Florida Record

Monday, April 6, 2020

Federal court dismisses real estate company's amended complaint


By John Suayan | Feb 27, 2020

Wikimedia Commons/Greenmars

A Florida federal court approved a home construction company’s motion to toss a St. Lucie-based real estate entity’s amended complaint against it.

In a seven-page order issued Feb. 3, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida determined that West Coast Investors (WCI), LLC’s first amended complaint “failed to state a claim with respect to each count” as asserted by D.R. Horton, Inc.

WCI sued Horton in connection with the defendant’s supposed failure to construct homes on the lots it purchased from the plaintiff. According to the order, WCI “claims Horton’s misrepresentations regarding the rate at which homes would be constructed have damaged WCI in the form of lost revenue.”

Horton had the case removed, to which WCI filed the complaint that is the focus of the order.

U.S. District Judge Robin L. Rosenberg wrote that the plaintiff failed to successfully prop the negligent misrepresentation claim in its amended complaint. The order explains that such claim under Florida law requires the following: “(1) a misrepresentation of a material fact that the defendant believed to be true but which was in fact false; (2) that defendant should have known the representation was false; (3) the defendant intended to induce the plaintiff to rely on the misrepresentation; and (4) the plaintiff acted in justifiable reliance upon the misrepresentation, resulting in injury.”

The court also ruled that WCI failed to back its fraud in the inducement assertion. A builder’s agreement stating “all prior discussions, negotiations and agreements regarding the subject matter of this [A]greement are merged herein and shall have no further force or effect” does not help the cause.

“Accordingly, Counts One and Two are dismissed with prejudice with respect to any alleged representation occurring prior to the parties’ execution of the Builder’s Agreement,” Rosenberg wrote.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Case No. 2:19-cv-14360

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