Class action suit in wake of Surfside tragedy could have far-reaching implications for developers and contractors
Following the tragedy at Surfside many in South Florida braced for long and protracted litigation. Recently, several survivors and the family members of those who died filed a class action lawsuit against the construction team developing Eighty Seven Park, a luxury condominium next door to Champlain Towers South.
According to the Complaint, the pile driving next to Champlain Towers South exacerbated existing conditions which in turn led to the tragedy. The plaintiffs allege vibrations from the work on Eighty Seven Park damaged the existing structure and funneling ground water from the Eighty Seven Park site to the Champlain Towers South compounded the issues and led to the collapse. While new suits with new parties are getting filed, the trial in the putative class action brought by the victims of the collapse should take place next summer at the latest, the trial Judge said recently, reiterating his pledge not to let the matter drag on.
During a regularly scheduled status conference, Judge Michael Hanzman agreed to extend the deadlines for defendants to respond to the second amended complaint by two weeks. However, he reminded the attorneys especially those for the newly added defendants what he had said at the outset of the litigation that he would move the matter forward and not allow unnecessary delay.
The end result of this litigation could have far-reaching implications for developers and contractors building new structures in an increasingly crowded Florida market. With so much development in South Florida and the scarcity of prime real estate, developers, contractors, engineers, and association boards of directors must be aware of the potential pitfalls. Please contact our construction and real estate attorneys to help you navigate these issues and mitigate your risk.