The March 2023 trial is set for Florida apartment collapse lawsuits

A major lawsuit in connection with the collapse of a Florida beachfront apartment that killed 98 people will be sued in March 2023

It’s about six months later than Miami-Dade Circuit judge Michael Hanzman had originally planned, but lawyers in the complex and unusual case said experts need more time to evaluate what got the 12-story Champlain Towers South building to fall in June 2021.

“It’s a fixed deadline, ladies and gentlemen,” Hanzman said during a virtual hearing. “This case will be heard in March 2023.”

The collapse of the Champlain Towers, located in Surfside, Florida, was one of the worst building disasters in American history. Federal and state agencies are investigating what happened, but are unlikely to reach a conclusion for many months.

The lawsuit, filed in November, claims that work on an adjoining luxury apartment building, known as the Eighty Seven Park, damaged and destabilized an aging Champlain Towers building that was already in need of major structural repairs.

Lawyers for insurance companies, the developers of the adjacent building and other units said the original plan for a trial date in September would not allow engineers and other experts to fully evaluate what happened.

“It will be impossible to try this case this fall,” said Michael Goldberg, a court-appointed curator for the Champlain Towers Condominium Association.

The lawsuit claims that excavation, piling and other work in Eighty Seven Park, just across the city line from Miami Beach, between 2016 and 2019 caused vibrations that weakened the shaky structure next door. In addition, groundwater was diverted from the new building to the Champlain Towers basement after developers purchased a small road separating the two, the lawsuit states.

Defendants have denied that the construction of the 18-story Eighty Seven Park building was responsible for the collapse. They claimed in an earlier statement that Champlain Towers was “improperly designed, poorly constructed, significantly underfunded and inadequately maintained.”

The property, where the now demolished Champlain Towers South once stood, is for sale with bids on the primary land by the sea for currently about $ 120 million. There are also plans for a nearby memorial for the deceased.

The lawsuit does not require a specific dollar amount in compensation, but lawyers say it could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. All of this would go to wrongful death claims and to compensate people who lost their condominiums and property in the collapse.

Hanzman told lawyers not to expect further delays after March next year.

“This court is not working on a quiet schedule,” the judge said. “This case will not be continued.”

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