Lennar awarded $1 billion in civil defamation and conspiracy case

 

mbrannigan@miamiherald.com

A civil jury in Miami-Dade Circuit Court awarded Miami-based Lennar Corp. $1 billion in damages against California developer Nicolas Marsch III and his Briarwood Capital LLC for defamation and conspiracy to extort money from the giant homebuilder.

Collecting the award was "doubtful,'' Lennar CEO Stuart Miller said in a statement. He added: "The true value of the verdict is the validation of our integrity, credibility and transparency, which have always been cornerstones of our foundation. The jury award represents a complete vindication of Lennar's reputation and good name.”

The verdict includes $802 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages, Lennar said.

The jury award followed findings by the trial court that Marsch conspired with Barry Minkow, a convicted felon, to extort money from Lennar. In 2011, Minkow was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to scheming to commit securities fraud to depress the Lennar’s stock.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that the civil suit was in U.S. District Court.

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