SURFSIDE, Fla. — A class-action lawsuit seeking $5 million in damages has been filed against Champlain Towers South Condominium Association.
According to the lawyer who filed the class-action lawsuit, Brad Shohn of Brad Shohn Law firm, he plans to obtain way more than $5 million dollars for his clients.
"There’s no relationship between that number [$5 million] and the number we’re seeking," Shohn said.
Shohn explained, to file a class-action lawsuit, there needed to be a dollar amount listed. In this case, the dollar amount of $5 million is not what he is seeking for his clients.
"We would not dream of seeking that amount of money for a harm of this magnitude. I think it’s pretty clear, it’s going to be a substantial amount of compensation that needs to go into making the situation right on the property level and on the loss of life level," Shohn explained.
Shohn couldn't give an exact amount of how much he plans to obtain but said it exceeds $5 million dollars.
The 20-page lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade court alleges Champlain Towers South Condominium Association, Inc. failed to “secure and safeguard the lives and property” of those living in the building when part of it came crashing down Thursday.
"What we’re going to be doing is number one, looking for what other responsible parties need to be brought in. We’re going to be commencing a process right away called discovery. Which is literally a time where you get to discover information from an opposing party for litigation.," Shohn stated.
According to court documents, the property owners also failed to take steps available to them to prevent the building's collapse, among other things.
"We’re going to be asking the questions that everyone wants answers to immediately," Shohn added.
Alleged statements made by the property's attorney Ken Direktor are also noted in the lawsuit. Claims found in the suit state Direktor noted that “repair needs had been identified” regarding certain structural issues.
The lawsuit explained those repairs had not been implemented, leading to “one of the most breathtakingly frightening tragedies in the history of South Florida followed.”
In all, court documents state the property owners could have prevented the collapse through ordinary care, safety measures, oversight and by maintaining adequate safety measures. "Buildings are just not supposed to crumble," Shohn said.
10 Tampa Bay called multiple phone numbers associated with Champlain Towers South Condo Association for a comment in regards to the class action lawsuit. Several phone calls went unanswered. 10 Tampa Bay also emailed the condo association via their website, but haven't received a response.
The money being sought by Shohn is exclusive of costs and attorney fees, according to the lawsuit. The funds will cover things like damages, restitution and equitable relief. This lawsuit represents all the people who own units at Champlain Towers South. Shohn said he has also been contacted by some renters and other victims involved.
Shohn plans to file other lawsuits relating to injury cases. Right now, he is taking phone calls to obtain information and is in contact with victims who are looking for representation.
Additional court documents show Champlain Towers was found liable in a 2015 lawsuit against the property for failing to "repair or negligently repaired the common elements and the outside walls of the building."
Other allegations against the property include a report of water entering cracks in the building's outside wall, causing damage.
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