Lawyers for victims of the Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside have reached a tentative agreement that would split $83 million among those who lost property in the tragedy.
Those who claim wrongful death or personal injury will share in whatever other funds are 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 has to be approved by Judge Michael Hanzman, and some owners could object or opt out of the proposed allocation.
But, if finalized, it avoids what could have been an unseemly chapter in the tragedy: owners being forced to surrender the value of their units in order to pay off the families of their deceased neighbors.
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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 off any unfunded judgments, up to the value of their units, in what is called an assessment.
The settlement would allow the unit owners to divide the $83 million among themselves — based on the relative value of their units — and they would not be subject to the assessment, regardless of how much wrongful death and personal injury damages are ultimately awarded.
Under the deal, the owners would get the first $50 million paid into the settlement fund — a number already reached through insurance policies held by the association. Then — once the pool reaches $100 million — they would receive the next $33 million.