FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – For two months, Florida Power & Light and an attorney for several Broward County businesses have been going back and forth in mediation trying to resolve a case without having to go to trial.
The case stems from an incident in the summer of 2019 when several cities were without water service due to an FPL contractor breaking a water pipe.
But the back and forth mediation has not gone well, so now it will be more than 9,000 businesses fighting against FPL.
“They just do not want to resolve this case,” attorney Adam Moskowitz said.
Moskowitz represents businesses who were forced to close for at least two days because of the broken water pipe.
On Monday, a judge granted an order, allowing thousands of Broward County businesses to join a class action lawsuit against FPL.
“We are going to send out 9,000 notices now,” Moskowitz said. “If you’re a business in Broward, look out for that notice, start to gather all the records you have to your damages.”
Moskowitz said an unlicensed FPL subcontractor repairing electric lines in July 2019 hit a water main while drilling near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.
Water had to be shut off for two days, and no water meant fire sprinkler systems didn’t work and restaurant dishwashers couldn’t sanitize.
Stores, restaurants, office buildings and hotels were forced to close and evacuate and Fort Lauderdale’s mayor declared a state of emergency.
Moskowitz said FPL refuses to take responsibility even though they and their subcontractor are insured.
“They are blaming the other contractors,” he said. “They are blaming the city of Fort Lauderdale, but nobody hit the water pipe besides these people.”
Jimmy Facciolo is the owner of Cafe Europa on Las Olas Boulevard and said he likely lost $10,000 due to the incident.
“We lost about two days’ worth of revenue,” he said. “I’m surprised that this action has gotten this far because it is very difficult to sue FPL.”
The Marriott Harbor Beach, Riverside Hotel, Rocco’s Tacos, Press and Grind Café and a law office are already part of the lawsuit.
“I think we have $2 million in damages for just those named plaintiffs,” Moskowitz said. “Imagine what the damages will be for 9,200 businesses, and we’ll see our day in court against FPL.”
FPL is appealing the judge’s order granting the class action lawsuit. A representative from FPL told Local 10 News Thursday that they would not comment on pending litigation.
Click here to contact Moskowitz for more information about joining the class action lawsuit against FPL.