A court in Miami has noted that the condominium tower that partially collapsed on 24 June – with a confirmed death toll of 18 so far and around 145 still missing – has a total insurance cover of only $48m.
Michael Hanzman, a Miami-Dade circuit judge, said during an online hearing yesterday that this would probably not be enough to meet claims for compensation. "There’s going to be a very serious allocation issue between those people who tragically lost loved ones and those who were lucky enough to only lose property," he said, reports The Miami Herald.
The meeting was held to hear the first lawsuits to be filed in the wake of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in the town of Surfside.
Five lawsuits have so far been filed. So far, 18 bodies have been recovered, including four members of the same family. Some 145 others are thought likely to be buried in the rubble.
Sisters Lucia Guara, 10, and Emma Guara, 4, were located Wednesday as was their mother, Anaely Rodriguez. Their father, Marcus Guara, was one of the first victims found.
More lawsuits will be filed in the future, and litigation is expected to last for years as investigators try to determine what caused the collapse.
The relatives of Harold Rosenberg, a man missing after last week’s collapse, this week filed a lawsuit against the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association, which was organising repair work to deal with damage to the building’s concrete structure, as well as Morabito Consultants and SD Architects.
Morabito Consultants wrote a report for the condominium association in 2018 warning of "major structural damage" to the building’s concrete, but the remedial work it recommended had not begun when the collapse happened. (See further reading.)
The family is represented by Robert Mongeluzzi, an attorney famous for litigating construction disasters who represented victims of London’s Grenfell fire in a 2019 lawsuit.
Image: Remains of the Champlain Towers South building on 25 June 2021 (Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)