The Real Deal Miami

Grove Isle developers settle lawsuit after six years

Suit alleges unit owners were unfairly assessed for common area maintenance
By Ina Cordle | October 21, 2015 05:15PM

Grove Isle in Coconut Grove

After six years, the developers of Grove Isle have agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by its condo owners.

In 2009, Coconut Grove’s Grove Isle condo association sued the development company and related entities over annual club dues, and alleged that unit owners were unfairly assessed for common area maintenance, including to maintain the bridge between the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa and residential areas, as well as security and other upkeep for facilities.

According to the developers’ attorney, Abbey Kaplan, founding member of Kluger, Kaplan, Silverman, Katzen & Levine, the facilities had knowingly been used by the public since the early 1990’s. He said that the lawsuit was an attempt by the association to modify a 30-year-old Declaration of Condominium so that the residents would be relieved from paying 100 percent of the maintenance and upkeep of the developer’s property. He told The Real Deal that the suit was seeking more than $5 million.

Grove Isle was developed by Martin Margulies in the late 1970s.

Kaplan argued that the owners agreed to terms of the condo declaration when they bought their units and were aware of the commitments when they moved in. The attorneys also argued the association’s allegations were “time barred” and therefore they could not change the terms years later.

“My clients were flabbergasted that they had to be stuck in this litigation for six years, at great expense to everybody,” Kaplan told TRD.

In March 2014, the Third District Court of Appeal overturned the dismissal of the lawsuit. The three-judge panel determined the Grove Isle Association’s suit was improperly dismissed by a Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge.

The developers and related entities, Grove Isle Associates, Grove Isle Yacht Club Associates and Grove Spa, have now moved to settle all claims by agreeing to dismiss them with prejudice, which means further litigation cannot be filed related to the issues. Kaplan said that as part of the settlement, his clients have given up the right to seek legal fees.

A judge is expected to rule on the settlement on Friday.