The cause of the collapse remains unknown, and Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava promised that a full investigation would follow the completion of any search and rescue or recovery operations.
However, residents have already started to demand justice and compensation for their significant losses following the collapse of Champlain Tower South.
At least 159 people remain unaccounted for and at least four people have been confirmed deceased due to the collapse.
Unit owner Manuel Drezner reached out to an attorney, Brad Sohn, as soon as Thursday morning – right after the collapse had occurred, CBS 4 Miami reported.
“The lawsuit that we filed, so far, is a class action lawsuit on behalf of all unit owners, seeking compensation for their completely destroyed homes,” Sohn said.
Sohn’s class action lawsuit will seek $5 million in compensation from the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association.
The lawsuit claims the Association was responsible for the upkeep on the building, which Drezner – and others – accuse the group of failing to do.
“It’s my understanding that there were credible complaints and significant concerns raised by people who were close to the situation several years prior to this happening,” Sohn said.
He therefore claims that the Association “could have prevented the collapse of Champlain Towers South through the exercise of ordinary care, safety measures and oversight.”
Other lawsuits are likely to follow.
The complaints and concerns arise from a previous 2015 lawsuit by a resident, Matilde Fainstein, in which she cited water damage due to cracks in the outer wall of the building, and a 2018 safety report that noted a number of cracks and areas of damage in the building’s façade.
The Champlain Tower Condominium Complex, constructed in 1981, was due to recertify this year as part of a 40-year required inspection.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.