A Look at Major US Legal Settlements Under Surfside’s $1 Billion Deal

SURFSIDE, Florida — The proposed settlement of more than $1 billion in compensation for the 98 people who died in a Florida condominium collapse is far from the largest in US history.

Even adding the $96 million offered to landowners in the Champlain Towers South disaster would not bring it closer to the largest legal deals of its kind.

A judge gave initial agreement approval Saturday. Final approval is expected in the coming weeks for the settlements, which stemmed from lawsuits filed after the 12-story beachfront building fell last June in Surfside. The exact causes of the collapse remain to be determined.

Other major U.S. legal regulations include:


A victim compensation fund created after the September 11, 2001 attacks has paid out more than $7 billion to approximately 5,500 individuals and families who were injured or lost loved ones. The program was due to expire in December 2020 but was renewed by Congress for decades to come, in part because so many 9/11-related illnesses don’t show up right away.


The Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig explosion in 2010 that killed 11 people spilled tens of millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, dirtying beaches, ruining fisheries and killing birds. This resulted in a $20.8 billion settlement, the largest involving the environment in history, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The money goes to a variety of programs. BP, which owns and operates the platform, also paid $4 billion in criminal fines for violating the Clean Water Act.


The 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement between four cigarette companies, the federal government and 46 states requires companies to pay $206 billion over 25 years and an additional $9 billion each year thereafter. Four states, including Florida, have their own deals with tobacco companies. Much of the money goes to help states manage the long-term health costs of smoking.


In 1998, Dow Corning Corp. settled a class action lawsuit by agreeing to pay approximately $3.2 billion to a estimated at 170,000 women who have reported injuries and illnesses caused by silicone breast implants.


Shareholders of the defunct Enron Corp. reached a $7.2 billion settlement in 2008 after a huge accounting fraud scandal was uncovered, showing how the company’s profits had been misrepresented. Enron, which once had some 29,000 employees, declared bankruptcy and essentially ceased operations in December 2001.

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