Lawsuit filed against FPL, subcontractor following water main break in Fort Lauderdale

Numerous businesses forced to close down until water restored

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A lawsuit was filed Friday against Florida Power & Light and its subcontractor, Florida Communications Concepts Inc., a week after a 42-inch water main was damaged at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

The incident caused water to be shut off to the city of Fort Lauderdale and neighboring municipalities, including Davie, Tamarac, Oakland Park, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Wilton Manors. Port Everglades was also without water service. 

The owners of Phat Boy Sushi Inc. and Morgan Olsen & Olsen LLP hired class-action attorney Adam Moskowitz to represent them in the suit. 

Click here to read full lawsuit. 

"Tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in damages were directly suffered by so many different businesses in Broward, so this is an important avenue that we and the Court all need to navigate," Moskowitz said in a statement Monday. "After some very brief discovery, we will be moving quickly for class certification because the sole question for all businesses in Broward is whether FPL's gross negligence caused all of their damage for all being forced to close for the entire day due to the damaged pipes."

According to Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis, the subcontractor drilled a 6-inch hole in the 42-inch water main July 17 inside the restricted access gates at the airport.

The pipe that was struck is the main line that runs from the raw water supply to the Fiveash water treatment plant.

Water was shut off for much of the next day as repairs were being made. 

The subcontractor was cited after the incident, Trantalis said. 

"The facts will all be presented and they will speak for themselves," Florida Communication Concepts President Tim Hicks said on the phone to Local 10's Glenna Milberg two days after the incident. 

Shortly after the water main break occurred, FPL spokesman Bill Orlove said the company was investigating the incident and working with the city. On Monday, he said the company was aware of the lawsuit but would not comment on pending litigation "as the investigation is not yet complete."

The two plaintiffs are seeking in excess of $15,000, exclusive of interest, costs and attorney's fees, and are demanding a jury trial. 

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Amanda Batchelor is the Digital Executive Producer for