Waterfront ICW Properties, LLC (Waterfront), a Delray Beach-based real estate developer, prevailed on January 20, 2021, in Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal against the appeal of the trial court decision brought by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida (BOT) over the ownership of certain submerged lands in Ocean Ridge, Florida.
The lawsuit was brought by Waterfront to quiet title to the subject property in the face of claims by the BOT that “navigable” waters existed on the property at Florida statehood in 1845, and that therefore the property constituted sovereign lands of the State of Florida.
After a three-day trial, the trial court found that the great preponderance of the competent and substantial evidence presented by Waterfront clearly supported the detailed ruling that rejected the BOT’s unsupported claims of State ownership.
The BOT nevertheless appealed the judgment against it, but in affirming the judgment, the appellate court stated that the BOT’s “arguments on appeal largely amount to disagreement with the conclusions drawn by the trial court after receiving and reviewing conflicting evidence.” As such, the appellate court declined to “retry the case on appeal” and affirmed the judgment, concluding it was “supported by competent substantial evidence.”
Waterfront contends that the appellate confirmation of the trial court’s finding of facts and applied ruling now allows Waterfront to pursue slander of title and related causes of action and claims against the State for slandering Waterfront’s 130-year unbroken chain of title, and to seek damages for the years of delays the State inflicted upon Waterfront as a result of the State’s inexcusable refusal to acknowledge and respect Waterfront’s validated proofs of ownership of the subject property.
The law firm of Tobin & Reyes, P.A. of Boca Raton, FL represents Waterfront ICW Properties, LLC. For further information please contact attorney, Ricardo A. Reyes, of Tobin & Reyes, P.A., at email@example.com. The BOT was represented by staff counsel within the Division of State Lands which is part of the State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The case is The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida v. Waterfront ICW Properties, LLC, case number 4D19-3240, in the Fourth District Court of Appeal of the State of Florida. The trial court case number is 50-2015-CA-013164 (15th Jud. Cir.).