Quik Park West 57 LLC, Quik Park East 66 LLC, Quik Park East 72 LLC, Quik Park East 87 LLC v Bridgewater Operating Corporation
In this case, Rosenberg & Estis, representing the defendant Bridgewater Operating Corporation, succeeded after a two-day trial in Supreme Court before Justice Joel M. Cohen in reducing the plaintiffs’ over $2 million damage claims to a nominal award of only $1.00. The case devolved around a management agreement between Bridgewater as owner of four parking garages and the plaintiffs (“Quik Park”) as the managers of the respective garages. Shortly after the agreement was entered into, it became apparent to Bridgewater that Quik Park was not complying with the requirements of the agreement to keep the revenues of the four garages in separate accounts. Bridgewater accordingly hired an investigative firm to conduct a forensic audit, and it was discovered that approximately $6 million in garage revenues had been improperly converted and commingled by Quik Park into a sweep account, which Quik Park used to pay expenses at other Quik Park garage locations unrelated to the Bridgewater locations and for personal expenses, including a Porsche and Ferrari, of its president, Rafael Llopiz. As a result, Bridgewater terminated the management agreement and eventually succeeded after a successful motion for partial summary judgment in recovering possession. Bridgewater prevailed on that motion based on its contention that the management agreement was a revocable license rather than a lease. As a result, Bridgewater regained possession of the garages and Quik Park had merely a claim for damages, which Quik Park pursued unsuccessfully for the remainder of the case.
The nominal award was the product of intense cross-examination of the plaintiffs’ expert witness, whose testimony regarding alleged lost profits was shown to be inadequate and based on only 22 months of operations over a 70-month period. Upon cross, it was shown that the plaintiffs’ expert was not even aware that the garages lost money at the beginning of this 70-month period. As such, the Court struck the expert testimony and awarded only nominal damages of $1.00. While the Court did award attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs, Bridgewater promptly moved to set that award aside. That motion remains pending.