Simon Bloom and Troy Covington, assisted by Senior Paralegal Amy Bell, tried a week long jury trial in Cherokee Superior Court defending CalAtlantic Group, Inc. from a host of claims asserted by an HOA adjacent to CalAtlantic’s Crestmont community. The HOA sued for seven figures in damages arising out of purported silt run off into the HOA’s Lake Sovereign. The jury found NO liability on all counts.
The HOA claimed that in building homes in the adjoining Crestmont subdivision, CalAtlantic negligently or intentionally allowed excess sediment to escape its construction sites. The HOA further claimed that the sediment from CalAtlantic’s sites flowed downhill into a lake owned by the HOA and that the HOA had suffered damage as a result of trespass and nuisance created by the sediment runoff.
Simon and Troy showed the jury that CalAtlantic followed best management practices to prevent the escape of sediment from its sites. Maybe more importantly, and despite hours of expert testimony and a rigorous cross examination, the plaintiff HOA could not accurately identify how much sediment, if any, was deposited into its lake because of CalAtlantic’s construction activity. The trial team proved several alternative sources of silt from other uphill contributors that likely caused the sedimentation in the lake.
The plaintiff HOA asked the jury to award compensatory damages based on the cost to clean the lake and for the HOA members’ alleged loss of use and enjoyment of the lake. The HOA further requested that the jury award it punitive damages and its attorney’s fees incurred in bringing suit. The jury deliberated for approximately two hours before returning a verdict rejecting all of the HOA’s claims and awarding it nothing.