Miami Building Collapse: Judge Approves $1 Billion Payout to Victims of Disaster That Killed 98 | American News

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A judge has given final approval to a $1 billion settlement for victims of a Miami building collapse that killed 98 people.

Most of the total will go to those who lost family members when the 12-story building fell in June 2021exactly one year ago tomorrow.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said, “It will never be enough to compensate them for the tragic loss they suffered. This settlement is the best we can do. It’s a remarkable result. It’s extraordinary.”

The judge praised the dozens of attorneys involved for avoiding what could have been years of litigation with no certain outcome.

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South building in the Miami the suburb of Surfside led to the largest non-hurricane emergency response in Florida the story.

The tower suddenly collapsed towards the ground in the early hours of June 24 last year, almost instantly destroying dozens of individual apartments and burying the victims under tons of rubble.

Rescuers spent weeks carefully dig through mountains of concretefirst to find survivors and later to recover the remains of those who died.

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“She screamed a death scream”

“I want these souls to rest”

The main lawsuit, brought on behalf of the victims and their family members of Champlain Towers South, contended that work on the adjacent Eighty Seven Park tower damaged and destabilized the Champlain Towers buildingwhich was in dire need of major structural repairs.

Raysa Rodriguez, who survived the collapse of a ninth-floor unit originally left intact, welcomed Thursday’s court outcome.

“You have no idea how much relief this is for me personally,” she said.

“I’m so exhausted. I just want this done. I want those souls to rest.”

The huge payment will come from several sources, including insurance companies, engineering companies and the luxury condominium that has been built next door.

Neither party admits wrongdoing.

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WORLD SATELLITE TELEVISION NEWS - On the first anniversary of the deadly Surfside Condominium collapse, the 60-story Paramount Miami Worldcenter skyscraper lights up the South Florida skyline with a massive digital memorial message to the families of victims of the June 24, 2021 disaster. Through Paramount Miami's 700-foot center column appears the word, "Surfing side." Across Paramount's 300-foot-wide by 100-foot-tall Skydeck crown shines the word, "Memory." It is adorned with a huge floating electronic field of sparkling blue and white stars. "Paramount Tower lighting is a bright signal of sadness," says Daniel Kodsi, CEO of real estate development firm Royal Palm Companies of Florida ... builder of Paramount Miami Worldcenter.  A year ago, the 12-story Champlain Towers in the Miami suburb of Surfside collapsed, killing 98 people.  Paramount Miami Worldcenter will illuminate Downtown Miami during the pre-dawn and nighttime hours from June 23 to June 25, 2022. The superstructure will light up at exactly 1:22 a.m., June 24, 2022, for a duration of 10 minutes.  ...marking the moment the Champlain Towers collapsed.  (Eva Marie Uzcategui T./AP Images for World Satellite Television News)
Image:
The 60-story Paramount Miami Worldcenter was illuminated in tribute a year later. Pic: AP/World Satellite Television News

Despite the court’s resolution, a definitive answer as to the cause of the tragedy is still likely years away.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which is leading the federal investigation into the collapse, recently said invasive testing would soon begin on material samples from the site of the collapse.

The tests will help find potential flaws in structural elements of the building by looking at things like material density, porosity and whether there has been corrosion, NIST said.

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