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Lawsuit filed against Surfside condo association by resident who survived collapse

Workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday's fatal collapse. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday's fatal collapse. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

SURFSIDE, Fla. – A lawsuit was filed over the weekend by a resident who survived Thursday’s partial building collapse at Champlain Towers South in Surfside.

The lawsuit was filed Saturday on behalf of Steve Rosenthal, who lived in Unit 705. It is the second known lawsuit to be filed after the collapse.

According to the complaint, the association knew or should have known “the entire structure was deteriorating and becoming susceptible to catastrophic loss by collapse.”

Rosenthal is seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

“The tragedy of Champlain Towers South should not be allowed to be repeated,” Rosenthal’s attorney Bob McKee said in a statement to ABC News. “It is not a solitary freak event.

“The conditions relating to its collapse exist in many of our hi-rise concrete buildings. Change to effectuate more frequent inspection, with teeth in compelling immediate complete and timely repair must be effectuated. Otherwise, we will have other events such as the horrible failure and collapse we have all witnessed at Champlain Towers South. The last thing we want to see is more harm, in either slow water damaged building health damage, or in instantaneous building failure.”

The lawsuit states that the association had a duty to hire “competent contractors, inspectors, engineers, and other appropriate persons and corporations to perform its required maintenance and repair duties if it was not performing the activities itself.”

Rosenthal’s lawsuit comes days after a $5 million class action lawsuit was filed on behalf of another resident, Manuel Drezner and “on behalf of all others similarly situated.”

That complaint also alleges that the condominium association failed to “secure and safeguard the lives and property” of those who live at the building.

Officials, on their end, have been cautious to point fingers at anyone at this time, saying the primary focus needs to be on rescuing any possible survivors and recovering bodies from the rubble.

They say a final determination on the cause of the collapse with take an extended period of time.


About the Author:

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.