Chateau De La Mer: Expert Witness Case Study

Chateau De La Mer, a property located in Gulfport, MS, was badly damaged by both wind and flood from Hurricane Katrina. The condo included 144 units, managed by the association, separated into 7 buildings including the office. Each of the buildings had similar, but varying degrees of damage attributable to the hurricane’s wind and storm surge. The surge was at least 20 feet high at the southern end of the property bordering the gulf. The wind tore the roof off and laid it on the side of the building. The condo board was challenged with the very difficult task of determining a proper and fitting recovery plan.

John G. Minor, appraiser and president of Complete General Contractors, Inc., a licensed general contractor in Florida and North Carolina, was recommended by a client of Complete’s Pensacola Operation following Hurricane Ivan. John was asked, as an appraiser, to review the situation and recommend a course of action. He very quickly went about the business at hand with the direction of the highly regarded counsel afforded by the board’s attorneys Mr. Carroll Ingram Esq. & Jennifer Ingram Wilkinson Esq. of Ingram and Associates. Mr. Ingram’s office directed John to speak with the appraisers, adjusters, insurers and senior management of the applicable insurers. Additionally, Complete had an engineer supported replacement plan based on the damages to the property and in compliance with the provisions and spirit of the policies in effect at the time of the loss. Complete was responsible for the procurement and content of this 2,500 page document and 2,000 photos delivered on target. The estimate contained a line-by-line description supported by the reports of two engineering firms brought on to give direction as to the direct physical damage and how it affected the structure and interior finishes. The team functioned smoothly and confidently because of the hard work of all the members and their dedication to the unit owners of the Chateau De La Mer.

This project was a tremendous success and Mr. ingram and the Board hit a home run. The claim was favorably settled. The property sold and the owners were made whole. John Minor was proud to provide expert witness services to the firm and pleased to serve the board in the resolution of this 11,000,000 million dollar plus loss. The board president wrote in his email sharing the news of their victory without litigation, that the award was in large part due to the “professionalism and thoroughness of John Minor’s assessments and reports”

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