Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 2008 Litigation Updates

There has not been a post on this Blog since mid-March, when we were headed into the 22 BUD hearings. The BUD hearings took place in March, but more on that later). The Third DCA struck Monroe County's Answer Brief in the Collins appeal, and the County filed an amended brief. Mr. Tobin and I also spent a lot of time preparing for a week-long trial in Florida DEP v. West, et al., a "condemnation blight" North Key Largo case the State filed 13 years ago.

The West trial starts May 19th at the Plantation Key courthouse. One reason it took so long to get to trial was our 1996 counterclaim for inverse condemnation, based on condemnation blight. We contended that the moratoria imposed on North Key Largo, starting on February 9, 1982, had "frozen" the Landowners' rights to develop the subject property. Eventually, the State "took" the property in 2004, and we converted our counterclaim into a Motion in Limine. Judge Garcia entered his now-famous condemnation blight order last year. The only thing left to be done is the jury trial on compensation, using the 1982 land development regulations as the basis for appraisal. In 2004 the State deposited $550,000 and $80,000 into the registry of the court in order to take title of the West and Richardson properties.

"Condemnation Blight" was not restricted to North Key Largo. It applies to most of the Florida Keys. The State has vowed to appeal Judge Garcia's decision and, assuming it does and we win, we can start applying the concept throughout the Florida Keys.

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