Lawyers in Florida condo collapse are seeking about $100 million in fees – Boston News, Weather, Sports

Lawyers who worked to secure Settlements in excess of a billion dollars in a Florida beachfront apartment building collapse that killed 98 people is claiming about $100 million in fees and costs, according to a new court filing.

The sum represents a discount of up to $200 million compared to amounts typically charged by attorneys in large class action lawsuits, Miami attorney Philip Freidin said in the document. The settlements also avoid court cases that could have lasted for years and cost even more.

Freidin was asked to recommend fees for 132 attorneys who worked more than 34,000 hours on the court cases after June 24, 2021. Collapse of the Champlain Towers South Buildings in Surfside, Florida. The wrongful death and forfeiture settlements were announced less than a year after the tragedy.

The total of approximately $100 million is reasonable “because this litigation is among the most difficult, complex, and high-profile class action lawsuits I have experienced in 53 years of practicing law,” Freidin said in the filing. “But nobody ever expected such a result. It’s unprecedented. And without this team it would not have happened.”

The final amount of the fees and costs will be determined by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, who has already ruled provisional approval to the victim settlements negotiated by the lawyers. The money would come from those settlements, which total more than $1.02 billion, court documents show.

A fairness hearing is scheduled for June 23 — one day before the first anniversary of the collapse of the 12-story building — to give citizens a chance to have their say on the settlements.

“The court will determine what a reasonable fee is, likely after a hearing and after each victim receives their individual awards,” attorneys Harley Tropin and Rachel Furst said in an email. You co-chaired the plaintiffs panel in the case, which ultimately involved 30 settlement parties.

And the legal work is not done yet. Any person filing a claim for a share of the settlements is entitled to an individual hearing as to their amount, if they so choose, which could last until August. It’s not immediately clear if additional fees from the settlements would be collected for attorneys at those hearings.

The goal is to start distributing funds to victims by September.

The money comes from multiple sources, including insurance companies, engineering firms, and a luxury condo recently built next door. Neither party admitted wrongdoing. A billionaire developer from Dubai is buying the 1.8-hectare beachfront property for US$120 million, helping to secure the deal.

Despite this, only three survivors were found Around-the-clock deployment of rescuers who dug through a 12 meter high pile of rubble for two weeks. Another three dozen people were able to escape from the remaining part of the building. All 136 units were eventually demolished.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology is investigating the cause of the collapse, a process expected to take years. Champlain South had a long history of maintenance issues, and questions were raised about the quality of its original construction and inspections in the early 1980s.

Florida will require a statewide recertification of condos taller than three stories under new legislation from Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis law signed last month in response to the disaster.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed, or redistributed.)

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Nate Jones

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