Lawyers involved in the catastrophic Florida condo collapse that awarded $70M+ in fees
In the wake of a $1.1 billion settlement for victims of the catastrophic collapse of a beachside Florida condo complex last year, attorneys involved in the case were granted over $70 million in fees.
A judge awarded attorneys more than $70 million on Monday for their work in securing a $1.1 billion settlement in the fatal collapse of a coastal Florida condominium complex last year.
Initially, there were no assurances that the 17 legal companies would ever be compensated after the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building on June 24, 2021, which killed 98 people. The figure was less than the nearly $100 million the attorneys with those firms had demanded.
According to Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, those who lost loved ones as well as others who just lost units and property received significantly more compensation than is normal in such huge class-action cases, and the lawsuit was settled in less than a year.
However, the judge ruled that requesting the whole $100,000,000 in legal fees was excessive. He mentioned that the attorneys engaged in the Champlain Towers case didn’t get paid up front and that the quick settlement meant fewer hours spent on the case.
Even if they recognize the miraculous conclusion, some survivors have questioned whether the increased amount is too generous given the enormity of the disaster.
There are a total of 37 parties contributing to the settlement: insurance companies, engineering firms, and the developers of a luxury condo next door whose work is suspected of having contributed to structural damage at Champlain Towers South. No one is taking responsibility for their actions here.
To help pay for the compromise, a millionaire developer from Dubai paid $120 million for a 1.8-acre (1-hectare) beachfront plot. The future of the site’s construction is currently unknown.
During the previous five weeks, Hanzman and another judge have heard testimony regarding the wrongful death claims. The court-appointed receiver in charge of the case, Michael Goldberg, stated that the distribution of cheques to the families of the deceased should begin around the middle of September. Those who suffered only material losses will have their units repaid at full value, and any outstanding taxes or fees will be waived.
Harley Tropin, one of the lead attorneys representing the plaintiffs, claimed that the $100 million was the absolute ceiling for attorney fees, and that the organization would be happy with any amount above that.
The quality of the initial construction and inspections in the early 1980s have been called into doubt, and there was a history of maintenance issues at Champlain Towers South. Climate change-induced sea level rise may also have contributed to the collapse by allowing saltwater incursion to do its damage.