Major defense verdict in high profile, high-falutin' Florida real estate case.
After pretrial activities that included 50 depositions, 50+ pretrial hearings, a gag order, motions for pretrial contempt, three spin-off lawsuits and more, it took a jury only 55 minutes to find our clients, a Master Property Owners' Association and its president, not guilty on 17 questions of liability. The case involved one of the largest and most affluent real estate developments in Florida, which is owned and controlled by a successful real estate developer. The clients were appointed to their positions by the developer. In 2007, several resident-elected board members and homeowners' associations banded together and filed a lawsuit asserting that the developer, his management company and the developer-appointed board members, including the clients, had been engaged in gross mismanagement and fraud, diverting millions of dollars from homeowners. The 15-count complaint included claims from virtually every aspect of operating a large 2,200-acre gated community. The trial lasted eight weeks; closing arguments took two days; and within one hour, the jury found no breach of bylaws or fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, fraud or conspiracy by the clients.