Columbus, Ohio – Business litigation law firm Cooper & Elliott is pleased to announce that the case between Stonehenge Land Company and a Board of Education (the full name has been withheld from this post for privacy) has reached a settlement agreement for $980,000.
According to court documents, the settlement was reached after the trial court indicated that it would very likely allow the case to proceed to trial.
Unfortunately, the poor decision-making of the School Board has cost the school district and its students a considerable amount of money. While Stonehenge had the right and reasons to sue for a much larger amount, they elected to settle for a smaller sum, sufficient to cover some of the losses caused by the School Board’s decisions without unduly harming the students of the district.
In 2007, the Superintendent of the School District asked Stonehenge Land Company to help secure a large parcel of property across from their High School. The School Board had long desired the property to expand the High School classroom space but was not experienced in acquiring or developing real estate. Stonehenge secured the property at a substantially reduced price and agreed to assign the Purchase Contract to the district in exchange for a promise to construct buildings on the property and for long term leases on two plot lots and a ground lease on the first floor of one of the buildings to be constructed on the property.
After Stonehenge put in months of work and assigned the purchase contract, the School Board changed course, publicly bid the construction contract and issued leases to third parties completely cutting Stonehenge out of the deal. Stonehenge was left with no recourse, except to sue the School Board, its Superintendent and its Board Members for fraud and breach of contract.
After choosing to violate its contract with Stonehenge, the district attempted to hide behind laws that protect governmental entities and schools from liability. Cooper & Elliott argued on behalf of Stonehenge that the School Board was engaged in a commercial activity and the typical shield applying to governmental entities and Schools did not apply. Cooper & Elliott believed strongly that the Court was poised to permit these claims to proceed to a jury trial.
Cooper & Elliott will not allow citizens to be bullied by any governmental entity that tries to then hide behind laws that shield the government against lawsuits. In cases of injustice like this one, our law firm will fight until justice is done and the injured party is put back into the position it would have been in but for the governmental misconduct. It is our hope that this case will cause this district and other governmental entities to think twice before engaging in commercial activity and then attempting to profit at the expense of others.
The outcome of any client’s case will depend on the particular legal and factual circumstances of the case.