Another lawsuit has been filed against the condo association after deadly collapse in Surfside

The lawsuit, filed on Monday on behalf of Raysa Rodriguez, a resident who lives on the ninth floor of the Champlain Towers South building, as well as other residents in a similar location, said the condominium company had an obligation to keep the building in a safe place Maintain condition and good working condition.

“Despite the obvious duties required by Florida law, and this recognized duty of care through the Association’s Declaration and other relevant documents, the Defendant, through its own reckless and negligent conduct, caused a catastrophic fatal collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside.” it alleged in the application.

In filing the lawsuit, Rodriguez is seeking class action status to represent all those affected by the tragedy and asking the court to help preserve all materials so all culprits can be held accountable.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff is demanding unspecified monetary damage and a jury trial. This is the third lawsuit against the housing association.

CNN’s calls to the Champlain Towers South housing company for comment were not answered.

On Monday night, the condominium association lawyer appeared live on CNN’s “Cuomo Prime Time”.

“The board is already in the process of hiring an engineer who will also try to find out what happened and they will look into who is responsible,” said lawyer Donna DiMaggio Berger.

Resident tells of “the devastation”

In the complaint, Rodriguez, who was asleep at the time of the collapse, tells of the devastation and the frantic race against time to evacuate when she realized that part of the building had disappeared.

“I looked to the left at the north end of the building. A concrete pillar had pierced the hall from floor to ceiling. I looked at the elevators. The elevator shafts were exposed, the doors were gone. I knocked on the doors of several neighbors, no answer. I ran to the exit, opened the doors that lead to the outside stairs and saw the devastation. The beach at Champlain had collapsed, pancakes. I screamed in horror, “explained Rodriguez in the complaint.

Bidens travels to Florida after a building collapseThe complaint alleges that the defendant failed to repair “major structural damage” as described in a structural field investigation report submitted to the defendant in 2018 by Morabito Consultants.

The lawsuit also alleges that a variety of factors may have played a role in the collapse, which left 11 people dead and dozens unexplained.

The complaint states that “improper materials were used in the construction of the building,” along with the weight of materials and construction equipment used to re-roof the building.

“If the defendant and / or its contractors had properly tested, inspected and assessed the structural integrity of the building prior to starting this work, this would likely not have occurred and would have contributed to the collapse,” the lawsuit states.

In an interview with CNN, one of Rodriguez’s lawyers, Adam Schwartzbaum, argued that the association had known for years that the building was in “critical” condition and that warning signs had been visible for more than a decade.

Rescuers search rubble on day six while families wait for answers about loved ones and the cause of the collapse

Schwartzbaum said his grandparents lived in Champlain for 30 years until they moved out about 10 years ago. He said his grandmother always complained that her car was getting water stains in the garage as if there was a leak. “She didn’t understand why her car was covered with water even though it was underground,” he said.

Regarding the 2018 report, which identified cracked concrete and other damage, Schwartzbaum said: “Surely there was a big red flag for at least three years … sirens flashed and warned the housing association of this danger.”

He said Rodriguez “recently” took a photo included in the complaint showing a crack in the concrete above their parking lot in the condominium’s garage. He said Rodriguez shared the photo with the association “after a huge piece of concrete landed behind her car … to try to get her attention.”

“Based on our research, there were many warning signs more than 10 years ago, maybe even longer. These are not things that were just a few years ago,” he said.

The lawsuit alleges the condominium association’s negligence and breach of contract for failing to “exercise reasonable care” in the administration, maintenance and repair of the Champlain Towers South condominium building. The “defendant knew or should have known that there was a significant and foreseeable risk of undue harm to the plaintiff and group members and their property,” the complaint states.

The first civil lawsuit was filed last week

The first civil lawsuit following the building’s collapse was a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of Manuel Drezner, who lived in Unit 1009 of the tower.

Lawyers representing the resident have begun subpoenaing documents from the engineering firm that completed the field investigation in 2018.

The attorneys said they intend to solicit documents from the homeowners association regarding the building’s integrity and other matters, according to Brad Sohn, an attorney on the case.

Both petitions for discovery – a routine step in a civil process like this one – were detailed on file in the Florida court where the class action lawsuit is being heard. They were not yet available via a public routing slip. Sohn provided the documentation relating to the engineering company to CNN.

Sohn said his company spoke to a number of other residents of the tower who have expressed an interest in joining the lawsuit. The engineering firm Morabito Consultants is not the defendant in the lawsuit brought against the homeowners association.

A copy of the subpoena included in the engineering firm’s filing requests, “a full copy of all your file from cover to cover,” including “all documents, electronic records and communications relating to Champlain Towers South and Champlain pertaining to it relate to or pertain to Towers South Condominium Association, Inc. “

The attorneys say on the file that they intend to subpoena similar documents from Surfside City, as well as other local businesses associated with the building, including contractors who have investigated the moisture on the building’s roof.

CNN’s David Shortell contributed to this report.

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