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Florida business lawsuit began at tailgate party, ended in court

The dispute began innocently enough, it seems, with a conversation between a real estate broker and an executive with Florida Power & Light Co. The conversation wasn't in an impressive corporate boardroom; it took place instead during a Florida State University tailgating party.

The business lawsuit between the executive and the broker was resolved recently in a Palm Beach County Circuit Court where the long-time real estate man walked away with a $1.5 million verdict.

The two men began talking at a football tailgating party in Tallahassee back in October, 2008. The executive apparently mentioned that FPL was looking for a spot in which it could build a combined natural gas and solar power plant. The real estate broker said he knew of just such a place in Hendry County.

Once the executive assured the broker that he would be paid a commission if a deal ever happened on that land, the broker divulged the location. The men apparently shook hands and went their separate ways, agreeing to meet and discuss a possible deal later.

According to the broker's lawsuit, the executive then avoided future discussions. But FPL closed a deal on a substantial portion of the 12,535-acre property in 2011 and then bought the remainder in 2013. Total price tag: $75 million.

After the jury heard the two sides, it returned with the verdict worth $1.5 million. An attorney for the defendants said an appeal is being considered.

We do not know yet if this dispute is fully resolved, but we do know that it is possible to get justice in business litigation with proper legal representation. Not all disputes go to trial, of course. With the help of a skilled attorney experienced in negotiations, you can often avoid litigation yet still walk away with your goals achieved.

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