$25M Ft. Lauderdale land deal at center of legal malpractice lawsuit

While most everyone would prefer not to think about it, it wasn't that long ago that both the residential and commercial real estate markets here in the U.S. were in undeniably poor shape with record foreclosures, high vacancy rates and abandoned construction projects.

Fast forward to the present, however, and the Great Recession is firmly in the rearview mirror. Indeed, a person needn't look much further than here in Florida, where foreclosures have stabilized, homes sales are good and the commercial market has rebounded nicely.

Interestingly enough, a $25 million deal involving a highly desirable piece of Fort Lauderdale land is currently at the center of a bitter legal dispute in Palm Beach County Circuit Court concerning allegations of legal malpractice.

According to the complaint, a commercial investment company retained a high-powered Tampa-based law firm in 2016 to assist with the acquisition of the aforementioned 8.5-acre parcel of land that was still subject to ground leases with roughly 40 years remaining and located directly opposite Port Everglades.

Specifically, the complaint, which alleges both negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, states the $25 million purchase deal was predicated on the assurances of the law firm that there was a greater than 50 percent chance that these ground leases could be terminated subsequent to the purchase owing to "certain perceived defects."

However, it goes on to state that the deal ultimately fell through, resulting in the real estate investor forfeiting its $250,000 deposit.

For its part, the law firm has denied any misconduct, vowing to fight the matter in court. Indeed, it alleges that the forfeiture of the deposit can be attributed solely to business decisions of the real estate investor.

Stay tuned for updates on this fascinating case …

As always, if you have serious concerns about the conduct or actions of your attorney, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more about your options.

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