There are potentially dozens of other individual lawsuits that might still be pursued more than a year after the tragedy — with some former condo owners the potential targets.
Hanzman made the official announcement — at the request of plaintiffs’ attorneys in the case — to clarify questions about the
Read more: ‘Painful’ division of
In addition, 136 condo owners at Champlain Towers South agreed to accept
At a court hearing on Monday, Hanzman downplayed the legal risks for the former unit owners. He said he was so confident that the relatives of the 98 people who died in the condo building’s collapse would be satisfied with their damage awards that none — including tenants and visitors who perished — would be compelled to sue any of their landlords.
“The court feels comfortable … that they are going to be close to fully compensated,” Hanzman said, adding that all of the victims’ relatives are going to receive a “large percentage” of their damage claims.
Still, the clarification from Hanzman could have potentially serious implications for some former unit owners if they get sued and don’t have liability insurance coverage. Previously, there had been some misunderstanding that no condo owners at Champlain Towers South could be sued after agreeing to accept the
In fact, the vast majority said they were motivated to accept the deal in the spring because it barred any future lawsuits accusing them and their condo association of failing to maintain the building’s safety. The condo association’s engineer noted structural flaws in the pool deck and parking garage areas in a report from 2018, with the tower slated for long overdue repairs totaling
It is unclear how many tenants and visitors died in the
Relatives of those same tenants and guests who died — along with other victims of the calamity — qualify to make a damage claim to Hanzman for a minimum of
Despite the greater clarity of the final settlement agreement in the class-action negligence case, the relationships among owners, tenants and visitors at Champlain Towers South can be complicated.
Read more: How decades of problems converged the night
Among the 98 dead, about 27 were visitors, and 11 of them were visiting relatives who lived at the building.
The Pettengill family was visiting from
At the same time, at least 13 people who were living in seven rented units died when the condo building fell down. Among the renters was
Oresme “Gil” Guerra, 60, and his wife, Beatriz “Betty” Guerra, 52, had only lived in unit 910 for three months, had just signed a lease for another beachfront property nearby and spent the day of the collapse painting their new place.
The Patel family renting 311 perished —
Hanzman started reviewing all Champlain Towers South wrongful death claims in late July at private hearings with the victims’ families, and he expects to finish them in late August. Hanzman said he will likely approve the distribution of the damages in September.
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