Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
January 25, 2022

Fernandina Beach City Attorney Tammi Bach

Fernandina Beach City Attorney Tammi has provided the City’s Litigation Report (below) for the final two quarters of 2021.  

[Note that the recurring abbreviation PGCS stands for Preferred Government Claim Services.  PGCS Claim Services (PGCS) is the premier governmental third party claims administrator in Florida. Since its founding in 1956, PGCS has provided claims administration services to over 450 governmental entities, including schools, cities, towns, counties, community development districts, and fire districts.]

1.  CASE NAME: City of Fernandina Beach v. CPH Engineers, Inc. (Case No.: 2014-CA-343 Nassau County Circuit Court)
DATE FILED: August 5, 2014
CASE SUMMARY: On or about May 1, 2014, the City discovered that Spanish Way East and Spanish Way West, public roads within the Isle De Mai subdivision, are prematurely failing due to being designed and constructed in a negligent manner by CPH Engineers that has caused the roads to be saturated with ground water which compromises the integrity and functionality of the roads for their intended use.
CASE STATUS AS OF: January 21, 2022
Mediation between the parties was held on January 7, 2021. The City Commission did not accept CPH’s offer of $80,000 in cash and in-kind services to resurface the affected roads. The City hired a new consultant to provide alternative solutions to the drainage issues in Isle de Mai and cost estimates for the preferred solution of demolishing existing road, installing drainage and installing new base and new road was $598.000. A second mediation held on August 31, 2021 resulted in impasse. The City and CPH exchanged offers of settlement before trial at the end of November 2021. The City accepted CPH’s offer of $140,000 and dismissed the case voluntarily. File is closed.
CITY COSTS:
The City’s legal costs are $106,860.58.

2.  CASE NAME: Maria Allen et al. v. City of Fernandina Beach & Island Art Incorporated (Case No. 18-CA-000022 – Nassau County Circuit Court)
DATE FILED: January 12, 2018
CASE SUMMARY: Maria Allen was allegedly injured when she fell on a sidewalk near Island Art Association because she tripped over an electrical cord taped to the City sidewalk while attending “Dickens on Centre” on or about December 11, 2016. 
CASE STATUS AS OF: January 21, 2022 
Defense attorneys filed a Motion of Summary Judgment in June 2021. Defendant will take deposition of one or more City employees with knowledge of sidewalk and Front Street. Some depositions were taken of City employees by Plaintiff in September 2021. On October 27, 2021, the Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice with no settlement offer from the City. File is closed. 
CITY COSTS: PGCS $0 deductible 

3. CASE NAME: John Angus & Loretta Angus v. Newventure of Jacksonville, Inc. d/b/a High Tech Commercial Cleaning, City of Fernandina Beach, Fernandina Beach Golf Club, and Billy Casper Golf, LLC. (Case No. 16-2017-CA-7406 – Nassau County Circuit Court) 
DATE FILED: December 4, 2017
CASE SUMMARY: On December 5, 2013, plaintiff John Angus was allegedly injured when he slipped and fell in the men’s restroom of the Fernandina Beach Golf Club. 
CASE STATUS AS OF: January 21, 2022 
Attorney for the City’s defense is Carr Allison. The City’s defense attorneys have filed a Motion to Dismiss because the City was not served until October 17, 2018, more than 120 days after filing the complaint (Florida Rule 1.070(j)). Unfortunately, the Motion to Dismiss was denied on March 5, 2019. City’s defense attorneys filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses. Discovery is ongoing. The plaintiff was scheduled to be deposed in September 2020, but it was postponed due to COVID- 19 concerns (the plaintiff and counsel did not want to appear virtually). Plaintiff depositions were scheduled for August 6, 2021 but postponed due to the pandemic. 
CITY COSTS: PGCS $0 deductible 

4. CASE NAME: The City of Fernandina Beach v The O’Steen Company, LLP, Richard S. Simmons and Pamela O. Simmons. (Case 2020-CA-000146 – Nassau County Circuit Court) DATE FILED: May 21, 2020 
CASE SUMMARY: At the direction of the City Commission, the City put in an offer to purchase property along the City’s waterfront near the marina owned by the O’Steen Company and Steve Simmons for the purpose of a public park. The offer was rejected, and the Commission elected to move forward with this as an eminent domain action. 
CASE STATUS AS OF: January 21, 2022 
The City’s attorneys, Jacobs, Scholz and Wyler, filed the complaint in May 2020. The mediation resulted in verbal agreement to get a new appraisal. The City Commission rejected settlement of this case in the amount of the $2,300,000 due to the exorbitantly high appraisal amount. The City Commission directed the City Attorney to voluntarily dismiss this eminent domain case on June 15, 2021. The City’s attorneys, Jacobs, Scholz and Wyler are filing a motion objecting to the property owners’ attorney’s fees filed with the Court in the amount of $77,000. The City will be responsible for paying the property owners’ reasonable attorney’s fees upon order of the Court. The City and the property owners settled on the City paying $47,500 in attorney’s fees for the property owners. File is closed. 
CITY COSTS: Jacobs, Scholz and Wyler has been contracted to handle this matter in the fixed fee amount of $18,500. 

5. CASE NAME: Susan M. Jakuszewski v. City of Fernandina Beach et al.. (Case 2021-CA- 000211 – Nassau County Circuit Court) 
DATE FILED: July 2, 2021 
CASE SUMMARY: Plaintiff alleges that the City of Fernandina Beach had a duty to warn sunbathers of vehicular traffic at the Sadler Road public beach access. Plaintiff was run over by a Jeep driving on the beach sand at the Sadler Road public beach access. Plaintiff suffered injuries when she was run over by the Jeep while sunbathing. 
CASE STATUS AS OF: January 22, 2022 
Defense counsel for the City is Carr Allison. The Complaint was served to the City on August 23, 2021. The City’s defense counsel filed a motion to dismiss which was denied. Plaintiff is amending their complaint and discovery is ongoing. 
CITY COSTS: PGCS $0 deductible.

6. CASE NAME: Center Street Restaurant Group, Inc. et al. v. City of Fernandina Beach (Case 21-CA-0317 – Nassau County Circuit Court) 
DATE FILED: November 10, 2021 
CASE SUMMARY: The City Engineer received a report from Passero & Associates in June 2021 (engineers for City for shoreline stabilization project) that the substructure under Brett’s Waterway Café is unsafe and severely corroded. The property is owned by the City and leased to Center Street Restaurant Group, Inc. Brett’s Waterway Café is a sublessee of Center Street Restaurant Group, Inc. The City Engineer provided a notice of unsafe structure to the City itself as owner and Center Street Restaurant Group, Inc. (“CSRG”) as the lessee on July 1, 2021. CSRG had until September 2, 2021 to make repairs to decaying concrete pile caps or vacate the building. CSRG filed an administrative appeal of the City Engineer’s notice of unsafe structure with the City Board of Adjustment which was denied. CSRG then filed a Writ of Certiorari appealing the Board of Adjustment ruling and a Motion to Stay in order to keep the restaurant open. 
CASE STATUS AS OF: January 21, 2022 
CSRG filed a Writ of Certiorari on or about November 10, 2021 appealing the Board of Adjustment ruling and a Motion to Stay in order to keep the restaurant open. The Court granted the Motion to Stay and ordered the parties to do further diagnostic testing of the concrete pile caps to determine the extent of the corrosion. Testing is ongoing and a mediation is scheduled for March 8, 2022. 
CITY COSTS: PGCS $0 deductible.

SETTLEMENTS:
I. City of Fernandina Beach v. CPH Engineers, Inc. – SETTLED $47,500 paid by City 

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