UPDATED Oct. 19, 5:15 p.m.: A four-year legal war between One Sotheby’s International Realty and two former Gables Estates property owners ended this week when a jury sided with the luxury brokerage firm.
One Sotheby’s sued Warren and Leslie Lovell in 2013, alleging the couple pulled an end around to avoid paying the company founded by Mayi and Daniel de la Vega a 6 percent commission on a $12.4 million deal. In May 2012, One Sotheby’s signed an exclusive one-year listing agreement to handle the marketing and sale of the waterfront vacant lot at 150 Arvida Parkway, but the Lovells terminated the contract shortly prior to selling the property in December of that year.
Jurors awarded One Sotheby’s $744,000, which represents the amount of the commission.
“This was a total win for One Sotheby’s,” said the realty firm’s lead trial lawyer Bobby Gilbert. “Its agents worked hard to sell the Lovells’ property and their efforts resulted in a $12.4 million sales price, a record for vacant land in Gables Estates in 2012.”
Daniel de la Vega, president of One Sotheby’s, said the verdict vindicated the Realtors who worked on the deal. “We stand behind our agents’ hard work, professional services and dedication,” he said in a statement. One Sotheby’s Ralph Arias and Mirce Curkoski represented the Lovells.
Juan Gabriel Miguel, the attorney for the Lovells, did not respond to a request for comment.
According to the suit, the agreement required the Lovells to provide One Sotheby’s with 30-days’ written notice in order to terminate the firm. Originally, the Lovells were asking for $14.9 million for the property, which they paid $1.5 million for in 1985.
In September 2012, Martiano and Sofia Perez and the Lovells negotiated the price through One Sotheby’s and EWM Realty International, which represented the interested buyers, the complaint states. The Perezes made a final offer of $12.2 million.
However, two days later the Lovells sent One Sotheby’s the notice that it was terminating the agreement in 30 days without giving a reason, the lawsuit states. Meanwhile, the Lovells continued to have dealings with the same buyers and their agents and ultimately reached an agreement on Oct. 15, 2012 to sell for $12.4 million. The deal closed on Dec. 10 of the same year.
The lawsuit claims the Lovells reached an agreement with the Perezes before the 30-day termination notice expired.
According to the verdict form, jurors agreed that the Lovells breached the listing agreement, as well as the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.