Appeals court upholds lower court decision in dispute over Heron's Landing condos

By Chandra Lye | Dec 30, 2018

TALLAHASSEE — A Florida appeals court has affirmed the decision of a lower court in a dispute over the condition of condominium units in Jacksonville.

“Appellant contends that the trial court erroneously admitted extrapolation evidence and erred in failing to grant its motion for a directed verdict,” the First District Court of Appeals in the State of Florida stated in its decision

D.R, Horton Inc. filed the appeal noting six issues of contention. However, the appeals court only found merit in two of the six issues.

It was claimed there were no actual damages as a result of alleged building code violations and failed to present evidence the appellant knew or should have known of the code violations. The project in questions was a 240-unit, 20-building condominium project called Heron’s Landing.

“Appellee alleged that appellant violated the Florida Building Code breached warranties and was negligent in its construction fo the project,” the court decision stated.

“The jury found that appellant breached the implied warranty of fitness and merchantability, which was the legal cause of loss or damage to appellee,” it said.

The total amount of damages awarded by a jury was $9.6 million, according to court documents.

“Appellant’s own project supervisor acknowledge several defects and testified that had he seen or known about them, he would have had them remedied prior to the completion of the project. Therefore, we reject appellants argument that appellee failed to present evidence of actual damages,” according to the court decision.

In addition, the court decision noted that numerous homeowners testified about various problems they experienced with their units.

“The testimony certainly supported the jury’s determination that the units did not meet the ordinary, normal standards that were reasonable to be expected of living quarters of comparable kind of quality. Thus, the trial court did not err in denying appellant’s motion for directed verdict on this ground,” the court decision said. 

“We find no error in the trial court’s admission of appellee’s expert testimony or in its denial of appellant’s motion for a directed verdict.”

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