After almost a year of litigation, a near billion-dollar settlement was reached for the victims of the Miami Beach condo collapse of June 2021.
On Wednesday, a $997 million settlement was unexpectedly announced by lawyers representing the tenants of the Surfside condo in a class-action lawsuit, ABC News reports.
As the news came down during a routine status conference, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman said he was "speechless."
"That's incredible news," Hanzman said in a Florida courtroom. "I'm shocked by this result -- I think it's fantastic. This is a recovery that is far in excess of what I had anticipated."
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed and killed 98 people on June 24. 55 of the oceanfront building's 136 units were destroyed taking the lives of residents and tourists.
After an extensive search and rescue, the last victim's remains were identified over a month after the tragic incident.
Hanzman said in court, "Some of the victims can never recover from this loss and we know that."
The judge added that he's aiming to close the case as soon as possible.
"My goal was to do everything humanly possible to conclude this case by the first anniversary of the collapse," Hanzman said.
All of the money for the victims will go through the receivership, ABC News reports.