Word reaches us from Florida that the Jacksonville Port Authority (also known as JaxPort) has thrown in the towel on its misbegotten attempt to condemn a 60-acre parcel belonging to Keystone Coal Co. JaxPort filed a condemnation action and offered Keystone $15.2 million, but the jury awarded $67.4 million. At this point JaxPort thought it over and decided to abandon the condemnation. But in doing so, it became liable for the condemnees’ ltigation expenses, including their attorneys’ fees. It offered Keystone’s lawyers $1.5 million. Wrong again. The court awarded $10.5 million, and the parties later settled for $6.6 million. All in all, JaxPort spent $10.6 million on its own and Keystone’s litigation expenses, and got nothing for it.
The winner of this litigation is Andrew Brigham of the Coral Gables based firm Brigham Moore. His accomplishment would appear to be an inherited trait that runs in his family. He is the son of Toby Prince Brigham a Florida heavy hitter, and a grandson of T.F.P. Brigham who won the famous Florida case Dade County v. Brigham, that established Florida’s unique rule that in condemnation cases property owners are entitled to recover their attoreys’ fees win or lose. And as if that were not enough, Andrew’s sister, Amy Brigham Boulris, is an accomplished appellate lawyer with the Brigham Moore firm.
So here is our advice to condemnors’ lawyers: when you come up against an opponent named Brigham, be careful. Be very careful.