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All Press Releases for January 03, 2014 »
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Miami jury awards $2 billion to homebuilder in civil lawsuit

Giant homebuilder Lennar announced that after only a one-day trial, a Miami state court jury had awarded Lennar more than $2 billion in damages in commercial litigation.
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    January 03, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In early December 2013, news sources reported that giant homebuilder Lennar had announced that after only a one-day trial, a Miami state court jury had awarded Lennar more than $2 billion in damages in commercial litigation against Californian Nicolas Marsch III and his company Briarwood Capital LLC.

Compensatory and punitive damages

The damage award reportedly consisted of $802 million in compensatory damages for economic harm and $200 million in punitive damages, designed to punish the defendants for their actions.

Miami-based Lennar Corp. is a 50-year-old publicly traded residential construction company with developments across the country in several states. According to The Wall Street Journal, Lennar and Marsch have been legally entangled since 2006 when they ended up in California state court over a misappropriation allegation against Lennar related to a joint real estate project near San Diego. Lennar reportedly was vindicated in that lawsuit.

Defamation and civil extortion claims

The current Miami suit was filed by Lennar in 2008 alleging defamation and conspiracy to extort. The Wall Street Journal says that Marsch had hired Barry Minkow, a convicted white collar criminal, to investigate Lennar, after which he reportedly published allegations that Lennar was repeatedly involved in fraudulent activity.

After Minkow's allegations against Lennar, the company's stock price fell and it incurred additional costs related to its damaged reputation. This is the basis of the current suit. Despite the jury's findings, Marsch denies wrongdoing and is considering an appeal.

Related conviction

In a related criminal matter, Minkow pleaded guilty in 2011 to conspiracy to commit stock fraud, is serving time for his actions against Lennar and was ordered to pay the company millions in restitution.

Legal counsel for Florida businesses

While this case involves a very large Miami company with a national presence that filed a lawsuit to protect its financial integrity and reputation, a Florida business of any size or type and in any industry can become involved in conflict with another party. In that situation, it is wise to consult with an experienced Florida commercial litigation attorney to help sort out the issues and analyze what legal options are available to protect the business.

While the Lennar case alleged conspiracy to extort and defamation, other kinds of harm can occur like:
- Breach of contract
- Loan or other debt default
- Collections
- Debtor-creditor disputes
- Landlord-tenant disputes
- Foreclosure
- Lender-borrower disputes
- And more

In addition, Florida businesses that find themselves in other kinds of difficulty may need skilled business counsel for assistance with:
- Business bankruptcy
- Financial or corporate restructuring
- Assignment for the benefit of creditors or ABC
- Business or asset sales, acquisitions and mergers
- Real estate matters
- And more

Speak with a knowledgeable Florida commercial lawyer about business disputes and other legal needs of your company.

Article provided by Jennis & Bowen, P.L.
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