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Judicial Switch-Up Prompts Appeal in Dismissed $10M Condo Hotel Case

With days to go before trial, Miami attorneys won the dismissal of an approximately $10 million lawsuit filed by unit owners of the Shelborne Ocean Beach Hotel Condominium in Miami Beach.

About 40 unit owners claimed they were improperly assessed millions of dollars in fees for renovations that shut down the 340-unit building for more than a year. The dispute focused on whether the work was "necessary repairs," requiring only a vote by the board of directors, or "material alterations" that required approval from 75 percent of the unit owners.

After presenting city officials' testimony that they ordered the building closure for safety reasons, the defense won summary judgment on all the claims in a Jan. 20 final order signed by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Beatrice Butchko. The case, filed in 2012, had been scheduled for a seven-week trial starting this month.

The condominium association and some members of the board of directors were represented by Fowler White Burnett shareholders Alice Sum and Stephanie Chaissan, along with Jonathan Smulevich of Lowy and Cook in Miami. Shelborne Property Associates, the owner of many hotel and commercial units in the building, and its operating company were represented by Greenberg Traurig shareholder Ronald Rosengarten.

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