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Brannock Humphries & Berman Wins Affirmance of $7 Million Judgment in Contentious Construction Dispute

In a per curiam affirmance, the Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld a jury’s award of damages to the homeowner’s association of a prominent Orlando-area community to fix the poorly constructed roadways and major drainage problems caused by the developer.

When the developer turned control of the Alaqua Lakes subdivision over to the association, the homeowners noticed that the roadways were critically substandard in many respects.  The roads have suffered from severe cracking, significant drainage problems, and other groundwater issues.  The homeowners brought suit, and after a decade of litigation and a three-week trial, the jury found that the developer breached its fiduciary duty to properly develop the community and was negligent in its construction of the roads and underdrains.  The developer then appealed.

The developer’s appellate arguments centered on how much of the $7.36 million in damages awarded by the trial court it should have to pay.  In particular, because the jury apportioned some fault to the homeowner’s association, the developer argued that the damages should be reduced.  The developer also argued that some of the damages should be apportioned to the engineers and contractors it hired to assist in the construction of the subdivision.  Finally, the developer challenged the award of prejudgment interest that was designed to compensate the association for the time value of money, to ensure that the damages would allow the association to cover the cost of repairs.

Building on the work of the Morgan & Morgan trial team, Brannock Humphries & Berman filed an extensive brief on behalf of the homeowners addressing the procedural and substantive flaws with each of the developer’s arguments.  Brannock Humphries & Berman also handled the oral argument held via Zoom in late July.  Less than two weeks later, the Fifth District fully affirmed the trial court’s judgment.  The homeowners will finally now be able to undertake the necessary repairs.