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L & N Grove, Inc. v. Chapman - 291 So. 2d 217 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1974)

Rule:

It is necessary to prove the existence of a constructive trust by clear and convincing evidence.

Facts:

Plaintiffs Robert Chapman and others were the owners of a 10-acre tract of land in Central Florida.  Plaintiff was contacted by Paul Curtis, who was a real estate broker who maintained offices in Orlando and St. Petersburg, inquiring about Chapman's interest in selling the property. The parties came to an agreement to sell the parcel at one-and-one half times the fair market value for grove property. Subsequently, Chapman heard about resort development plans for the area. The sellers filed an amended complaint to rescind the contract and deed and to impose a constructive trust on the property alleging that defendant Curtis was the real estate broker for plaintiff sellers and that he breached the fiduciary relationship by failing to disclose certain material facts, principally the impact of Walt Disney World on the value of the property involved. The trial court entered a final judgment in favor of plaintiffs. Defendants Curtis and L&N Grove appealed.

Issue:

Is the claim of constructive trust by the seller supported by substantial evidence?

Answer:

No.

Conclusion:

The court reversed the order in favor of plaintiff sellers, Robert Chapman and family, and directed the trial court to enter judgment in favor of defendant buyers, Paul Curtis family and L&N Grove, the real estate broker firm. The record was not supported by substantial competent evidence that defendant buyers had knowledge of the impact that Walt Disney World would have on the value of this property and failed to disclose it to plaintiff sellers.

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