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White Flint opposes $100k costs order for Lord & Taylor case

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Lord & Taylor’s lawsuit stemmed from Lerner Enterprises LLC’s five-year-old plan to redevelop White Flint Mall into an open-air shopping center along Rockville Pike and the department store filed suit in July 2013, arguing White Flint breached its contract with the department store by closing the mall without consent. (File photo)

White Flint Mall is asking a federal judge to review an order that it pay more than $100,000 in costs to Lord & Taylor LLC stemming from a multimillion dollar breach-of-contract lawsuit between the parties.

Lord & Taylor claimed $112,000 in costs last year after the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a $31 million jury verdict in the department store’s favor in a lawsuit over the proposed redevelopment of the Montgomery County shopping center. The clerk awarded the department store $109,033.38 in costs last month, but White Flint moved for a review of the order.

A hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 3 in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

Lord & Taylor listed court fees for filings and subpoenas, deposition and hearing transcript production for defending on appeal, expert witness expenses and copies. White Flint argues the case was closed, and Lord & Taylor’s litigation strategy drove costs up.

White Flint also claims certain costs were not necessary and cannot be taxed to them, including copies and transcripts.

In a response filed Thursday, Lord & Taylor accused White Flint of causing discovery to be long and drawn-out by adopting a “scorched-earth approach” and taking “every opportunity to drive up costs in its fruitless quest to avoid paying for the damages it caused Lord & Taylor.”

The lawsuit stemmed from White Flint owner Lerner Enterprises LLC’s plan to redevelop the site into an open-air shopping center along Rockville Pike. Lord & Taylor filed suit in July 2013, arguing White Flint breached its contract with the department store by closing the mall without consent.

In its move away from an enclosed mall, Lerner Enterprises, doing business as White Flint L.P., demolished a former Bloomingdale’s store and did not renew leases for other tenants. Lord & Taylor claimed Lerner’s intentional creation of high vacancy rates and promotion of the new development caused customers to stop patronizing the mall and Lord & Taylor specifically.

The jury deliberated for more than two days after a 10-day trial in 2015 before awarding Lord & Taylor $31 million.

Lord & Taylor maintains it is entitled to costs as the prevailing party and the requests “represent a mere fraction of what (the plaintiff) actually incurred in this case and of what it was awarded as damages.”

The case is Lord & Taylor, LLC et al v. White Flint, L.P., 8:13-cv-01912-RWT.

Dave & Buster’s, another former tenant, also sued to stop the redevelopment, saying it violated its lease. But a federal judge in 2014 ordered the restaurant and arcade to close.

 

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