Judge: Legal costs in Surfside condo collapse may reach $100M

Published: January 22, 2022 10:42 PM EST
Updated: January 22, 2022 10:47 PM EST
A worker waits to load his truck with debris from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South building, as removal and recovery work continues at the site of the partially collapsed condo building, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

A judge said Friday that the legal fees and costs associated with the deadly collapse of a Florida beachfront condominium building could reach $100 million.

That’s why Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman urged all sides to work toward mediated settlements of numerous claims arising from the Champlain Towers South disaster.

“Put forth a Herculean effort to settle these claims if possible,” Hanzman said at a hearing held remotely. “This court cannot force parties to resolve their disputes.”

The 12-story condo building collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24, killing 98 people and destroying the structure in Surfside, Florida. There are claims for wrongful death and for property loss that could take years to resolve, including possible appeals, without some kind of settlement.

Champlain Towers was in the midst of its 40-year structural review when it collapsed, triggering multiple federal and state investigations and a flurry of lawsuits by victims, families and condo owners.

The lead investigating agency is the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which recently estimated its probe could take as long as two years.

The trial date for the lawsuit is currently set for March 2023.