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Longboat Key Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009 8 years ago

Cedars West serves Cedars tennis resort with lawsuit

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

Cedars West of Longboat Inc. filed a lawsuit against Cedars Tennis and Fitness Club Inc., seeking damages in excess of $15,000. The dispute is over two hard-surface tennis courts located across the street from Cedars West condominium, 5655 Gulf of Mexico Drive.

The lawsuit, filed Friday, Oct. 23, in the Manatee County Courthouse, states that the tennis club took over the courts “by strong arm without the consent of Cedars West.”

According to the lawsuit, Cedars West had exclusive rights to the courts as the result of a 1981 agreement with Hunt Building Corp., the predecessor in title to Cedars Tennis and Fitness Club.

The lawsuit states: “The Agreement further provided that it could only be terminated by Cedars West, its successor or assigns relinquished its rights in writing or if Cedars West constructively abandoned the Tennis Courts by failing to maintain and repair the tennis courts, nets and fencing in a manner substantially equivalent to its then existing condition.”

An Aug. 14 report from the Longboat Key Police Department stated that Cedars West Manager Patricia Bell called police after Randy Langley, president of Cedars Tennis and Fitness Club, delivered a letter to the condominium stating that residents no longer had rights to the two tennis courts. The letter said that Cedars West’s failure to maintain and repair the courts, nets and fencing amounted to “constructive abandonment.”

The letter stated: “There are new locks on the gates. Your right to the courts is hereby terminated and your presence on the courts will be considered trespassing.”

The lawsuit states that shortly after Langley purchased the tennis club in May 2008, he “demanded of Cedars West management that (Cedars Tennis and Fitness Club) have joint use of the tennis courts with Cedars West, as (Cedars Tennis and Fitness Club) had need for hard surface courts for its tennis club.”
Langley said he could not comment on the lawsuit.

According to Andre Perron, of the Bradenton law firm Ozark, Perron & Nelson, which represents Cedars West, the two parties initially entered into negotiations, but he is unable to comment on the negotiations. But he said that at the time Langley assumed control of the tennis courts, Cedars West had a contract with Lawson Courts Inc. to make repairs.

“In any event, we deemed the courts playable,” Perron said.

Perron said that Langley has continued to use the courts without making any substantial repairs of which Cedars West owners are aware.

A temporary-injunction hearing is scheduled for 2:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at the Manatee County Courthouse.

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected]

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