Lawyers for victims of the Champlain South Towers collapse in Surfside have reached a tentative settlement that would split $83 million among those who lost property in the tragedy.
Those claiming wrongful death or bodily injury will share in any other funds recovered, whether from the sale of the land, insurance policies or claims against third parties.
The deal – reached last night in a mediation session – still needs to be approved by Judge Michael Hanzman, and some owners could object to or opt out of the proposed allotment.
But, if finalized, it avoids what could have been an unseemly chapter in the tragedy: landlords being forced to give up the value of their homes in order to repay the families of their deceased neighbours.
Under state law, if damages against an association exceed its liability insurance coverage (in this case, $18 million), individual unit owners can be ordered to pay any unfunded judgments, down to the value of their units, in what is called an appraisal.
The settlement would allow unit owners to divide the $83 million among themselves – based on the relative value of their units – and they would not be subject to assessment, regardless of the amount of damages for ultimately awarded wrongful death and injury.
As part of the agreement, the owners would receive the first $50 million paid into the settlement fund – a number already achieved through insurance policies held by the association. Then, once the pool hits $100 million, they would receive the next $33 million.