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Florida Construction Law News

05NOV 2013

Construction Law Trial Win: Complete Defense Verdict in Seven Day Jury Trial

by Thomas Shea

The Florida law firm of Cole, Scott & Kissane, P.A. is pleased to announce that two of its construction lawyers (George Truitt and Greg Willis) obtained a complete defense verdict in a seven day jury trial in Miami-Dade County. Cole, Scott & Kissane P.A. represented a geotechnical engineer who was sued for professional malpractice by the developer landlord of a CVS site in Miami. When the developer turned the site over, CVS discovered that the site was not prepared in accordance with the terms of the ground lease. The defects included improper demucking of the site, neglecting to fill areas below the water line with gravel, and backfilling the site with material for the building pad and parking area that was materially different from the specifications.

Additional Factual Background of the Case

CVS claimed the developer landlord was in breach and threatened to cancel the lease. After negotiations, CVS re-excavated, demucked, and backfilled the entire site, incurring more than $500,000 in costs. The developer reimbursed CVS for the cost of reworking the site and sued the engineer for alleged deviations in the testing and inspection services.

Plaintiff’s Demand and the Jury Verdict

Complete Defense Verdict in Construction Defect Case
Complete Defense Verdict in Construction Defect Case
CSK’s Construction Lawyers, George Truitt and Greg Willis, were able to establish that the developer knowingly eliminated the gravel and changed the fill to a lesser quality material without CVS’s knowledge or consent. We were also able to establish that the developer and contractor disregarded the Quality Assurance plan recommended by the engineer. After two hours of deliberation, the jury found that the engineer did not breach the standard of care.

The plaintiff demanded nearly $500,000 for the diminished value of its ground lease. CSK had offered $125,000 in a proposal for settlement more than one year before the trial commenced. The plaintiff continues to hold the lease and the income stream from the lease against which a judgment in the engineer’s favor may be enforced.

Posted By Thomas Shea