After a beachfront condominium collapsed, a lawsuit, believed to be the first, was filed late Thursday night.
A class action lawsuit on behalf of Manuel Drezner, a nearby property owner, and other victims was filed at 11:29 p.m. against the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association Inc., Local10 first reported.
“This action seeks to compensate the victims of this unfathomable loss,” the lawsuit filed by the Brad Sohn Law Firm said.
The court filing alleges the condominium in Surfside, Florida, did not provide adequate protection for residents and visitors to the building, did not repair structural issues and failed to prevent the “catastrophic” collapse of the building.
The lawsuit is seeking more than $5 million in damages.
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“According to public statements made by Defendant’s attorney Ken Direktor, ‘repair needs had been identified’ with regard to certain structural issues but had not been implemented; one of the most breathtakingly frightening tragedies in the history of South Florida followed,” the lawsuit said.
At 1:30 a.m. Thursday, a wing of the 12-story building collapsed, killing at least one person and almost 100 unaccounted for as of Friday morning.
The collapse was caught on video and drone footage showed the aftermath of the destruction.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said officials were able to account for 102 people and fire and rescue teams worked into the night Thursday to search for the 99 people still unaccounted for.
The Miami-Herald reported the building, built in 1981, was going through an inspection required by Florida every 40 years to be recertified.
Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment, found the high-rise had been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s in a study conducted in 2020.
“I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,” he said.
Follow reporter Asha Gilbert @Coastalasha. Email: [email protected]