Has it really been five months since my last article on this blog?
I can only apologize to those readers who have been awaiting further analysis of the growing body of case law emerging out of the country’s latest real estate crash. Unfortunately, the day-to-day demands of legal practice, including the growth of my firm’s nationwide class action practice, have kept me from blogging regularly. (Incidentally, those seeking more information on my firm’s recently-filed Yelp class action in California should visit this page.)
Since the 11th Circuit’s blockbuster opinion in Stein v. Paradigm Mirsol, LLC, there have been a number of new decisions worthy of attention. I hope to take a closer look at some of them in the near future. In the meantime, I want to highlight two recent opinions — both readily available on Westlaw — which are especially noteworthy.
The first, Double AA International Investment Group, Inc. v. Swire Pacific Holdings, Inc., __ F. Supp. 2d __, 2009 WL 4825097 (S.D. Fla. Dec. 15, 2009), comes from the Southern District of Florida. It is the first case to deal extensively with the issue of whether Florida’s statute regulating condominium escrow deposits, Section 718.202, requires establishment of separate escrow accounts when the deposit amount is greater than 10% of the condo’s purchase price. Judge Altonaga concluded that the answer is “yes,” and that the developer’s failure to create two separate accounts for the purchaser’s escrow funds makes the purchase contract revocable.
The other case, Bodansky v. Fifth on the Park Condo, LLC, 2010 WL 334985 (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 29, 2010), comes from the Southern District of New York. It is the first New York case in a long while to address issues arising under the federal Interstate Land Sales Full Disclosure Act (“ILSA”). Bodansky contends with the narrow question of when a developer is entitled to the 100-lot exemption from ILSA’s disclosure requirements. Consistent with the recent approach taken by other federal courts, including those in Florida, Bodansky adopts a stringent, pro-developer construction of this particular exemption and the statute more generally.
I hope to have more thoughts and analysis up soon. Again, apologies for the long delay.
This article does not constitute legal advice or the formation of an attorney-client relationship, and is not for re-publication without express permission of the author.
Mr. Beck has a law degree from Harvard Law School. His law firm, Beck & Lee Business Trial Lawyers in Miami, is dedicated to the practice of business and real estate litigation, as well as pursuing the rights and remedies of small businesses, consumers and investors through class actions. Mr. Beck’s expertise includes issues arising under purchase contracts for real estate, including condominiums, condo-hotels, single-family homes, and commercial property. He is a member of the Florida and California Bars, and litigates in other U.S. jurisdictions in conjunction with qualified local counsel. Mr. Beck can be reached at 305-789-0072 or firstname.lastname@example.org