MIAMI (AP) — A judge gave final approval Thursday to a settlement topping $1 billion for victims of the collapse of a Florida beachfront condominium building that killed 98 people, one of the deadliest building failures in U.S. history.
The decision by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman came a day before the one-year anniversary of the Champlain Towers South disaster in the Miami suburb of Surfside. The judge described the settlement as a "remarkable result," praising the dozens of lawyers involved for averting what could have been years of litigation with no sure outcome.
The bulk of the $1.02 billion total will go to people who lost family members in the collapse of the 12-story building. About $100 million is earmarked for legal fees, and $96 million set aside for owners who lost one of the 136 units in the building.
No victims filed objections to the settlement or decided to opt-out, said court-appointed receiver Michael Goldberg. Several people who lost family members or property said in court Thursday that they are grateful for such a swift conclusion to a horrific experience.
Raysa Rodriguez, who survived the collapse in a ninth-floor unit that was initially left intact, had nothing but praise for the outcome.
"You have no idea what a relief this is to me personally," Rodriguez said. "I am so exhausted. I just want this to be done. I want these souls to rest."