The first hearing among the multiple lawsuits filed in the wake of the Surfside condominium collapse was held Wednesday in a Miami-Dade courtroom.
In the court were those representing the the condo association, including its lawyers and the receiver appointed, as well as a line up of attorneys who told Judge Michael Hanzman they’ve all agreed to basically work for free.
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"I know without any doubt the victims of this tragedy will be competently represented and no viable claim will be abandoned or resolved for less than its true value,” Judge Hanzman said.
Plaintiff Steve Rosenthal, one of the 37 people rescued by firefighters from the Champlain Towers South condo building two weeks ago, filed one of the first legal claims against the condo association.
"I have everything in there, everything. I’ve been there 20 years, just imagine,” Rosenthal said.
Hanzman said it appears about $48 million in insurance is available. He questioned the what the finance experts' research shows about other potential funds.
"We feel that there will be other policies available. We have also put other potential parties on notice," said the court-appointed receiver, Michael Goldberg.
Judge Hanzman indicated the legal claims will be grouped together with those like Rosenthal who lost possessions in one section, and those families whose loved ones perished in another group.
“There are a lot of common facts,” said Coral Gables attorney Jorge Silva, who is representing several families.
Silva said everyone involved realizes there’s nothing the court can ever do to offset what’s happened.
"That’s why I think the judge highlighted multiple times throughout today’s hearing that this will never compensate these victims whether it be the death cases, the injury cases, or the property damage cases," Silva said. "There’s never going to be full compensation, not enough money in the entire world to do so. But it's our job to try and marshall as many assets as possible to try to soften the pain a little."
The initial attorneys for the association said they couldn’t comment on the lawsuits and were doing all they could to help families and aid in the investigation. NBC 6 emailed the representatives for the association after Wednesday's hearing for comment but haven’t heard back from them.
The judge said he wants the process expedited. The land itself is worth up to $130 million and maybe more.
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