A condo owner whose unit was inside the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, has filed a class-action lawsuit against the condominium association, less than a day after the deadly collapse that killed four and left at least 159 people missing.
NBC Miami reported that Manuel Drezner, the condo owner, filed a lawsuit late on Thursday, around 22 hours after the tower collapsed. Drezner alleges the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association “disregarded the rights of Plaintiff and Class members by intentionally, willfully, recklessly, or negligently doing the following: failing to take adequate and reasonable measures to ensure the safety and protection of its residents and their property, failing to disclose to its residents and visitors that it did not have adequate safety measures in place to safeguard occupants of Champlain Towers South, failing to take available steps to prevent the catastrophic collapse of the building, and failing to monitor the building and activities that led to the collapse of the building, among other things.”
The lawsuit “seeks to compensate the victims of this unfathomable loss,” according to court documents that include an aerial photo of the collapsed building.
Drezner’s attorney, Brad Sohn told NPR, “This is devastating, and I have already learned some additional information that is stunning.”
The attorney added that he currently represents owners in the condo building but expects to represent renter’s as well. He also told NPR he expected injury-related lawsuits to be filed in response to the collapse.
Drezner’s lawsuit seeks damages of more than $5 million for the victims.
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The 40-year-old condo had been in the process of undergoing a recertification process, having hired an engineer to analyze the building.
The lawsuit quotes public statements made by Kenneth Direktor, who represents the condo association, saying that “repair needs had been identified” in the building’s structure before its horrific collapse.
As The Daily Wire’s Eric Quintanar reported, four people have been confirmed dead and 159 are still missing after the residential condo building partially collapsed early Thursday morning. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) signed an emergency order for Miami-Dade County in response to the partial collapse. The emergency order would make it easier for “officials to coordinate and direct resources — including federal resources — toward the response and recovery efforts, which rescue officials said involved over 80 units from around the U.S.,” Quintanar reported.
DeSantis wrote in the order that the partial collapse “resulted in fatalities and nearly 100 people remain unaccounted for,” adding that the 12-story building “has been destroyed and the remainder of the structure has been rendered uninhabitable.”
DeSantis visited the site of the collapse Thursday afternoon and said at the time that he hoped more people would be rescued from the rubble.
“The first responders were able to save a lot of people. They are going to be going through more and, you know, it’s a really, really tragic situation so we’ll hope for the best in terms of additional recoveries, although we are bracing for some bad news just given the destruction that we’re seeing,” he said.