Judge Refuses to Dismiss Lawsuit against Donald Trump over Fort Lauderdale Development

Donald Trump will have to face a <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/">lawsuit filed by people who bought into a Fort Lauderdale, Florida luxury high-rise that bore the “Trump” label. Trump’s lawyers had tried to have the claim dismissed by arguing purchasing agreements disclosed he had only lent his name to the project for a fee.

According to a New York Times report, plaintiffs claim it was their belief that Trump was the developer of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Fort Lauderdale that caused them to put down substantial deposits on apartments. The building ran into financial difficulties, and remains unfinished. Trump has since terminated his licensing agreement and removed his name from the project. Apartment buyers lost deposits in excess of $100,000 when the development hit the skids.

Marketing materials for the Fort Lauderdale project were intended to give the impression that Trump was developing the building, plaintiffs argue. For example, in some of those materials, Trump refers to the Trump International Hotel and Tower Fort Lauderdale as “my latest development.” He also signed his name to letters announcing that “we have commenced construction” of the project.

In reality, the sole developer of the project was SB Hotel. Plaintiffs argue that had they been aware of this, they would never have considered purchasing apartments.

Trump’s lawyers sought to have the claim against him dismissed, pointing to the purchasing agreements. But according to The New York Times, Judge Adalberto Jordan of the Southern District of Florida didn’t see things that way, and refused to dismiss the lawsuit after finding the documents did not “state that SB Hotel is the sole developer or that the other defendants are not developers.”

In his decision, Judge Jordan noted that the defendants, including Trump, presented themselves as the team of developers behind the building, the Time’s said. He pointed out that in advertising brochures, “these defendants call themselves developers.” He further states that buyers could have “believed the alleged misrepresentations.”

According to the Times, Trump’s lawyers have downplayed Judge Jordan’s decision, pointing out that he “did not validate any of the buyers’ claims, but simply determined that the plaintiffs had satisfied the bare minimum pleading requirements to allow the case to go to the next stage — nothing more.”

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