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Brannock Humphries & Berman Secures Summary-Judgment Reversals in Complex Commercial Case

In an appeal filled with interesting real-estate issues, Brannock Humphries & Berman successfully persuaded the Second District Court of Appeal to overturn two summary judgments entered for the developer of a retail, residential, and marina project in Lee County.

The firm represented an entity that bought a large portion of the development in 2017. Soon after, disputes arose about parking rights and a fuel system straddling the boundary between property still owned by the developer and property now owned by Brannock Humphries & Berman’s client. The parking dispute turned on the meaning of a 2003 reciprocal easement, while the fuel dispute presented fact-intensive questions about the location, ownership, and operation of the fuel system. The trial court resolved both disputes in the developer’s favor, including a finding that the easement disappeared when the developer sold one of the parcels.

After Brannock Humphries & Berman simplified the controversy in the briefs and presented a compelling oral argument, the Second District reversed the trial court’s decision. The appellate court adopted Brannock Humphries & Berman’s position about the meaning of the parking easement, deciding that issue as a matter of law and reinstating the easement. The court also held that factual disputes precluded summary judgment on the fuel issue. The result is a stunning turnaround from the parties’ positions prior to appeal.