Feb 20 2018

Trial Verdict 2018-8: Partners Steve Bolotin and Mike Hayden

Morrison Mahoney Partners Bolotin and Mike Hayden prevailed in an engineering malpractice claim after a 9 day jury trial in Barnstable Superior Court. 

The plaintiff was the purchaser of an $11.6 million “summer” home who was told by the seller that permits existed to dredge a channel from a private dock out to a deep water channel.  The buyer required the seller to verify that those permits be open and valid.  The seller hired our client, a marine engineer, to do that work.  The seller then had the marine engineer (who left the client less than a year later) issue a certification to the buyer stating that the permits allowed for their dredging project to be completed, but the seller didn’t tell the engineer that the buyer was expecting to dredge more than what the permits actually allowed.  The buyer ultimately sued the engineer (because they couldn’t sue the seller given language in the purchase and sale agreement) for intentional and negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract, and 93A, claiming that they were not properly informed of certain restrictions in some of the permits.  As a result, the buyer alleged he had to seek modifications to the permits.  As a result, the buyer claimed that the dredging took 2 seasons (because the Town allowed dredging only between November 1 and January 14) and he lost the use of the property for a summer because it was a construction zone.  The buyer was seeking over $800,000 for the extra dredging cost and loss of use of the property.  The claims ultimately sent to the jury were for intentional and negligent misrepresentation, breach of contract, and 93A. The jury found that none of the defendant’s representations or business practices proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer any damages (the defense had argued that the plaintiff’s dredging contractor caused any delays to the dredge work and the $11.6 million property remained fully useable nonetheless) and, therefore, the jury returned a defense verdict on all counts.  

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