Judge Who Oversaw Collapsed Condo Case Steps Down

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Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman, who presided over the court case following the deadly collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Fla., is resigning from the bench. 

Hanzman, whose term was set to expire in 2025, will depart at the end of the month. “It was time to move on” after the Champlain class-action lawsuit ended, the judge told the Miami Herald

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Together, the injured survivors and family members of the victims received about $1.1 billion as part of a blockbuster settlement reached just over a year after the condo’s building failure, which killed 98. 

Hansman is widely credited for bringing about a speedy legal resolution to the tragedy, which could serve as a model for how the justice system handles the aftermath of mass casualty catastrophes.

The 62-year-old judge has not yet decided on his next move, he told the Herald

Hanzman joined the Florida 11th Circuit in 2011 as a judge, appointed by then Gov. Rick Scott, then later won re-election. The judge, who graduated from University of Florida’s law school, had worked as a civil trial attorney, practicing complex commercial litigation for over 25 years.

Hanzman has also become a known quantity in Miami real estate, overseeing legal battles between high-profile developers. 

In 2019, Hanzman tossed out a lawsuit that Dacra founder and CEO Craig Robins had filed against Ugo Colombo and his development firm CMC Group. Robins accused Colombo of  bribing a jury member, who had sided in Colombo’s favor in a dispute over the developers’ shared private jet. 

Last year, Hanzman ordered the demolition of the historic, oceanfront Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach, which had remained closed since 2017 following an electrical fire.

Julia Echikson can be reached at jechikson@commercialobserver.com