Elliott Greenleaf Wins $20 Million Chester County Jury Verdict

Firm News

September 30, 2015

On September 29, 2015, a Chester County jury returned a $20,000,000 verdict in favor of Plaintiff Applecross Club Operations, LLC (“Applecross”), a member of the Talamore Family of Country Clubs, against Defendants Pulte Homes Of Pennsylvania, L.P., Pulte Home Corporation Of The Delaware Valley and PH 50 LLC (collectively, “Pulte”), in a trial before the Honorable William P. Mahon in the Court of Common Pleas of Chester County.

On September 14, 2012, Applecross filed a Complaint against Pulte for breach of contract and promissory estoppel in Applecross v Pulte Homes of Pennsylvania, et al., (CCP. Chester County, No. 2012-09804), alleging that Pulte induced it to purchase and operate a champion golf course and luxury country club facilities by promising to build over 1,000 residential homes in a planned community sprawling across two townships in Chester County, East Brandywine Township and West Brandywine Township. Less than two years after Applecross acquired the golf and country club, Pulte walked away from building a large portion of the community in West Brandywine Township, including 375 residences.

Applecross alleged that Pulte’s refusal to build the 375 units in West Brandywine Township was a breach of contract, and cost Applecross millions of dollars in lost revenues and profits from country club memberships.

Pulte asserted that it never agreed to build over 1000 homes, and never agreed to build the portion of the community in West Brandywine Township. Prior to the trial, Judge Mahon found that the written agreements between Applecross and Pulte were ambiguous because of a key missing exhibit that defined and described the community Pulte agreed to build, and ruled that parol evidence is necessary to interpret the contract.

After considering parol evidence, the jury found that there was a written agreement that Pulte would build over 1000 homes, including in West Brandywine Township, and awarded $20,000,000 in damages.

Applecross was represented by Elliott Greenleaf lawyers Timothy T. Myers, Marvin L. Wilenzik, Stewart J. Greenleaf, Jr. and Michelle E. Costa.