MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Legal hearings continued on Wednesday in the lawsuit against the Champlain Tower South.
The building collapsed in Surfside June 24. A number of topics were covered via a Zoom hearing centered in judge Michael Hanzman’s court room.
A number of topics were covered.
The hearing began with one attorney in charge of collecting from insurance companies, notifying the court how has been collected so far.
“I am happy to report that I have received from Great American last week, $31,357,400,” said court-appointed receiver, attorney Michael Goldberg.
More than $49 million dollars has been recovered so far and will be split at some point amongst the victims and families.
There was talk of protocols for evidence retention.
No invasive inspections will occur for now.
Only sight inspections and the use of drones. Each identified inspector will be given 10-hours a day for 4 consecutive days to conduct an inspection.
Judge Michael Hanzman took issue with the town of Surfside’s argument it has the right to inspect the site if it feels there’s a safety issue.
Judge Hanzman asked surfside’s attorney, “Basically, what you’re arguing is you have a right to go on that a property for any governmental purpose?”
City of Surfside attorney Erik Hockman replied, “Within the restrictions of the law, your honor, yes”.
A good deal of time was spent on zoning of the Champlain Towers South. The possibility it could be rezoned.
A rezoned site could theoretically reduce the size of the site which could reduce the value of the land.
That didn’t sit well with the judge or a former owner of a condo in the south tower.
“I was somewhat dismayed to hear the town of surfside in the wake of this tragedy would take any action or even think about taking any action that could have an affect of diminishing the value of this property”, said Hanzman.
Former condo owner, Oren Cytrynbaum, who was pretty irritated said, “The fact that surfside may be culpable and have liability from a negligence standpoint and I hate to say it, even criminal negligence would do anything except try to work with us side by side with us owners to increase the value. Every dollar counts in this situation”.
The judge said he “Will not” approve the sale of the land if its total price doesn’t meet his expectations.
Many survivors sat in on the zoom hearing.
Some survivors and family members suggest a land swap. They requested the current site of the collapse be used for a new community center which would house a memorial for those killed.
The land where the old community center now sits could be sold to compensate survivors and family members.
Judge Hanzman instructed Goldberg to look into it.