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(This story, in slightly different form, originally appeared in Incisive Media’s Daily Business Review.)

MIAMI-A state appeals court has ruled the Related Cos. did not misrepresent the terms of a 2003 land sale in Collier County. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 2nd District Court of Appeal in Lakeland ruled this week that Related and affiliate TRG Nighthawk did not mislead Registry Development when Related sold the Naples company about 55 acres zoned for multifamily residential use for nearly $4.4 million.

Related’s brokers allegedly said the land was suitable for 218 residential units, but Registry later discovered that a drainage easement on the property would not permit that many units to be built. Registry filed suit in 2003, accusing Related of fraud, negligent misrepresentation and violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

After a four-day trial in May 2008, a Collier County Circuit Court jury agreed with Registry and awarded the company $200,000 plus interest. Related appealed and the 2nd DCA reversed the trial court.

Miami attorneys Paul Schwiep and Jeffrey Crockett of Coffey Burlington represented Related in the appeal. “We are pleased with the court’s unanimous decision, which enforced the parties’ written agreements,” Schwiep said Thursday.

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