CROCKER CIRQUE II, LLC, RICHARD J. GODUTI, and JAMESP.GODUTI, Plaintiffs
RICHARD J. ABBONDANZA, ESQ., JAMES A. HOPKINSON, ESQ., and HOPKINSON & ABBONDANZA, PA., Defendants
ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
the court is defendants Richard J. Abbondanza, Esq., James A.
Hopkinson, Esq., and Hopkinson & Abbondanza, PA.'s
motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the
motion is granted.
2005, plaintiffs Richard Goduti and James Goduti retained
defendants Richard Abbondanza, Esq. and Hopkinson &
Abbondanza, PA. to represent plaintiffs in the formation of a
limited liability corporation, Crocker Cirque II, LLC
("Crocker Cirque"). (Defs.' Supp'g S.M.F.
¶ 1.) In the representation of plaintiffs,
defendant Abbondanza prepared condominium documents, Fall
Line Declaration of Condominium, recorded on December 1,
2005, with plaintiff Crocker Cirque as the declarant.
(Defs.' Supp'g S.M.F. ¶ 2.) This Declaration of
Condominium included a provision limiting plaintiff Crocker
Cirque's right to declare additional units to ten years
from the date of recording. (Defs.' Supp'g S.M.F.
¶ 3.) On April 13, 2006, defendant Hopkinson &
Abbondanza prepared an Amended and Restated Declaration of
Fall Line Condominium, recorded April 13, 2006. (Defs.'
Supp'g S.M.F. ¶ 6.) The Amended Declaration altered
the time period for plaintiff Crocker Cirque to declare
additional units from ten years to seven years after the
recording of the Amended Declaration. (Defs.' Supp'g
S.M.F. ¶¶ 6-7.) Plaintiff Richard Goduti signed the
Declaration of Condominium and the Amended Declaration as
manager of plaintiff Crocker Cirque. (Defs.' Supp'g
S.M.F.¶¶ 5, 9.)
2012, an issue arose regarding whether plaintiffs could
adjust the footprint of one of the buildings in the
condominium project. (Pls.' Add'l S.M.F. ¶ 10.)
An associate at defendant Hopkinson & Abbondanza
researched and prepared a memorandum on the footprint issue,
which he emailed to defendant Abbondanza on June 4, 2012.
(Pls.' Add'l S.M.F. ¶¶ 11-12.) In the
memorandum about the footprint issue, the associate quoted
the Amended Declaration and stated, "Wherefore CC would
have to exercise its rights by April 13, 2013."
(Pls.' Add'l S.M.F. ¶ 15.) On May 5, 2015,
plaintiff Richard Goduti's wife emailed defendant
Abbondanza and inquired about the expiration of
plaintiffs' declaration rights. (Pls.' Add'l
S.M.F. ¶ 23.) Plaintiff Richard Goduti emailed defendant
Abbondanza on May 12, 2015 and inquired about the right to
develop additional units. (Pls.' Add'l S.M.F. ¶
Defendant Abbondanza responded that plaintiffs had the right
to declare additional units. (Pls.' Add'l S.M.F.
August 14, 2018, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to add
defendant James Hopkinson, Esq. In the first amended
complaint, plaintiffs allege defendants Abbondanza and
Hopkinson & Abbondanza breached the duty of care and were
a) failing to consult with Plaintiffs regarding a change to
the time period for exercising declarant rights;
b) failing to advise Plaintiffs of the reduction in the time
period for Crocker Cirque II, LLC to exercise its right to
declare additional units from ten (10) years to seven (7)
years after filing the Amended and Restated Declaration of
Fall Line Condominium;
c) failing in June of 2012 to advise Plaintiffs that
declaration rights had to be exercised prior to April 13,
d) failing in June of 2012 to advise Plaintiffs to amend the
Fall Line Condominium Declaration based on their knowledge of
the ongoing and continuing nature of the condominium project;
e) failing in May of 2015 to advise Plaintiffs that their
rights to declare additional units had already expired.
(Pls.' Amend. Compl. ¶ 44.) Plaintiffs also allege
defendants Hopkinson and Hopkinson & Abbondanza breached
their fiduciary duties by failing to advise plaintiffs that
they should not proceed with the new phase of construction in
light of the expiration of their declarant rights. (Pls.'
Amend. Compl. ¶ 63.)
August 14, 2018, plaintiffs filed an amended complaint
against defendants. Defendants filed an answer on August 27,
2018 and on November 30, 2018, defendants filed a motion for
summary judgment. Plaintiffs filed an opposition to the