Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris LLC (SBH) partners Bruce Moothart, Kevin Karpin and Matt Westering recently earned a jury verdict in favor of client and plaintiff Big Garages, LLC in a jury trial for a complex real estate development dispute with Nigro Family Partnership, LP. The verdict came down last week in Missouri’s 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County.
The jury awarded $1 million to Big Garages, deciding the defendants breached a sale contract, and added $400,000 for a breach of a delayed development agreement. The plaintiff’s claim for recovery of attorneys’ fees and expenses under the contracts remains pending.
The case stemmed from the 2017 purchase of a five-acre parcel of land from a 28-acre lot in Martin City, Missouri. Big Garages intended to develop five buildings on the property to rent as multipurpose storage units, but because the lot had not been previously platted, the entire property needed to be platted along with the filing of a development plan for the entire 28 acres.
The process was not completed by the closing date for the sale, and the parties entered into a delayed development agreement that required working together to complete the development process after the sale, which would include the filing of proposed plat and development plan. Big Garages alleged the defendant refused to submit a proposed plat and development plan, preventing development of the five-acre parcel.
Big Garages sued for breach of contract under the sale agreement and the delayed development agreement. At trial, SBH attorneys sought about $3 million for the lost value of its business opportunity, and Nigro Family Partnership counterclaimed for alleged breach of the delayed development agreement and sought $48,000 in alleged expenses incurred as a result.
The jury ultimately decided on nearly $1.5 million in awards for Big Garages, with the additional claims for fees and expenses pending.