Score a court victory for the developers of PrivÃ© at Island Estates in Aventura. Builders Gary Cohen and BH3 are walking away with a $26 million jury verdict against the Williams Island Property Ownersâ€™ Association, which had sought to stop the luxury two-tower development since 2013.
On Tuesday, after a seven-day trial, a jury in Miami-Dade Circuit Court ruled that the association breached a 1982 agreement requiring it not to object or oppose future developments by Cohen on the 84-acre Williams Island. Jurors awarded Cohen and BH3 $26 million in damages according to the verdict form, and there is an additional $8 million in interest the association will also have to pay, said Glen Waldman, the developersâ€™ attorney.
â€œMy clients have been wrongfully attacked from all sides for so long,â€ Waldman said. â€œThey feel very good that a jury listened to the evidence, got it right and ordered substantial damages against the people who caused harm to the project.â€
Jeffrey T. Foreman, lead lawyer for Williams Island Property Ownersâ€™ Association, declined comment. Waldman said he expects the association to appeal.
The developersâ€™ win comes seven months after Miami-Dade Circuit JudgeÂ William Thomas,Â who presided over the case, dealt a significant blow to the associationâ€™s complaint and a separate lawsuit filed by the Island Estates Homeowners Association, which represents another group of homeowners. Thomas ruled the statute of limitations had long expired for both associations to challenge a vested rights determination agreement.