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Death toll rises to 12 in Surfside building collapse


Lawyers representing a resident of Champlain Towers South who is suing the building’s condominium association have begun the process of subpoenaing documents from an engineering firm that had been hired to complete repairs on the building after conducting a 2018 survey. 

The lawyers have also formally said they intend to request documents from the condominium association pertaining to the building’s integrity and other matters, according to Brad Sohn, an attorney on the case.

Both requests for discovery — a routine step in a civil lawsuit like this — were detailed in filings before the Florida court where the class action case is being heard. They were not yet available via a public docket. Sohn provided the filing related to the engineering firm to CNN.

The suit, on behalf of Manuel Drezner who lived in unit 1009 of the tower, was filed on Thursday, making it the first civil action after the building’s collapse earlier that day. 

Sohn said his firm has talked to a number of other residents of the tower in recent days who have expressed interest in joining the suit. Morabito Consultants, the engineering firm, is not a defendant in the suit, which was levied against the condominium association.

The subpoena that’s included in the filing is requesting “all documents, electronic records, and communications that refer, relate to, or concern Champlain Towers South and Champlain Towers South Condominium Association, Inc” from the engineering firm.

In the filing, the lawyers also say they intend to subpoena similar documents from the town of Surfside, Florida, where the tower that collapsed is located, as well as other companies in the south Florida area connected to the building, including contractors who studied moisture levels on the building’s roof.

Frank Moribato, the president of Morabito Consultants, found “major structural damage” to an area of concrete beneath the building’s pool deck during a 2018 inspection and was hired by the condominium association in 2019 to complete repairs.

The filing shared with CNN amounts to a notification to the court and the condominium association that Drezner, the plaintiff, is planning to issue the subpoenas. After a 10-day wait period, the subpoenas will likely be issued, giving the recipients 15 days to produce the requested documents.

 



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