HISTORY OF  THE ENA LAWSUIT - From most recent to earliest

Eagles Nest Area Dispute and Litigation Settled

 

PDF of Formal Document with Signatures - No content of Great Interest-Click Here

LMA issued this statement January 17, 2012:

“The LMA Board is pleased to announce that the litigation related to the Eagles Nest Area has ended.  Both parties to the suit have approved a settlement agreement that will become part of a court order terminating the lawsuit.  

The agreement clarifies that the ENA is a common area of The Landings and establishes guidelines for its use that will be in place for the next eight years.

The agreement provides for the ENA to be open to pedestrians during daylight hours and allows the completion of the horticultural plan and installation of a circular path as proposed in the Master Plan adopted by the Board in May 2010.

Access to the Eagles Nest Area will be available to all residents during daylight hours with certain limitations such as designated areas for walking, no motorized vehicles, unleashed pets, or bicycles

LMA will take reasonable measures to maintain the ENA in a manner recommended by governmental authorities.

We express our appreciation to those on both sides of this issue who worked long and hard to arrive at this positive conclusion.”

The full text of the provisions portion of the agreement  follow:

EXHIBIT “A” TO SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

1. No man-made structures shall be built or erected anywhere within the ENA except as specifically permitted hereunder.

2. A single access point to the ENA shall be located at or near the midpoint between lots 187 and 188. From that point, a pedestrian pathway not more than 5 feet in width may be constructed in a substantially direct line to a roughly circular path no wider than 5 ft. in width which shall be located no nearer than 100 ft. from any point on the rear lot lines of any of the properties surrounding the ENA. Benches shall not be placed along the pathway or anywhere else within the ENA (except for the permitted benches on the observation platform as provided below).  No trash receptacles shall be placed within the ENA other than one just outside the entry gate between lots 187 and 188.

3. LMA may construct a covered observation platform within the ENA, subject to the following:

A) the observation platform shall not exceed a total of 225 square feet of floor area

B) the floor of the observation platform shall be no more than 1 foot above ground

C) the roof shall not overhang the floor area and shall not have any roof access provided.

D) The walls of the observation platform shall remain open except for necessary roof supports

E) no more than two seating benches may be located on the  platform

F) the observation platform shall not be used for storage

4. Bicycles and motorized vehicles, except for maintenance and security vehicles, shall be prohibited within the ENA.

5. Dogs may be allowed in the ENA, but shall be required to be leashed at all times and owners shall be required to clean up dog droppings.

6. LMA shall provide a fence on its entrance property and a gate adequate to permit maintenance and security vehicles to enter the ENA. The gate shall be kept locked by LMA Security between dusk and 7am, and access to the ENA shall be prohibited between those hours.  LMA shall be responsible for the enforcement of the restrictions set forth in this agreement in the same manner and to the same extent that LMA is required to do so for other common areas within The Landings pursuant to the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions.

7. LMA agrees to take reasonable measures to protect the ENA in the manner recommended by the National Bald Eagle Management Guidelines, as well as any federal, state or county regulations that may be applicable from time to time.

8. No recreational facilities, playground equipment, or athletic fields shall be constructed in the ENA.

9. The horticultural plan approved in the Master Plan dated July 31, 2008 may be implemented and maintained as necessary at the discretion of the LMA Board.   All grounds maintenance shall be the responsibility of LMA.  There shall be no material changes to the horticultural plan approved in the Master Plan.

10. All trees and other vegetation determined to be invasive by the State of Florida may be removed.

11. Appropriate signage shall be placed at the entrance to the ENA to specify the opening and closing times, that no bicycles or motorized vehicles are permitted and that pets must be on a leash.

12. The parties agree that the ENA is a common area subject to the Amended and Restated Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions on the Commons for the Landings "(Covenants"), as amended from time to time. To the extent, however, that the Covenants conflict with any of the terms set forth in this Agreement, the provisions of this Agreement shall control during its prescribed period. 

13.  It is understood and agreed that all provisions of this Agreement are subject to change provided the effective date of any change must be no earlier than eight years from the Effective Date of the Agreement . For this purpose, the Effective Date shall be the date when the last party signs a counterpart to the Agreement. Any changes to the Agreement must be made in the same manner following the same procedure as required for amendments to the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions subject to applicable law.      

14. The terms and conditions set forth in this Agreement shall be incorporated into a stipulated final judgment to be entered by the court in the pending litigation and shall be binding on all parties and their heirs, successors and assigns for the agreed upon eight year term of this Agreement and thereafter until changed in the manner provided in paragraph 13 above.  Each party shall bear their own attorney fees and costs. All parties irrevocably waive any right to seek rehearing or appeal the final judgment.

Failed Eagle’s Nest Area Mediation

The October 26 mandated mediation between the LMA and the property owners bringing suit over present and future use of the Eagle’s Nest Area resulted in an agreement between the representatives of both after a 12 hour plus session.

