Lawsuit: The collapse of a Florida apartment was due to construction work

The construction of an adjacent luxury building triggered the collapse of an already fragile apartment in Florida that killed 98 people in June, according to a new lawsuit.

The lawsuit, filed late Tuesday on behalf of the victims and family members of Champlain Towers South, alleges that work on the adjacent Eighty Seven Park Tower damaged and damaged the building, which was in dire need of major structural repairs.

Champlain Towers, the lawsuit alleges, “was an old building that needed routine repairs and maintenance, but it wasn’t until excavation and construction began on a luxury apartment building project next door” that the building became dangerous.

“The collapse was completely preventable,” the lawsuit says.

Champlain Towers was in the midst of its 40-year structural overhaul when it collapsed without warning early on the morning of June 24th. The collapse has triggered several federal and state investigations, as well as lawsuits from victims, families, and homeowners.

The leading investigative agency is the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which recently estimates that its investigation could take up to two years.

The lawsuit alleges that excavation, piling and other work carried out at Eighty Seven Park in 2016–2019 caused vibrations that weakened the vibrating structure of the adjacent one. In addition, groundwater was diverted from the new building to the basement of the Champlain Towers property when developers bought a small road separating the two, according to the lawsuit.

This latest 169-page complaint is a possible class action that can represent all victims and their families. It was filed as part of an existing case in the Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, which also concerns the planned sale of the Champlain Towers property for the benefit of the victims.

The lawsuit does not mention a specific amount of damages, but the lawyers involved in the case say they could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Among the nine defendants are the developers of Eighty Seven Park, the engineering firm, the Champlain Towers South housing association and the Miami law firm.

Defendants denied that the construction of Eighty Seven Park would have been the cause of the building’s collapse. The 18-story building is located in Miami Beach, just south of the Champlain Towers in Surfside.

“As documented by numerous media outlets, Champlain Towers South was poorly designed, poorly built, significantly underfunded, and poorly maintained and repaired,” said attorney David B. Weinstein, representing 8701 Collins Development LLC.

“We expect a full review of the facts – and an ongoing NIST investigation – to confirm our position,” Weinstein said in an email.


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