Just last Friday, Hare Wynn attorneys Bruce McKee and John Haley argued the Florida Rock Industries v. Escambia Sand & Gravel, case before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and received a decision in less than 24 business hours.
The litigation involves the interpretation of a mineral lease and amendments thereto. In 2005, our client, Escambia Sand & Gravel, entered into a land lease agreement with Florida Rock Industries which required Florida Rock to make monthly minimum royalty payments. In 2006, the original ten-year lease was extended to forty years, according to Escambia’s understanding of the amendment.
In February 2007, Florida Rock was bought by Vulcan Materials, and Vulcan disputed the forty-year lease term, claiming the lease was void due to vague language and an uncertain end date. Vulcan initiated this lawsuit, in Florida Rock’s name, seeking a declaration that the lease was void, or, alternatively, could be terminated at any time by Florida Rock after the tenth anniversary in September 2015.
In 2014, the Federal District Court in Mobile ruled in favor of Escambia Sand & Gravel based on the pleadings alone. Florida Rock, now owned by Vulcan Materials, appealed to the 11th Circuit. After the oral argument last Friday in Atlanta, the appellate court unanimously affirmed the Judgment on the Pleadings in favor of our client, Escambia Sand and Gravel.
The mere four-sentence opinion of May 26, 2015, not only resulted in a multi-million dollar victory for Escambia Sand & Gravel, but also emphasizes Hare Wynn’s experience and expertise in the field of business litigation.
“We’re not just a personal injury firm,” explains Bruce McKee. “We’re a multi-faceted firm that handles many types of litigation. This exemplifies our energy and action in business litigation, and I very much enjoy having the opportunity to work on these types of cases.”
The case is Florida Rock Industries, Inc. v. Escambia Sand & Gravel Co., Inc., No. 14-13032 (11th Cir. May 26, 2015).