Mr. Brigham represented West Virginian entrepreneur and coal mine owner Bill Bright who, together with Central Florida development consultant Lou Roeder, was transforming 5,353 acres near Bartow, FL, formerly mined for phosphate into the Old Florida Plantation. Mr. Bright had taken the property on the south shoreline of Lake Hancock through a ten year process of land reclamation and then, with Mr. Roeder’s assistance, obtained approval for a Development of Regional Impact (“DRI”) and annexation into the City of Bartow. Old Florida Plantation was to be a significant “New Town” development to compliment historic Bartow.
In preparing for trial, Mr. Brigham had to accommodate a number of pretrial rulings including a trial judge’s order which would prohibit the use of the term “explosion” during the trial unless the door was first opened by the condemnor. The condemnor also lowered its estimate of value for trial to $177,000. When approaching the date set for trial, Mr. Bright requested that Mr. Brigham settle the case as it turned out that the South Florida Water Management District also sought to pursue the purchase of the remainder property as part of its restoration project for Lake Hancock. Mr. Brigham was able to secure a settlement of $1,636,710 with Gulfstream. Mr. Bright was then able to negotiate with the South Florida Water Management District for a purchase price of approximately $28 million for the remainder property based on the average between the respective appraisal estimates in the condemnation case.