Fort Myers, Fl (Nov. 15, 2023) – Scott Hertz, an attorney and partner with Aloia, Roland, Lubell & Morgan, PLLC, recently collected a $704,524 judgement for his clients in a property damage lawsuit. It is one of the largest property damage cases ever won by the law firm.
Hertz represented the Fort Myers residents Matthew and Trish Oakley, who had filed a breach of contract lawsuit in Lee County Circuit Court against Heape Enterprises Inc. doing business as Heape Construction to recover damages during renovation work on their home.
Through testimony, emails, construction documents and other correspondence, Hertz was able to prove most of the work on the house was done by unlicensed contractors used by Heape Construction’s principal, Jeffrey Heape. The licensed general contractor Gregory Heape, who qualified Heape Construction for the work, actually had zero involvement with the job.
All the plumbing, electrical and structural work was performed by unlicensed people, testimony revealed, in direct violation of Florida Building Codes and state law. And Heape paid them with cash, so there was no substantive paper trail. What tipped off the homeowners were repeated failed city inspections – plumbing 10 to 12 times and electrical several times. Heape Construction was able to convince licensed plumbing and electrical contractors to sign off on the work to attempt to hide the unlicensed work, according to the evidence.
After the unlicensed work was discovered, Heape was replaced by a licensed contractor, who basically had to gut the home and start over, redoing all the plumbing, electrical and structural work. All of this work was completed before Hurricane Ian in September 2022 or the house probably would have been destroyed during the Category 5 storm, the Oakley’s were told.
“Once all of the evidence was produced,” it was clear the construction company had breached its contract and the Oakley’s were entitled to substantial damages,” Hertz said. “Unlicensed contractors remain a significant problem in Florida, and homeowners should always beware of this illegal activity.”
About Aloia, Roland, Lubell & Morgan, PLLC
Aloia, Roland, Lubell & Morgan is a full-service law firm with practice areas in business and real estate law, commercial litigation, personal injury and wrongful death, civil litigation, family law, estate planning and probate. Established in 2004 and led by senior partners Frank Aloia, Jr., Ty Roland, Evan Lubell, and Jack Morgan along with partners Danielle Levy Seitz, Jonathan Martin and Scott Hertz, the firm has deep roots in Southwest Florida, proudly serving its community. Aloia Roland is headquartered at 2222 Second Street in downtown Fort Myers. Learn more at www.LawDefined.com or call (239) 791-7950.