Alexander Lian, P.A. takes pride in developing new and creative solutions to client problems. In one instance, the Firm developed a new and successful theory of law for recovery of pre-construction condominium deposits.
THE DOUBLE AA V. SWIRE STORY
At the apex of the “condo wars” in Miami, Mr. Lian represented Double AA International Investment Group, Inc., at both the trial and appellate levels, in its efforts to recover its $232,000.00 deposit from Swire Pacific Holdings, Inc., developer of “Asia” a luxury condominium located in the exclusive Brickell Key area of Miami. Swire Pacific Holdings is a United States subsidiary of John Swire & Sons, Ltd., an international conglomerate with corporate offices in Hong Kong and London and one of the wealthiest closely-held firms in Great Britain.
Double AA initiated suit against Swire and Lawyers Title Insurance Corp., the escrow agent in the transaction in December of 2008. Swire retained Greenberg Traurig, one of Miami’s largest and most prestigious firms to represent its interests. Lawyers Title retained two firms, initially Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. and, ultimately, Carlton Fields to represent its interests.
As more fully described in the Daily Business Review, Mr. Lian developed a novel theory of law regarding Swire’s failure to properly handle Double AA’s escrow deposits. Utilizing a law on the books since 1970 — and which escaped the notice of hundreds of other attorneys seeking to recover deposits totaling in the hundreds of millions — Mr. Lian argued that Double AA had properly rescinded the Purchase Agreement and was entitled to the full return of its deposit plus interest, costs, and attorney’s fees because of Swire’s failure to comply with the pertinent provisions of Florida Statute § 718.202.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida agreed with Double AA’s position. [See Double AA International Investment Group, Inc. v. Swire Pacific Holdings, Inc., 674 F.Supp.2d 1344 (S.D. Fla. 2009)]. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the District Court’s decision after Swire mounted an unsuccessful appeal. [See Double AA International Investment Group, Inc. v. Swire Pacific Holdings, Inc. 637 F.3d 1169 (11th Cir. 2011)].
After the District Court’s favorable ruling, scores if not hundreds of attorneys throughout the State of Florida amended their deposit recovery claims to include the new § 718.202 theory for recovery of deposits that Mr. Lian advanced. For his efforts, readers of the Daily Business Review nominated Mr. Lian as a finalist for its Most Effective Lawyer in South Florida Award (Real Estate) in 2011.