$12 Million Award against condo association

Property Management’s Neglect of Foliage and Stop Sign Placement Causes Death of Nine Year Old

Oct 07, 2015

Appeals Court Upholds $12 Million Award in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Oct. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — South Florida law firm Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA (Searcy Denney) today announced that a Florida appeals court has now upheld a circuit court’s decision finding three parties negligent in the 2011 death of nine-year-old Andrew Connor Curtis. The lower court awarded Curtis’ estate $12 million, plus interest and costs.

The case is Tracy D. Curtis, As Personal Representative Of The Estate Of Andrew Connor Curtis, Deceased vs. Helen M. Bygel, Villas on the Green Condominium Association, Inc., a Florida Corporation, Villas On The Green Townhouse Association, Inc., a Florida Corporation, And M.M.I. of the Palm Beaches, Inc., A Florida Corporation, case number: 50-2011-CA-013933-XXX, Circuit Court of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit, in and for Palm Beach County, Florida.

In 2011, while riding his bicycle on the sidewalk, accompanied by his father, Curtis was struck and killed by a car exiting the driveway of Villas on the Green Condominium in Jupiter, Florida. Helen Bygel, the operator of the vehicle, had an impaired sightline to the sidewalk, due to unkempt hedges, as well as a roadside stop sign, both violations of Florida law.

In 2013, a Florida jury found that three parties shared responsibility for Curtis’ death – Bygel, Villas on the Green Condominium Association, and the property management company overseeing Villas on the Green. On October 1, 2015, an appeals court upheld the ruling and the award of $12 million, plus costs and interest for pain and suffering to Curtis’ estate. Ninety percent of the award is to be paid by the condominium association and property management company.

Curtis’ estate was represented at trial by Greg Barnhart, Karen Terry and Matthew Schwencke of Searcy Denney.

“This decision is a tremendous result for a very deserving family,” said Terry of Searcy Denney. “But almost as significantly, the decision has put property managers and homeowner associations across the state on notice that they have a serious obligation to ensure the safety of pedestrians on and around their property.”

“We have received dozens of calls from area associations making sure they are doing all they can to be up to code,” added Terry. No amount of money can lessen the grief of losing a child so young, but there is comfort in knowing that this case is already helping to make other children safer.”

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