828 So.2d 394 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 2002), 1D01-2358, McIver v. St. Joe Corp. 091302 FLCA1

Docket Nº:1D01-2358
Citation:828 So.2d 394, 27 Fla. L. Weekly D 2049
Party Name:H. BRUCE McIVER, Appellant, v. ST. JOE CORPORATION, formerly known as ST. Joe Paper Company, Appellee.
Case Date:September 13, 2002
Court:Florida Court of Appeals, First District
 
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Page 394

828 So.2d 394 (Fla.App. 1 Dist. 2002)

27 Fla. L. Weekly D 2049

H. BRUCE McIVER, Appellant,

v.

ST. JOE CORPORATION, formerly known as ST. Joe Paper Company, Appellee.

1D01-2358

Florida Court of Appeal, First District

September 13, 2002

Page 395

An appeal from the Circuit Court for Leon County. Terry P. Lewis, Judge.

R. Stuart Huff of Law Office of R. Stuart Huff, Coral Gables; Ben H. Wilkinson of Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell & Dunbar, P.A., Tallahassee; and Adam Lawrence of Lawrence & Daniels, Miami, for Appellant.

Kenneth G. Oertel and C. Anthony Cleveland of Oertel, Hoffman, Fernandez & Cole, P.A., Tallahassee, for Appellee.

KAHN, J.

Appellant, H. Bruce McIver (McIver), challenges a final summary judgment in favor of appellee, St. Joe Paper Company (St. Joe). McIver is a licensed Florida real estate broker who sued St. Joe in 1996, alleging breach of contract, after St. Joe refused to pay him a commission in connection with the conveyance of property known as Topsail Hill (Topsail). In December 1995, St. Joe agreed to a Consent Final Judgment with the State, following the dismissal of a condemnation proceeding instituted by the State. By the terms of the Consent Final Judgment, the State, among other things, agreed to pay St. Joe $84 million for the Topsail property. Because we find that the circuit court erred in granting summary judgment on McIver's express contract claim, we reverse and remand that claim for further proceedings. We affirm the remaining issues on appeal.

In the order on appeal, the circuit judge found the following facts as undisputed:

On or before December 17, 1990, the Plaintiff [McIver] orally contracted with the Defendant [St. Joe] to provide consulting services and to act as real estate agent and broker for the sale of approximately 600 acres, for which services the Plaintiff was to be paid 2% of the sale price. The primary potential purchaser was the State of Florida.

The Plaintiff worked diligently on behalf of the Defendant, managing to get

Page 396

the property on a state list [Conservation and Recreation Lands (CARL) Trust Fund] that was a prerequisite for it being considered for purchase, and engaging in extensive negotiations with the State on behalf of the Defendant. A sales contract, however, was never entered into between the Defendant and the State, or any other purchaser, nor did the Plaintiff bring to the Defendant an offer from a purchaser able and willing to buy the property at the price Defendant indicated was acceptable.

Some time in June or July of 1994, the State's representative, a Mr. Ivester, proposed a "friendly condemnation", i.e., if the Plaintiff agreed to it, the State would institute eminent domain proceedings on the property. The thinking of Plaintiff and Defendant was that in such a proceeding, the State would most likely have to pay more money for the property than they were offering because the appraisals would be based upon the highest and best use of the property. The Defendant directed the Plaintiff to tell the state to go ahead with the condemnation.

The eminent domain proceedings were commenced in September of 1994. Although the Defendant welcomed the condemnation proceedings, formally, through its pleadings, it objected and contested the issue of public purpose for the taking. The trial court granted the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss in December of 1995. Shortly thereafter, while a motion for rehearing was pending, the State and the Defendant entered...

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