had to suffer through that and endure this trauma over and over and over again.’
While most of the settlement will go to those who lost family members in the disaster, about $100million was set aside for legal fees as well as $96million for the owners of condos.
Families of those who died and residents with injury and trauma claims will split nearly $1billion paid by 20 defendants, including a residential high-rise recently built next door and the security company that managed the condo tower.
An official cause for why the building collapsed has not yet been determined, though residents have said there were noticeable signs of damage and disrepair long before it fell.
On Thursday, a day before the one-year mark of the building’s collapse, First Lady Jill Biden made the trip to Surfside, Florida to deliver remarks for a memorial event honoring the lives lost in the tragedy.
This is a breaking news story, check back for updates…