‘Extraordinary’ class action lawsuit takes on FPL over Fort Lauderdale water main break

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Very few people and business owners take on a powerful giant and monopoly such as Florida Power & Light, but a judge recently cleared the way for a class action lawsuit.

Attorney Adam Moskowitz said this allows up to 9,300 businesses to seek damages for the losses incurred during last year’s water main break in Broward County.

“It’s very extraordinary,” Moskowitz said, adding there haven’t been “many cases that have ever gotten this far at all.”

Moskowitz, of Coral Gables, said about 500 businesses have already called to join the lawsuit.

An FPL contractor damaged a 42-inch water main prompting authorities to evacuate buildings in downtown Fort Lauderdale. (SKY 10, FILE VIDEO)

The trouble began on July 17, 2019 when Florida Communication Concepts, a subcontractor of FPL, damaged a 42-inch water main with an underground drill near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, according to city officials.

Water was cut to downtown Fort Lauderdale including at Galleria Mall. The fire department ordered downtown offices closed because there wasn’t water for fire suppression systems in the buildings.

Attorney David Dipietro is among the plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit. He said he had to close his downtown Fort Lauderdale law office that day, and it would be too costly for him to file a lawsuit against FPL on his own.

“The whole day was wiped out. We are about 15 employees; seven lawyers,” Dipietro said. “I think it is between $7,000 to $10,000 we lost that day in workable billable hours.”

FPL did not release a statement on the pending litigation. Dipietro and Moskowitz are expecting FPL to appeal Broward Circuit Judge William Haury’s decision to grant the class certification.

“So many people have thought, ‘OK. It’s just over. What am I gonna do against FPL? ... How will I ever see my day in court?’ And that is the wonderful thing about class actions," Moskowitz said.

There will be a hearing in the case on Oct. 2. Moskowitz is asking anyone who wants to join the class lawsuit to fill out the Moskowitz Law Firm’s contact form online.

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About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.