BrickellHouse Developer Settles Personal Claims in Suit Over Robotic Garage Flop

Article Courtesy of  The Daily Business Review

By Raychel Lean

Published August 20, 2019

"Now that these claims are dismissed, Harvey hopes that he and the condominium association can work together to find parking solutions for Brickellhouse," said Ronald S. Lowy of Lowy & Cooke in Miami, who represents Brickellhouse tower developer Harvey Hernandez.


Developer Harvey Hernandez has agreed to a $275,000 settlement dismissing with prejudice all claims against him in a lawsuit over failed robotic parking technology at BrickellHouse tower in Miami. The agreement leaves a single count outstanding, breach of implied warranties, against Hernandez’s company BrickellHouse Holding LLC.

The case goes to trial on the remaining count Monday, when a jury will decide if and how much damages are warranted. The condo association is seeking about $87 million, the cost of parking for 480 spaces over a 100-year asserted project life.

Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko is presiding over the litigation, which is among the largest in the circuit, in terms of damages sought.

The settlement stems from BrickellHouse Condominium Association Inc.’s 2016 lawsuit over malfunctioning for the automated garage system in the 374-unit tower at 1300 Brickell Bay Drive. A multimillion-dollar elevator was supposed to move cars to parking spots without their drivers within minutes. But that theory turned out to be an anti-climax for residents, who had to park their cars elsewhere when it malfunctioned after the tower opened in 2014.

Developer Harvey Hernandez

Hernandez’s settlement will stand as long as he pays by Aug. 26. The agreement isn’t an admission of liability, and both parties stipulated that it won’t serve to reduce or set off any damages if jurors side with the condominium association.

Hernandez’s attorney Ronald S. Lowy of Lowy & Cook in Miami said his client was pleased that the association dismissed all personal claims against him.

Lowy said the settlement agreement felt like vindication of his client, who had been facing multiple claims, including self-dealing and breach of duties.

“The nominal settlement of these claims makes clear that these claims were unsupported by evidence, and that the developer acted in good faith at all times,” Lowy said. “Now that these claims are dismissed, Harvey hopes that he and the condominium association can work together to find parking solutions for BrickellHouse.”

Hernandez was willing to pay the $275,000 to settle the claims, according to Lowy, because it was about as much as it would have cost to defend himself at trial.

Helio De La Torre and Lindsey Thurswell Lehr of Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman, Lerner, De La Torre, Mars & Sobel in Coral Gables represent the association.

They said the agreement was a strategic decision for their client, who was pleased to shelve claims against Hernandez in order to focus on the main claim against the developer.

“The association made a strategic decision to pursue the greatest potential recovery for the BrickellHouse unit owners who have suffered for years from the poor decisions made by the developer and Harvey Hernandez,” Lehr said. “The association has already obtained a judgment on liability against the developer for its breach of statutory implied warranties. The developer’s wrongful conduct will be presented during our jury trial next week and the evidence will support the damages sought by the association to protect its owners.”

The manufacturer of the elevator Boomerang Systems filed for Chapter 11 reorganization in 2015, and its insurer settled for $32 million.