The collapse of most of the Champlain Towers South building on June 24, 2021, suddenly turned what was formerly a thriving residential building into a devastating scene as residents became crushed or trapped under a massive pile of twisted metal and concrete.
An emotional scene played out in the Miami courtroom Thursday as Miami-Dade County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hanzman presided over a three-hour settlement hearing, according to Rachel Furst, an attorney for the plaintiffs who described the proceedings to CNN as “remarkable and moving.”
The finalized agreement reflects the total amount of money available to victims, including payments from insurance claims and the anticipated multi-million-dollar land sale of the property where the tower once stood. Families of the victims will now be able to submit claim forms to receive compensation from the settlement fund.
During the hearing, at least three plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit spoke in favor of the settlement — a parent whose child was killed, the spouse of a victim who died in the collapse and a person whose home was destroyed, Furst said.
When the tentative agreement was reached last month, Hanzman lauded the speed with which it was reached as “beyond extraordinary.”
“We’re pleased to give this recovery to the victims which we think is extremely meaningful and a big step to bringing them closure to this horrible tragedy,” Harley Tropin, one of the plaintiffs’ lead attorneys, told CNN when the tentative agreement was announced.
CNN’s Chuck Johnston, Jamiel Lynch and Jaide Timm-Garcia contributed to this report.