Attorneys who worked to secure settlements topping $1 billion in the collapse of a beachfront Florida condominium building in which 98 people died are requesting about $100 million in fees and costs, according to a new court filing.
Attorneys who worked to secure settlements topping $1 billion in the collapse of a beachfront Florida condominium building in which 98 people died are requesting about $100 million in fees and costs.
“The court will determine what an
appropriate fee is, likely after holding a hearing and after
the individual victims receive their individual awards,”
attorneys Harley Tropin and Rachel Furst said in an email.
They co-chaired the plaintiff committee in the case, which
ultimately involved 30 settling parties.
And the legal work is not yet done. Each person who files a claim for a share of the settlements is entitled to an individual hearing on their amount, if they choose, which could last into August. It's not immediately clear if additional fees would be charged out of the settlements for lawyers in those hearings.
The goal is to begin distributing money to victims by September.
The money comes from several sources, including insurance companies, engineering firms and a luxury condominium that had recently been built next door. None of the parties admitted wrongdoing. A billionaire developer from Dubai is purchasing the 1.8-acre (1-hectare) beachside site for $120 million, contributing to the settlement.
Only three survivors were found despite around-the-clock efforts by rescuers who dug through a 40-foot-high (12-meter-high) pile of rubble for two weeks. Another three dozen people were able to escape from the portion of the building that remained standing. All 136 units were ultimately demolished.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology is investigating the cause of the collapse, a process expected to take years. Champlain South had a long history of maintenance problems and questions have been raised about the quality of its original construction and inspections in the early 1980s.
Florida will require statewide recertification of condominiums more than three stories tall under new legislation Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last month in response to the disaster.