Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hansman has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement after hearing an emotional testimony that made him cry multiple times.
“Everyone in this case is a victim, there’s no doubt about that,” Hansmann said before giving his final approval. “Please know that this court does not in any way diminish your pain, suffering and trauma… We have 98 people who have lost their lives and this case must be kept in place.”
The heirs of the 98 victims were classified as the wrong death class during the hearing, and the surviving condominium owners were referred to as the economic class. Lawyers for the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association were also involved in the settlement.
The court based its decision on the grounds that the settlement was “fair, reasonable and adequate,” but due to some concerns, the judge announced two conditions he was adding to the agreement.
“Number one, this settlement is going to be contingent on closing the property by at least $120 million,” Hansmann said. “Unless this happens, not a single penny will be distributed to the owners of the housing units.”
“Number two, I’m not going to deduct the insurance,” he said, adding that he would instead deduct $750,000 of the higher amount “which the court will use to partially reimburse attorneys…and for past expenses to maintain these properties even today.”
In his statement after testifying, Hansmann acknowledged that the law and the judicial system would not be able to “alleviate the pain and suffering of these people.”
Hansmann also praised the settlement and the lawyers who he said worked hard to establish it, saying the court did not want to “let perfection be the enemy of good.”
The tragedy has affected societies in many countries
At the time, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levine Cava called the crash “the largest non-hurricane emergency response in our state’s history.”
Crews conducted recovery efforts for weeks, combing through rubble and debris while families and loved ones of the victims waited for information.