First lawsuit filed over Miami-area building collapse

The first lawsuit has been filed over the collapse of a residential building in the Miami-area that left at least four people dead.

The lawsuit filed by the Brad Sohn Law Firm on Thursday seeks $5 million in damages from the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association, according to a copy shared with The Hill.

The complaint was first reported by Local10.

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The suit claims that the collapse occurred “due to the inadequate protection of both the safety of residents and visitors to the building.”

The building collapsed in the early hours of Thursday morning, leading to the destruction of 55 out of more than 130 units.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D) said Friday that at least four people have died, 159 are unaccounted for and 120 are accounted for, though she noted that the numbers were “fluid.”

The complaint was filed on behalf of Manuel Drezner, who it said owns and lives in a unit in the building.

It alleges that the association “disregarded the rights” of the residents by not taking reasonable safety measures to ensure the building was safe, and failing to disclose when it was not.

The suit cites public statements made by the association’s attorney, Ken Direktor, who acknowledged that certain repairs needed to be made on the building.

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“According to public statements made by Defendant’s attorney Ken Director, ‘repair needs had been identified’ with regard to certain structural issues but had not been implemented,” the complaint states. “One of the most breathtakingly frightening tragedies in the history of South Florida followed.”

In a statement to The Hill, Sohn said “as a lawyer, I can’t fix what is irreparable. But what I can do is fight to immediately fully compensate these victims so that they can focus all of their energy on healing as best they can.”

The Hill has reached out to the association and Direktor for comment.