Courtesy of Channel 4 CBS Miami
Published December 7, 2022
TALLAHASSEE — Hoping to make a difference, the brother of a Surfside condo
collapse victim testified in Tallahassee on Tuesday against a bill that
would lower the amount of time to file a lawsuit over building defects.
“Senate Bill 736 is proposing the opposite of what needs
to be done after such an unimaginable event,” said Martin
Langesfeld, who lost his sister Nicole and her husband in
the Champlain Towers South collapse that killed 98 people on
Since the Surfside tragedy, he’s been fighting for his
family and any others, pushing for better laws and more
accountability surrounding developers and building
As it stands now, if there is a defect in the building
you’re living in, you can file a lawsuit against contractors
and builders within 10 years. The proposed law would cut
that timeframe down to just four years.
Langesfeld says during a time when developers should be held
accountable, this bill is proposing the opposite.
“When I saw Senate Bill 736, I could not believe that
accountability to a developer would be dropped to 4 years
allowing developers to quickly look the other way,” said
His heartfelt testimony Tuesday urged the Senate
Judiciary Committee to vote no on Senate Bill 736.
“No one would have ever expected a building to collapse in a total of 12
seconds in the United States of America. But it did,” said Langesfeld.
He testified, the proposed bill will remove accountability from contractors
and builders in the face of tragedies like Surfside.
“Looking into this bill I realized how hard it is for anyone who does not
have expertise in development or construction to make a claim on a building
defect for their own safety in their own homes.”
Under Senate Bill 736, lawsuits over latent defects, like building cracks,
leaks, plumbing issues, or toxic conditions, would have to be filed within
just four years.
“You don’t see building defects until 5 maybe 10 years later. Most times
it’s longer. Surfside it took 40 years and sometimes you do not even see the
defects,” argued Langesfeld.
He says if anything, law makers should be considering expanding the time
frame, not shortening it. He says if this bill is passed, “The negligence
will continue to go forward and this is why so many innocent people died.”
The next hearing on Senate Bill 736 will likely be in January. Langesfeld
said he plans to be there.