Failed lagoon deal leads to lawsuit for Megatel Homes

Developer says Crystal Lagoons tried to “harass and strong arm” firm after licensing deal went bust

Crystal Lagoons’ Javiera De la Cerda and Megatel Homes' Zach Ipour with the Venetian lagoon (Fernando Fischmann, Megatel Homes, Getty Images)
Crystal Lagoons’ Javiera De la Cerda and Megatel Homes' Zach Ipour with the Venetian lagoon (Fernando Fischmann, Megatel Homes, Getty Images)

Dallas-based Megatel Homes is known for its billion-dollar master-planned communities anchored by crystal lagoons, but now it has its very own Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Earlier this week, Megatel Homes founder Zach Ipour filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against Miami–based lagoon design company Crystal Lagoons for trying to “harass and strong arm” him into a business relationship.

Ipour claimed that Crystal Lagoons falsely accused him of potentially violating a non-disclosure agreement signed when the companies decided to not work together on the Venetian, a $450 million lagoon project in suburban North Dallas, a 1,200-lot residential development that mimics aspects of living in Venice, Italy.

In July 2020, Ipour and Crystal Lagoons’ intellectual property director Javiera De la Cerda began discussions about Megatel potentially licensing Crystal Lagoon’s design and operations-based technology for the Venetian’s lagoons. But the negotiations fell apart and Megatel eventually hired another company to lead the design and construction of the Venetian lagoon.

Soon afterward, Ipour claimed that Crystal Lagoons executives were upset about losing out on the deal with Megatel and filed a petition in a Texas state court under Rule 202 of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure, seeking pre-suit discovery against Megatel and Ipour, “to investigate a potential claim or suit.”

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During the course of the Rule 202 proceedings, De la Cerda claimed that Crystal Lagoons “is concerned” that Megatel violated the NDA, according to the complaint.

Ipour’s attorneys at Winston Strawn said she accused Megatel of using confidential information to design and develop lagoons and used Crystal Lagoon’s name in government filings before the project was put into the development phase.

Ipour wants Crystal Lagoons to attest that neither he nor Megatel violated the NDA, misused confidential information, or did anything improper, because the company negotiated with De la Cerda in good faith and that it disclosed to the appropriate government officials that it was considering using Crystal Lagoons to develop the Venetian lagoon.

If the suit goes to trial or a judge adjudicates the complaint, Ipour will ask the court to make Crystal Lagoons cover all of Megatel’s legal costs.

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