Favorable Trial Result – Architecture – Broward County

West Palm Beach Partner, Dan Levin and Miami Partners George Truitt and Michael Brand recently obtained a favorable result in a three-week jury trial in Fort Lauderdale.

Their client, an architect, was hired to design commercial, retail, and apartment buildings to launch a 12-acre community in St. Lucie West. Plaintiff claimed the architect “knee capped” the development by terminating the contracts for all three buildings midway through the project because the design fees were too low and unprofitable. The developer claimed construction of the buildings was delayed, causing it to miss the steep rise in apartment rental rates after Covid.

The architect countered that the developer had no Florida development experience and caused the delays by significantly underbudgeting the job and having no definite plan, schedule, or market-driven deadline to complete the buildings. When the developer understood the real costs, it abandoned the project to avoid a loss, and waited for the market to improve.

The developer asked the jury for $4.2 million in extended carrying costs and increased construction costs. The architect brought modest counterclaim for $6,000 in unpaid design fees.

After a two-day deliberation, the jury awarded the developer $42k, offset by $6k on the counterclaim, for a net result of $36k. Plaintiff will owe several hundred thousand dollars on the expired PFS.

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