51. Round Two: General Contractor Attains Legal Knock-Out of Wealthy Beachfront Owner

 

After three years of litigation, Mackey Law Group has attained a victory in the Florida Appeals Court for an Anna Maria general contractor!

As referenced in our January 2019 blog, a wealthy beachfront owner refused to pay a general contractor for the last draw on a remodeling contract. The beachfront owner then lawyered-up and embarked on a very expensive and nasty litigation path, all to avoid paying what was due to the contractor. The beachfront owner did the following:

  1. Put the general contractor through a multi-day trial using no less than three lawyers, only to seek to amend his claims after the general contractor had rested its case. And unbelievably, the Judge allowed the beachfront owner to amend and allowed a second trial!
  1. Between the first and second trials (which were 18 months apart due to the court’s calendar), the beachfront owner and his lawyers went to the two Anna Maria newspapers and attempted to win the litigation through the press;
  1. The beachfront owner and his lawyers also went to the City of Anna Maria and attempted to get the City to prosecute the general contractor for alleged permit violations on other remodel jobs that the general contractor had done over the past few years;
  1. The beachfront owner and his lawyers also contacted many of the general contractor’s ex-customers/homeowners on Anna Maria Island in an attempt to have them come testify against the general contractor at trial;
  1. Finally, the second trial took place right before Christmas in December 2018 before the same Manatee County Circuit Court Judge, who by this time had been voted out of office. This Judge had kept the case as his last act before leaving the bench. And, to make matters worse, the beachfront owner’s lawyers had been on the Judge’s ill-fated re-election committee and the Judge had denied the general contractor’s motion to recuse the Judge! Nevertheless, Mackey Law Group went into the ring again and won the case for the general contractor. The wealthy beachfront owner was ordered to pay tens of thousands of dollars to the general contractor.

But things did not stop there. The beachfront owner appealed the court’s decision the Florida Second District Court of Appeal. And, the appeal alone was not enough for the wealthy beachfront owner and his lawyers either, they also: (i) tried to convince the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office to prosecute the general contractor for fraud (when those claims had been soundly defeated at trial); and (ii) filed a complaint with the Florida Department of Professional Regulation (DBPR) for alleged contracting violations (those claims also having been defeated at trial). Not only were these two additional nasty tactics unsuccessful; in May 2020, the Florida Second District Court of Appeal affirmed (approved) the lower court’s ruling in favor of the general contractor! The second round thus ended in a legal knockout of the wealthy beachfront owner.

The lesson here? Never back down to a wealthy bully and his legal team. When you are right, you are right. Get to a good construction lawyer and defend your rights. Here at Mackey Law Group we have been successful construction litigators for thirty years. Hire the best.