Litchfield Cavo Wins Post-Trial Motion to Set Aside $5 Million Dollar Jury Verdict
On September 15, 2015, the Honorable Judge Marina Garcia-Wood granted Litchfield Cavo’s client, Condominium Owners Organization of Century Village, East, Inc. (COOCVE), Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, setting aside a $5 million jury verdict in favor of the Plaintiff.
COOCVE is a civic association of 254 condominium associations at Century Village East. The Plaintiff, Ventnor B Condominium Association, Inc., one of the 254 condominium associations, filed a derivative action against COOCVE alleging it and its former president acted negligently and breached his fiduciary duty. Prior to trial, the former president was dismissed, leaving COOCVE as the remaining Defendant. On April 27, 2015, the case was tried before a jury resulting in a verdict of $5 million in favor of the Plaintiff.
In granting COOCVE’s Motion for Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict, Judge Garcia-Wood found most compelling the argument that the Plaintiff lacked standing to bring a derivative action. Specifically, in executing the Order, Judge Garcia-Wood acknowledged the Fourth District Court of Appeals decision in Provence v. Palm Beach Taverns, Inc., 676 So.2d 1022 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996) in which that Court stated, “a derivative action is one in which a stockholder seeks to sustain in his own name a right of action existing in the corporation.” In applying the law to the matter before it, Judge Garcia-Wood opined that the Verified Complaint became moot when the former president was dismissed leaving COOCVE as the only defendant.
The trial team defending COOCVE consisted of lead attorney Geralyn M. Passaro and associates Shari D. Smith and Angela M. Swenka of Litchfield Cavo LLP.