On March 8, 2017, a Montgomery County, Texas jury returned a $5.8 million verdict in favor of SKV client Southbrook Development Corporation, finding that Defendants Ed Kennedy, Diversified Site-Work, Inc., and Water Oak Development Group, LLC breached their agreement with Southbrook and committed theft of Southbrook’s real property. SKV partner Land Murphy and associate Sam Jarvis represented Southbrook in the trial.
Southbrook sued Kennedy and his companies after discovering the unauthorized sale of at least fifteen of Southbrook’s waterfront and canal lots in the Water Oak subdivision on Lake Conroe in Montgomery County. In 2011, Southbrook and Kennedy had entered into an agreement that was intended to resolve for all time competing claims to ownership of Water Oak, with Kennedy renouncing all claims to any Water Oak land outside of a specified tract. But in early 2012, Kennedy and his companies began selling Southbrook’s lots in the exclusive Lake Conroe neighborhood. After a three-day trial, the jury unanimously found that Kennedy and his companies knowingly and intentionally committed theft of Southbrook’s real property, finding actual damages of $1.3 million and imposing $4.5 million in punitive damages.
Prior to submission of the issues to the jury, the Court granted Southbrook summary judgment on a $75,000 note, and Defendants stipulated to $500,000 of attorneys’ fees in the event of a Southbrook victory.