Participants in the session, a small LMA Board committee and a number of the plaintiffs met, we’re told, in separate rooms with a professional mediator carrying proposals back and forth.

That agreement was subject to complete and permanent confidentiality unless final approval from both the plaintiffs and the LMA Board occurred. The LMA has issued this statement:

On Thursday, October 26, 2011, a mandatory mediation regarding the Eagles Nest Area lawsuit was held and after additional discussions with the full LMA Board of Directors on Tuesday Evening, November 15, 2011, the mediation resulted in an impasse/no settlement.   

Because of the nature of mediation and confidentiality provided therein by Florida Rules of Court and Statute, all matters discussed are absolutely confidential and cannot be disclosed to any person outside of the mediation without being subject to contempt of court.  However, all members of the LMA Association are invited and encouraged to review the pleadings, motions for summary judgment and memoranda of law filed in the court file and available for review in the Clerk of Court’s public access office located in the historic courthouse at 2000 Main Street directly across from the Lynn Silvertooth Judicial Center.  The case number and style is  ‘Barner et. al. v. The Landings Management Association, Inc., Case No.: 2010-CA-5791.’  The lawsuit will continue to move forward and The Landings Management Association, Inc., through counsel, will endeavor to efficiently litigate this matter and protect the interests of all members of the Landings.

Relevant filings and articles concerning this dispute are also available at the LANDINGS EAGLE website at http://www.landingseagle.com/.  In brief, this lawsuit is a request by both Plaintiffs’ and the Association for the Court to determine the rights, obligations and duties of the Association as it relates to the Eagle Nest Area.  Litigation costs for this lawsuit have been budgeted and no monetary damages have been sought at this time.”

The Eagle has no information regarding the content of the tentative agreement beyond being told that the content is strictly confidential by mutual agreement,  and all aspects of it and any discussion  at the mediation sessions also remain confidential.

It is unclear as to whether the existence of a tentative agreement was to be kept confidential.   However, that is a moot point as one of the plaintiffs asked publicly at the November LMA board meeting whether the board had agreed to the terms. The Eagle believes it is now public information that a tentative agreement existed.

The Board gives no reason for not accepting the tentative agreement, beyond saying any comment would break the confidentiality agreement.

In attempting to clarify the formal statement by the LMA Board, the essence is this:  The Board will continue the litigation process, including establishing a court date for trial.  But that does not preclude further discussion between counsel for both litigants seeking an agreement prior to trial.

 

Earlier Filings

In May 2010 a complaint was filed in the Sarasota County 12th Circuit Court by 13 of the 18-20 property owners adjacent to the Eagles Nest Area. It was filed against  the LMA - therefore all property owners. Two plaintiff owners have since dropped out.

The Complaint alleges improper actions by the LMA relative to the LMA's management of the ENA.

As the filings are made available to The Eagle, generally after they have been filed with the court,  they will be posted here. Most recent are first.  To read in sequence start with the 5/28/2010 document. 

 The Complaint and Most of the Exhibits.  Additional exhibits can be reference on this site. Due to the quantity of materials not all are posted here.  Only those with a RED background are posted in  their entirety.

June 2011 - Judge Rules on Motions for Summary Judgment

   On June 3, 2011, Judge Donna Padar Berlin issued an Order denying both the Plaintiff's and Defendant's "Motion for Summary Judgment."        

   The case is likely to go on to further court litigation unless one or both of the two parties withdraw or the two parties reach a negotiated settlement.  Either party can request a trial date to continue adjudication. 

  RULING ON SUMMARY JUDGEMENT FILED JUNE 3, 2011  CLICK TO READ.

 

DEFENDANT/COUNTER PLAINTIFF'S 'S CROSS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGEMENT, AND SUPPORT THEREOF.  2/23/11 

Notice of hearing 4/1/11 On Defendants motion to compel plaintiff's better answers to interrogatories files 2/7/11

  PLAINTIFFS MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND INCORPORATED MEMORANDUM OF LAW 1/28/11

Two properties drop out of Plaintiff's Suit . . .12/13/2010 & 1/20/2011

 DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL PLAINTIFFS' BETTER ANSWERS TO INTERROGATORIES. . . 1/20/2011

The three items immediately below are legal requests from attorneys for the insurance company holding a policy insuring the LMA board. Identical documents were sent to plaintiff individually. The ones shown here carry the name of only the first plaintiff on the list, represented by the blank line on each description. 

Click Here:   Interrogatories to _____________ 10/21/10

Click Here: Request for Admissions to ___________ 10/21/10

Click Here: Request for Production to ____________    10/21/2010

 

Click Here: First Interrogatories from Plantiffs Notice

Undated

Click Here: First Request Production from Plaintiffs

8/6/2010

Click Here: Answer and Defenses to Counterclaim

8/6/2010

Click Here: LMA Counter Claims 7/16/2010

Click Here: Answer and Affirmative Defense  6/30/2010

Click Here: Original Summons Against LMA  5/28/10