Judge warns Florida condo's insurance will not cover all lawsuits

Judge warns Florida condo's insurance will not cover all lawsuits
Judge warns Florida condo's insurance will not cover all lawsuits

A judge has warned that the insurance policies covering the condominium that collapsed in Florida will not be enough to cover lawsuits filed by the victims and their families.

Eighteen are confirmed dead and another 145 are missing, and already at least five lawsuits have been filed, mostly targeting the the Champlain Towers South Condo Association. Many more are expected.

On Thursday, a week after the deadly collapse, the first hearing was held in the initial lawsuits filed over the tragedy.

'There's going to be a total of $48 million [in insurance coverage], which will obviously be inadequate to compensate everyone fully for the extent of their harm, which is unfortunate,' Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said during the Zoom hearing.

'There's going to be a very serious allocation issue between those people who tragically lost loved ones and those who were lucky enough to only lose property,' Hanzman said.

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An aerial view of the site as rescue operations were suspended due to safety concerns Thursday in Surfside, Florida

An aerial view of the site as rescue operations were suspended due to safety concerns Thursday in Surfside, Florida

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden greet first responders to the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside on Thursday

US President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden greet first responders to the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside on Thursday

The court heard that the building has $30 million in property coverage, and $18 million in liability coverage. 

A lawyer for one of the building's liability carriers, James River Insurance, said it would tender its policy's full $2 million, according to the Miami Herald

The family of Harold Rosenberg filed suit on Wednesday, joining the growing number of lawsuits in the Surfside condo collapse

The family of Harold Rosenberg filed suit on Wednesday, joining the growing number of lawsuits in the Surfside condo collapse

'There is simply not enough insurance to go around,' said the company's lawyer, Sina Bahadoran.

Typically, in a mass casualty event with hundreds of claims, victim lawsuits are consolidated, and damages are paid out from a master fund according to the category of claim (death, injury, property loss, etc).

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One of the lawsuits in the Surfside collapse has already called for victim suits to be consolidated.

So far, the early suits have primarily targeted the building's condo association.

As a condominium, the building is technically owned by the residents, but the condo association is the legal entity tasked with collecting fees from residents and approving maintenance and upgrades.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman (top left) warned that the $48 million in insurance coverage would not be enough to satisfy all of the victim claims

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman (top left) warned that the $48 million in insurance coverage would not be enough to satisfy all of the victim claims

Rescue workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condominium, Wednesday, in the Surfside area of Miami

Rescue workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condominium, Wednesday, in the Surfside area of Miami

For years, the Champlain Towers South Condo Association's board had been mired in infighting and bickering over renovations that would have cost millions, according to new reports this week.  

Former board president Anette Goldstein was among five members of the seven-person board who resigned in a two-week period in the fall of 2019, according to meeting minutes reported by the Washington Post.

Goldstein's resignation letter shows that the board of the condo in Surfside was consumed with infighting over an October 2018 report by engineering firm Morabito Consultants, which identified key issues with weakening concrete and called for drastic renovations costing some $15 million.

'We work for months to go in one direction and at the very last minute objections are raised that should have been discussed and resolved right in the beginning,' Goldstein wrote in a September 2019 resignation letter obtained by the Post.

'This pattern has repeated itself over and over, ego battles, undermining the roles of fellow board members, circulation of

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