A Palm Beach County real estate agent
lost her appeal on her $1.125 million claim to commissions
for her sales work at Riviera Beach’s beachfront VistaBlue
Kim-Renée Roberts sued VistaBlue developers Riviera Beach Investors LLC and Third Palm LLC accusing them of shortchanging her even as she put in more work than required to sell units. Roberts appealed a lower court’s ruling against her.
18 story, 58 unit oceanfront VistaBlue condominium tower, in Riviera Beach.
“The record evidence demonstrated that
the agent did not earn or otherwise demonstrate entitlement
to commissions or other monies,” Ahr said.
Riviera Beach Investors and Third Palm filed a cross-appeal. The Fourth DCA reversed the trial court’s decision finding the companies weren’t entitled to attorney costs and remanded the issue for the trial court to hold an evidentiary hearing on their reasonableness.
Riviera Beach Investors and Third Palm lost their claims on appeal that the trial court was mistaken in finding their joint offer of judgment was impermissible. While Whittles praised the decision, Ahr said she looks forward to the evidentiary hearing on attorney costs.
Judges Cory Ciklin, Burton Conner and Mark Klingensmith issued a unanimous unsigned opinion Wednesday after consolidating Roberts’ appeal and the companies’ cross-appeal.
Roberts, who sued in 2017, claimed counts of promissory estoppel, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and quantum meruit counts.
Riviera Beach Investors in 2015 named The Keyes Co. exclusive broker for VistaBlue, which at the time was in the planning stages.
The 18-story, 58-unit condo was competed in 2018 at 3730 N. Ocean Drive on Riviera Beach’s Singer Island.
Roberts was a Keyes sales associate on the project and claimed she took on duties beyond her obligations, which the developer accepted. Roberts said she found a project interior designer, obtained pricing for a billboard and worked on obtaining the necessary documents for a condo ownership form.
Third Palm, which Roberts said was the manager of Riviera Beach Investors, was led by Randall Tuller. While not a defendant, Roberts accused Tuller in her complaint of tricking her into opening up to him about a “hostile” and “abusive” work environment at Keyes. He also “lulled” her into believing her work for VistaBlue was safe even as Riviera Beach Investors and Third Palm were in the processes of ending their agreement with Keyes and hiring Douglas Elliman to sell units.
Roberts alleged Riviera Beach Investors and Third Palm representatives told Douglas Elliman not to hire her for unit sales, and she also claimed she was not paid for her work toward selling units.
Rivera Beach Investors and Third Palm denied the allegations and maintained Roberts’ efforts produced no unit sales and marketing materials she worked on weren’t used. What she had claimed was “above and beyond” work actually was part of the Keyes contract and Roberts was paid a draw on commissions as agreed.
Palm Beach Circuit Judge Janis Brustares Keyser last year issued final summary judgment, agreeing with defendants that Roberts’ work on VistaBlue wasn’t extra but was outlined in Keyes’ agreement and Roberts was “reasonably” compensated.
Roberts’ claim to $1.125 million in damages is “a misguided calculation and assumption” that this is money she “would have made” had Keyes sold out the building, which in reality didn’t happen as Keyes sold one unit before being replaced for the job by Douglas Elliman, the final judgment said.
Keyser also rejected Roberts’ claim that the companies directed Douglas Elliman not to hire her.
Keyser’s order denied defense claims to attorney fees and costs. The appellate panel determined she made a citation that’s pertinent only to the fees issue but didn’t address why she denied costs, prompting the appellate court to remand that question.