Surfside Condominium Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Building Collapse

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Surfside Condominium Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Building Collapse
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When a 12-story building owned by Champlain Towers South Condominium Association suffered a partial collapse on June 24th, 2021, the South Florida residents responded by filing a class action lawsuit pursuing damages in the amount of $5 million before attorneys’ fees and legal costs. According to Local10 news, at least three people were killed in the collapse, and more suffered injuries in addition to property damage and loss.

The lawsuit alleges that the Condominium Association was negligent in maintaining the building, putting residents and property at risk.

The official class action complaint argues that the Association knew or should have reasonably known that the property was in need of repair and unsafe for residents. Failing to properly maintain and repair the property allegedly resulted in foreseeable risk of harm to the class members. While the cause of the collapse remains under investigation, public statements made by the Condominium’s attorney confirmed that there were structural issues in need of repair prior to the collapse, but that the repairs had not been made yet, according to the lawsuit. 

At the time of collapse, the building was going through its 40-year recertification.

In Florida, buildings must undergo a recertification process every 40 years to make sure they remain structurally sound, and that any repairs necessary for safety are made in a timely and effective manner. Champlain Towers South had just recently undergone an analysis by the city to identify areas in need of repair, which included both the roof and other areas of the condominium. The complaint indicates both express and implied warranties in tenant’s contracts, hypothetically obligating the Association to provide safe and habitable conditions. Like most rental properties, there is typically an express and/or implied warranty guaranteeing that the property remains safe and habitable at all times, often requiring safety repairs to be made at the expense of the owner, in this case, Champlain Towers South Condominium Association.

The lawsuit is seeking injunctive and equitable relief for the affected class members.

In a class-action lawsuit like this one, if successful, the Condominium Association will likely be required to pay an amount equivalent to the tenants’ damages, as well as to submit to injunctive relief as determined by the court to ensure that repair and maintenance oversights do not occur again in the future. The damages sought in this lawsuit are particularly high due to the extreme nature of the damages sustained in the collapse, including medical bills, property damage, and more, totaling approximately $5 million to be divided among the objectively determined class members. 

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