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Broker wins lawsuit over commission on power plant deal

In even a relatively straightforward real estate transaction, the buyer and seller are far from the only people involved. There are real estate agents, bankers and others, all helping to make the deal go smoothly, and, not coincidentally, take a chunk of the proceeds. In larger real estate transactions, there are many parties involved, all with large stakes in the sale. With these more complex financial ties come more complex legal ties.

Recently, a South Florida real estate broker won a lawsuit against Florida Power & Light over what he said was his part in a $75 million deal. He stands to recover $1.5 million.

The lawsuit concerns a 12,535-acre parcel of land in Hendry County that the power company purchased as a potential site for a new solar and natural gas electricity plant. According to the broker, he met an executive for the power company at a Florida State University tailgate party in 2008 and the two discussed the company's efforts to secure real estate for the proposed new plant. The broker said he suggested the Hendry County property, but when the power company purchased it several years later in two separate transactions, he received no commissions. He filed suit in 2014.

At issue in the case was the question of whether the discussion at the tailgate party established a legally enforceable contract. A jury found there was, and awarded the broker $1.5 million as a commission for his part of the deal. The power company and several other defendants in the case have signaled they will appeal.

Whenever doing business in Florida's hot real estate market, it can be crucial to have advice from skilled lawyers. And when things go wrong, there is no substitute for representation by a lawyer with experience in Florida real estate and real estate disputes.

Source: Palm Beach Post, "Broker wins $1.5M verdict against FPL over land sale commission," Susan Salisbury, July 10, 2017

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