Firm shareholder Georg Ketelhohn is quoted in an article in today’s Daily Business Review discussing the firm’s efforts on behalf of the condominium association for the 537-unit Midtown Doral in its construction defect lawsuit against the community’s developer, builders and design professionals. The firm’s suit, which was filed in December, alleges defects including leaky plumbing with erratic water pressure, rooftop pools of rainwater on the roof, and exposed rebar in cracked concrete.
Located at Northwest 107th Avenue and 74th Street, Midtown Doral was completed in 2016 with four eight-story condo buildings and 70,000 square feet of retail space.
The firm’s lawsuit on behalf of the association is against general contractor Delant Construction Co. in Miami, architectural firm Pascual, Perez, Kiliddjian & Associates in Doral, and MD Residential II LLC, an affiliate used by the development partnership. The suit alleges breach of implied warranties against the developer and general contractor as well as a professional negligence count against the architect.
Firm shareholders Helio De La Torre and Lindsey Thurswell Lehr, together with associate Berenice M. Mottin-Berger, have worked for more than four years in representing the BrickellHouse Condominium Association in litigation over the property’s failed robotic parking garage. Their work yielded a truly exceptional result last week when a Miami-Dade Circuit Court jury awarded the association $40,590,990 in damages against BrickellHouse Holding LLC, the developer of the 46-story tower in Miami’s Brickell area, and many of South Florida’s most respected media organizations took notice. The verdict yielded major articles this week in the Miami Herald, Daily Business Review, South Florida Business Journal, The Real Deal and Law 360 about the trial team’s success in demonstrating to the jury that the developer, a subsidiary of Newgard Development Group, breached statutory warranties owed to the association and its unit owners.
“The association has been left without parking for its residents in the promised 480 vehicle garage since November 2015,” explained De La Torre to reporters after the verdict. “Since that date, residents have been parking offsite and incurring increased costs due to the failed robotic parking system sold by the developer. The board of directors and a team of consultants have worked very hard to find a solution for the garage and bring the owners the justice they deserve.”
Thurswell Lehr concluded:
“As a result of the verdict, the condominium association will now be able to move forward with the replacement of the garage in order to restore the parking for the building that the owners and residents deserve.”
BrickellHouse is located at 1300 Brickell Bay Drive and features 374 residences. The 46-story tower was one of the first post-recession condo buildings constructed in the Brickell area. After its completion in October 2014, the problems with the 480-space robotic parking system were immediately apparent. The developer retained control of the condominium association through September 2015, and the robotic parking system was completely shut down in November 2015.
Below is a video depicting how the garage was designed to use a fleet of autonomous robots that move beneath the vehicles to lift and move them throughout the building and elevators. Click here to read the Miami Herald article in the newspaper’s website, click here for the Daily Business Review article (registration required) and click here for The Real Deal.
An article authored by shareholders Lindsey Thurswell Lehr and Susan C. Odess was featured as the “My View” guest commentary column in the Business Monday section of today’s Miami Herald. The article, which is titled “Lawsuits by Condo Associations Against Neighboring Developers, Builders Are New Norm,” focuses on the spate of recent lawsuits against South Florida condominium developers and general contractors alleging their construction work caused physical damage to neighboring condominium towers. Their article reads:
. . . This new litigation trend appears to have especially taken hold in South Florida, where several prominent condominium developers and contractors have been sued by adjacent associations for damages emanating from their construction sites. The lawsuits raise claims for structural damage, fallen stucco, splattered paint, excessive dirt, broken glass/windows, and other damage resulting from the construction practices of neighboring developments.
The insurer for the 1060 Brickell Condominium Towers brought a lawsuit alleging construction debris from Panorama, 1010 Brickell and the Bond damaged the two 1060 Brickell buildings. The lawsuit claims that the construction activities at these properties damaged 1060 Brickell’s facade, balconies, railings, pool deck, roof, cooling tower and other components.
The entire development team behind the ultra-luxe Porsche Design Tower faced a similar lawsuit brought by the association for the adjacent Millennium Condominium. The association alleged that its building suffered millions of dollars in damage caused by the Porsche Tower’s construction next door, including extensive cracks to the lobby, parking garage and pool deck. Engineers concluded that the cracks were caused by excessive vibrations from the pile-driving equipment used for the neighboring tower’s foundation, and the suit also alleged concrete overspray splattered onto Millennium’s balconies, ruining the building’s paint job and related exterior components.