A new lawsuit filed in the deadly collapse of a Florida beachfront condo building blames the construction of another high-rise next door for the tragedy that killed 98 people.
The suit, filed late Tuesday, alleges that the June 24 collapse of Champlain Towers South was caused by vibrations from the construction of the adjacent Eighty Seven Park Tower, WFOR-TV reported.
The lawsuit claims the fallen tower “was an older building in need of repairs and maintenance, but it was not until excavation and construction began on the luxury high-rise condominium next door” that it became unsafe. “The collapse was entirely preventable.”
It alleges that excavation, pile-driving and other construction work at the site of the new high-rise further compromised the aging Champlain building next door, WFOR said.
Champlain Towers South was in the midst of a required 40-year structural review and on the verge of a $15 million upgrade when it collapsed.
A 2018 engineering report flagged “major structural damage” at the site, particularly in a pool deck atop an underground garage where experts believe the foundation gave way.
But the new 169-page suit notes that vibrations from the work next door and groundwater runoff from a road between the two properties fueled the collapse.
In a statement to the news outlet, David Weinstein, an attorney for the developers of the neighboring building, denied work there played any role in the tragedy.
“As numerous media reports have documented, Champlain Towers South was improperly designed, poorly constructed, significantly underfunded, and inadequately maintained and repaired,” Weinstein said.
“We expect a full review of the facts — and the ongoing investigation by (the National Institute for Standards and Technology) — will affirm our position,” he added.
NIST officials said a full review of the Champlain collapse could take up to two years.
The new lawsuit, filed as a class-action claim, is just the latest legal action taken by survivors and relatives of victims of the doomed building.
It does not identify a monetary figure for damages sought.