By Court TV
SURFSIDE, Fla. — A Miami-Dade Circuit Judge has accepted a tentative plan from the insurance carrier for the Champlain Towers South condo association. The agreement includes up-front payments to resolve damage claims resulting from a class-action lawsuit filed on June 24.
Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, who placed the condo association board into receivership, appointed Michael Goldberg to handle all of the condo association’s financial matters while the court hears lawsuits related to the building’s collapse. Paul Singerman, who represents the condo association, voted unanimously on July 1 to accept receivership and allow Goldberg to oversee the distribution of funds.
“Every living and accounted for board member was present,” said Singerman. “There was one board member who remains regrettably unaccounted for as a result of the collapse of the condominium tower.”
Lead plaintiff Manuel Drezner, who represents the first class-action lawsuit filed over the condo building’s collapse, owns a condo in Champlain Towers South and was visiting family in South America when the building collapsed on June 24. Five lawsuits have been filed since last week.
An insurance company representative told the judge that the company was planning to voluntarily tender its entire limit from the enclosed policy to resolve all claims.
Judge Hanzman ordered $2 million of the condo board’s policy with James River Insurance Company be released to assist residents and individuals affected by the collapse.
The insurance company has agreed to release $3 million within 11 days. The building’s insurance coverage totals $48 million. Judge Hanzman said the condo’s land would also be an asset –- with an estimate between $30 million and $50 million to the fund.
Roughly have of the 12-story, 136-unit building was destroyed.
Goldberg has been instructed to immediately make arrangements to authorize payments to those directly affected by the building collapse: the receiver will provide payments of up to $10,000 to families of missing and deceased or those who need housing assistance; while $2000 should be made available to families dealing with funeral costs
Judge Hanzman wants the entire case wrapped up within 12 months. He told the attorneys that they should consider their role in the case “a public service” and that he wanted to “avoid as much litigation and contention as possible.”
Court TV’s Tiffany Smith contributed to this report.