Fla. Court Names Lead Attys In Surfside Condo Collapse Suits

By Carolina Bolado

July 16, 2021

Attorneys from Kozyak Tropin Throckmorton, Podhurst Orseck PA, Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen PA and The Moskowitz Law Firm will oversee the economic loss, wrongful death and personal injury claims arising from the Surfside condominium collapse under an attorney leadership structure approved by a Florida judge Friday.

At a hearing in Miami, Judge Michael Hanzman signed off on the proposal by Kozyak Tropin partner Harley Tropin, who had been tasked by the court with putting together a team that would lead two proposed classes of victims.

Adam Moskowitz and Kozyak Tropin’s Javier Lopez are the lead lawyers for the proposed class of victims who lost property when the 12-story Champlain Towers South building collapsed on June 24. Podhurst Orseck’s Ricardo Martinez-Cid will lead the subclass of plaintiffs who also have personal injury or wrongful death claims, with Curtis Miner of Colson Hicks Eidson and StuartGrossman of Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen as liaison counsel.

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Judge Plans To Move Quickly On Sale Of Surfside Property

July 14, 2021

The judge overseeing litigation over the condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, told attorneys Wednesday that he intends to move forward quickly with a sale of the property where the building once stood in order to maximize recovery for victims.

In a hearing in Miami, Judge Michael Hanzman said he is “not interested in a prolonged negotiation” regarding the Champlain Towers South property and instructed the receiver for the condominium association to begin the process of setting up an auction of the property.

He acknowledged that there had been talk of creating a memorial park in the space, where at least 95 died when the building collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24. But he said the victims would not be sacrificing potential funds to build the park.

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Miami-Dade judge approves pursuing sale of Surfside property that is site of condo collapse

By Jay Weaver

July 14, 2021

Hundreds of victims of the deadly collapse of a Surfside condo building could expect to see compensation in the near future, as a Miami-Dade Circuit judge Wednesday approved the planned sale of the oceanfront property, valued at more than $100 million, as well as the disbursement of millions more in insurance payments for property and personal damages.

Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman told a courtroom packed with civil attorneys that he wanted to start the process of putting the site of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South up for sale immediately. He also wants the court-appointed receiver for its condominium association to begin disbursing millions of dollars in insurance payments to former owners of the 136-unit building.

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Surfside condo collapse prompts industry changes

Tragedy in South Florida sends aftershocks rippling across the country

July 12, 2021

By Katherine Kallergis

Raysa Rodriguez, 59, described the moment she was awakened by the collapsing northeast portion of her Surfside condo building, home to more than 50 units.

The tower “swayed like a sheet of paper,” Rodriguez said, according to a lawsuit filed on her behalf. It was 1:30 a.m. on June 24, and she fled. After making it to an outdoor stairwell, she was faced with the devastation that had been Champlain Towers South.

“The beachside of Champlain had collapsed, pancaked,” she recounted in the complaint. “I screamed in horror.”

At least 90 people died in the disaster, according to the latest count, with dozens of others still unaccounted for. The collapse of the tower, where a 2018 inspection identified design and structural flaws, has sent aftershocks reverberating across the country as residents of buildings from Miami Beach to California are alerting engineers and inspectors to cracked concrete, rusty rebar and water leaks.

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‘Frustrating’: Miami Litigators React as Courthouse Closed Indefinitely Amid Safety Concerns

By Melea VanOstrand

July 12, 2021

All judges and court staff based at the Miami-Dade County Courthouse are back to working remotely until further notice after an engineer’s report identified safety concerns on various floors of the 28-story historic building.

It’s a development that’s thrown the court’s reopening process into limbo and added to mounting concerns over the safety of Miami high-rises, as the review was prompted by the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside on June 24.

The June 30 inspection, by South Florida general contracting and engineering firm U.S. Structures Inc., uncovered visible signs of concrete spalling and cracks in some of the overhead beams and slabs, corrosion at steel column members and a water leak seeping through an existing beam on the third floor.

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South Florida Firms Join Forces For Condo Collapse Class Action, Attracting Potential Class Members

By Melea VanOstrand

June 29, 2021

Within days of filing the first lawsuit over the partial collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, plaintiffs attorney Brad Sohn of The Brad Sohn Law Firm in Coral Gables has partnered with a larger firm specializing in complex commercial litigation.

Sohn will handle the case with Kozyak, Tropin & Throckmorton, based in Miami and Coral Gables.

The proposed class action accuses the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association of negligence. Since it landed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court Thursday, Sohn said he’s lined up more than 20 clients and is in talks with more.

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Businesses And Crypto: Finding The Value And Managing The Big Risks

By Erik Sherman 

June 29, 2021

The good news for cryptocurrency is that El Salvador decided to adopt it as legal tender and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision issued a proposal to let banks handle digital assets like Bitcoin.

The bad news for corporations? Multiple. When something is legal tender, you must have a way to handle it; the banking proposal shows how unpredictable the values of cryptocurrencies are; a major crypto exchange is getting hit hard by countries refusing to allow it entry, and, as Tesla may well show, when a company holds crypto and the price drops, it can mean a balance sheet hit, even if the coin rises in value again.

Cryptocurrencies are an interesting and developing intersection of finance and technology. But corporations, even when exploring opportunities, must respect and manage risk. There’s plenty of it going around with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and all the other coins and associated exchanges.

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How Private Is Your Health Data?

By Stephanie Watson

June 24, 2021

Many of the health monitoring activities we used to do in our doctor’s office have moved into the digital world. Smart watches and apps track our sleep, workouts, diet, and stress levels. We use online portals to check test results, refill prescriptions, and make doctor’s appointments.

Having so much personal health information floating around in cyberspace raises important privacy issues. Just who has access to our digital health data, and what could they do with it?

Although nearly two-thirds of Americans say they like being able to manage their health on their devices, most are concerned about the security of their personal data. Though there’s good reason to worry, there are also ways to protect your digital health data.

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Attorney Compensation, Arrest Booking Photos: Florida Governor Signs Bills Affecting Lawyers

By Michael A. Mora

June 22, 2021

The Florida governor signed nearly 45 bills into law on Monday, with at least five that will impact the legal profession.

Among the new laws is CS/HB 625, which requires lawyers to provide a set of disclosures to the personal representative or trustee in probate or trust administration services if the attorney intends to charge a fee using the statutory fee schedule.

Javier Lopez, a partner at Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton in Miami, said transparency is always a win for attorneys in their profession.

“The takeaway is you better have lawyers that know what they’re doing,” Lopez said about CS/HB 625. “In these types of bills, you see an excuse or harmless-error exception. But the bill does not seem to have that exception. So if the lawyer does not make these disclosures, the attorney may not be paid for his or her legal services without prior court approval.”

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‘Thank Heavens’: Miami-Dade Expanding In-Person Trials, Other Court Proceedings

By Michael A. Mora

June 8, 2021

The Miami-Dade Circuit Court released an advisory Tuesday acknowledging the Florida Supreme Court’s unprecedented expansion of in-person court proceedings, starting later this month.

“The Florida Supreme Court has established a window from June 21 to Aug. 2 for the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, such as the wearing of masks and social distancing in Florida’s courts,” Chief Circuit Judge Bertila Soto said. “Thanks to this new guidance, we are happy to announce that we will be expanding in-person trials and other court proceedings in the near future.”

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