Coquina Law Group Attorneys, Jeremiah Mulligan and Ashby Underhill, recently prevailed at trial on a commercial lease dispute. The trial occurred in Putnam County, Florida over the course of three days.
The client, who was the Defendant/Counter-Petitioner, leased a portion of an old building. The lease provided that the clients were responsible for the HVAC maintenance, repairs, or replacements during the lease. The landlord was responsible for keeping the roof in good condition and repairs. The landlord had previously roofed over the roof area directly over the clients leased portion of the building. The property experienced severe leaks over the course of six months. Although the landlord sent out their roofers, who performed some repairs, the leaks continued. The landlord claimed the leaks were caused by the HVAC systems. The client vacated the property and the landlord filed a law suit. In answering the complaint, we filed a counter claim alleging breach of contract against the landlord.
At trial, we were able to show that the Landlord breached the contract first by failing to properly maintain the roof. We were able to show, through the substantial evidence and expert testimony, that the roof was in total failure and the landlord was taking shortcuts for financial reasons. The Landlord’s claims that the HVAC caused the leaks were undermined by the HVAC service company, who was hired by the Landlord before and after the lease term and by our clients during their possession of the property, testified that the HVAC units were in good condition and did not cause the leaks. We elicited testimony that adequate repairs to the roof could not be performed and the leaks from the adjacent leaks were causing the leaks into our clients units.
At trial, the Landlord demanded over $500,000, including attorneys fees and damages, which was denied. Our clients prevailed in the defense of the landlord’s claim and prevailed on their counter claim. They were awarded almost $50,000.00 in damages and entitlement to attorneys’ fees and cost. That amount to be awarded in attorneys’ fees and cost is currently being litigated, and we anticipate that award to be in excess of $100,000.