PLDO Attorneys Secure $1.1M Victory for Client

Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC (PLDO) obtained a $1.1. million judgement for its client, IDC Properties, Inc. (“plaintiff”) in United States District Court for the District of Rhode Island (“Federal Court”) against Chicago Title Insurance Company in the matter, IDC Properties, Inc. v. Chicago Title Insurance Company, C.A. No. 09-632-JJM-PAS.

PLDO’s Litigation Practice represented IDC at a trial before United States District Court Chief Judge John J. McConnell seeking damages for Chicago Title’s refusal to pay pursuant to a title policy. PLDO’s trial team consisted of attorneys William O’Gara, William Devereaux, Matthew Reeber and Kathryn Couture. Attorneys Devereaux, O’Gara and Reeber have represented IDC since 2007 and, during their representation, secured for IDC over $6 million dollars related to litigation over unique parcels of land located on Goat Island in Newport, RI.

In 2005, after the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued a decision concerning IDC’s property on Goat Island, IDC made a demand to Chicago Title under its title insurance policy and over the next two and a half years, Chicago Title investigated the claim. In the end, Chicago Title denied IDC coverage, which led IDC to commence legal action in 2009. Finally, in July 2022, after Judge McConnell had granted a motion for summary judgment dismissing all of IDC’s claims, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit found that Chicago Title’s denial of insurance coverage had breached its contract with IDC, which covered the loss associated with two waterfront parcels of land on Goat Island: the South Unit and West Unit. The First Circuit remanded the matter to Federal Court for a trial. Judge McConnell then scheduled a bench trial in May 2023 where both sides presented evidence, including expert witness testimony to determine the amount of damages based on the properties’ value as of December 19, 1997.

IDC’s expert, Peter Scotti, produced a comprehensive report and testified at trial that the West Unit should be valued at $560,000 and the South Unit at $540,000. Chicago Title’s expert valued the properties at $146,000 and $154,000, respectively. The Court agreed that IDC’s expert used the appropriate method to determine the value of the South and West Units. Furthermore, Judge McConnell specifically pointed out: “The Court finds Mr. Scotti’s opinions and testimonies to be extremely credible and based on a well-established foundation.” The Court “did not find the testimony by Chicago Title’s expert credible, nor in line with the comparable sales approach.” For these reasons, the Court awarded PLDO’s client $1.1 million, plus interests and costs, on March 29, 2024.

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“We are pleased with this decision by the federal court and appreciate the confidence our client had in our team, who aptly developed strong arguments, utilized skillful cross examination and produced a credible expert to achieve victory and obtain a just result for our client,” said Attorney Reeber.

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