Judge: legal costs in Florida condo collapse may reach $100M

98 were killed in the Champlain Towers South collapse

FILE - In this Friday, June 25, 2021, file photo, rescue workers work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Fla. The fight over whether the site of June's deadly Florida condominium collapse should be sold for development or turned into a memorial boiled over during an emotional court hearing Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021, with some victims' relatives begging for time to find a buyer who won't put a new luxury high-rise there.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Gerald Herbert, Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The legal fees and costs associated with the deadly collapse of a Florida beachfront condominium building could reach $100 million, a judge said Friday.

That's why Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman urged all sides to work toward mediated settlements of numerous claims arising from the Champlain Towers South disaster.

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“Put forth a Herculean effort to settle these claims if possible,” Hanzman said at a hearing held remotely. “This court cannot force parties resolve their disputes.”

The 12-story condo building collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24, killing 98 people and destroying the structure in Surfside, Florida. There are claims for wrongful death and for property loss that could take years to resolve, including possible appeals, without some kind of settlement.

Champlain Towers was in the midst of its 40-year structural review when it collapsed, triggering multiple federal and state investigations and a flurry of lawsuits by victims, families and condo owners.

The lead investigating agency is the National Institute for Standards and Technology, which recently estimated its probe could take as long as two years.

Trial date for the lawsuit is currently set for March 2023.