Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse closed because of flooding

Crews cleaning up damage, making necessary repairs

By Sanela Sabovic - Reporter

MIAMI - Crews have been busy since Tuesday night drying out and making all of the necessary repairs to the Lawson E. Thomas Courthouse in downtown Miami after it sustained serious flooding.

Meanwhile, people who went to the courthouse Wednesday for their hearings were forced to leave and told that the courthouse was closed.

"It's unfortunate because I had a family hearing that took four months to set, and now I'm faced with this," Jose Borge said. 

"It is unfortunate because I had to make arrangements for my children, and I had to take off the morning in order to get this accomplished," Martha Perez said. 

Attorney Raul Mantaner said his client drove all the way from Bradenton for his hearing.

"He woke up really early this morning to get here. It's about a three-hour drive, and (we) just found out this happened," Mantaner said. 

Mantaner said he wishes he was informed because it would have saved his client a lot of hassle.

"Maybe they do need a robo call or an email system, because I am on the clerk's email system. Something would have been nice," he said.

"A lot of times, when there is something that happens to the building or the judge is out, you'll get an email from the court. Apparently, they didn't send it out in this instance," another attorney, David Schottenfeld, said.

Tuesday's torrential downpours created quite a mess inside of the building.

A drain on the roof flooded over, putting a damper on all operations. Those inside were forced to evacuate, and now the building is shut down while crews clean up the damage and make necessary repairs.

"It's just a shame. We live in a tropical climate and we can't handle rain," Mantaner said. 

The courthouse will be closed on Thursday, as well. There is no timetable for when it will reopen.

Those who have hearings this week are urged to call 305-349-7777 to get more information about when the courthouse will reopen and when they will be able to reschedule their hearings.

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