Dueling lawsuits have been added to the growing amount of litigation arising from the collapse of the Champlain Towers condominium building in Surfside, Florida, but the latest suits could have a significant impact on insurers’ payouts for the deadly disaster.
National Fire Insurance Co. of Hartford and Continental Casualty Co. have filed suit against Morabito Consultants, citing arguments by condo owners and residents that the engineering and architectural firm failed to provide a renovation plan for the troubled 12-story condo building, according to court papers and a news report by The Miami Herald. The insurers have denied coverage claims by residents and by Morabito, and filed the suit to support their arguments.
In turn, Morabito has sued the insurance companies, arguing that the engineers did, in fact, complete a structural safety report in 2018 and a restoration plan that was under way when the tower collapsed in June.
With limited amounts of money to divide among the 98 people who died and the 136 owners who lost their units, the dispute over the consultant’s insurance coverage could make a substantial difference in how much money the victims can collect, the newspaper reported.
Several other insurance companies have agreed to pay in full the association’s property damage and personal injury claims, totaling about $50 million.
A spokesman for Morabito Consultants criticized the two insurers for denying the claims. The engineering company “believes all relevant and necessary parties should be included in any litigation related to insurance coverage,” he said. “That includes the condo association and those parties representing the victims.”
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