June 30, 2017

Eleventh Circuit Affirms District Court in Florida Hotel Development Deal

Connor Choate

In Al-Ghena et. al. v. Talat Radwan et. al., plaintiffs alleged, of eight claims, in a failed Florida hotel development deal, defendants “knowingly made several false representations and omissions to induce Plaintiffs to invest in the hotel.” On this claim of fraudulent inducement, the district court issued a judgment in favor of the defense, which plaintiffs soon appealed, arguing the jury instructions were misleading. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision.

The plaintiffs objected to the waiver jury instructions when initially proposed by the defense, believing the instructions to be “legally inconsistent” with the other jury instructions. The district court agreed to delete the first sentence of the waiver instructions but included the remaining instructions. On fraudulent inducement, the jury sided in favor of the defense.

To determine if the jury instructions were impermissibly misleading, the Eleventh Circuit considered “whether the jury charges, considered as a whole, sufficiently instructed the jury so that the jurors understood the issues and were not misled,” potentially reversing the district court’s decision only with a “substantial and ineradicable doubt” that jury was not misled by the instructions. The court found the waiver instructions to be accurate reflections of Florida law, and given that the entirety of the jury instructions were considered clear and accurate, including establishing each party’s burden of proof, the Eleventh Circuit found the instructions sufficiently comprehensible.

Connor Choate