Tampa, Fla. (August 2023) - Chance Lyman and Alex Dragovich recently prevailed on behalf of Buchanan clients in a quartet of litigation victories across a string of fraud lawsuits filed in 2021. At early-stage mediation, Plaintiffs demanded millions of dollars to settle the four claims. Lyman and Dragovich, led by Steven Pratico, obtained complete defense summary judgments in the four different lawsuits, which raised unique claims including fraud, conspiracy, breach of contract, misleading advertising, and violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.
In each of the lawsuits, Plaintiffs alleged Defendants failed to disclose prior geological related to real property. Our clients had obtained updated geological reports on their properties, which applied legislative changes to Chapter 627, Florida Statutes (the Sinkhole Statutes), and disclosed the updated findings under the revised operative statutes. As we argued at summary judgment, the express purpose of the legislative amendments was precisely to encourage property owners to have previous sinkhole findings re-examined under the new, more geologically technical legislative standards to reduce the number of Florida properties with sinkhole designations. The legislation was a direct response to what the legislature determined to be a property-value and insurance crisis throughout the state caused by increased insurance claims and disputes.
While nearly every other Defendant settled out of the litigation, our litigation team aggressively pursued summary judgment. Lyman and Dragovich developed the defense, including the rarely litigated safe-harbor provision of FDUTPA, and crafted targeted summary judgment motions under Florida’s new summary judgment standard, and argued the motions during several summary judgment hearings.
In a series of 15-page summary judgment orders, the court granted summary judgment in favor of our clients on every defense and granted entitlement to recover attorney fees under multiple bases. Of the several other firms representing co-Defendants, Buchanan was the only team to develop, pursue, and obtain summary judgment against Plaintiffs.