On December 15, 2022, we reported that in October of 2022, a Superior Court of New Jersey jury awarded FantaSea Resort timeshare victims $1,069,284. This week we report on the attorneys for the FantaSea Resort plaintiffs that were awarded $722,714 for attorney fees and costs. FantaSea Civil Case
As stated in the FantaSea court’s ruling, the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and the New Jersey Real Estate Timeshare Act provide that the consumer prevailing in their action is entitled to reasonable counsel fees and costs. A breakdown of fees and opinions of “reasonable” are detailed in the above PDF link. In determining what constitutes reasonable, the court took into consideration the fact that the lawsuit spanned over four years, 19 individuals were represented and there were 11 causes of action. Three law firms worked on the case. The trial lasted 13 days.
FantaSea is a member of the timeshare industry lobby, the American Resort Development Association (ARDA). In March of 2019, I sat behind ARDA-ROC Chairman Kenneth McKelvey when he testified at a Florida legislative workshop that he has been in the industry for 30 years and that every resort he knew had a dissolution policy. According to the seniors below, Flagship offered no responsible exit. Other resorts that do not participate in ARDA’s Coalition for Responsible Exit https://responsibleexit.com/ are listed in this article:
As we reported previously, allegations described in the FantaSea lawsuit confirmed allegations that were reported to After Inside Timeshare by three seniors who had purchased a FantaSea timeshare – allegations that meet the definition of financial elder abuse.
FantaSea Complaint #1: A New Jersey resident, age 78
To Ms Kimberly D’Agostino, Director
I purchased a FantaSea timeshare in November of 2013 for $7,900 from Flagship Resort Development Corp. After complaining about the lack of availability, I was told that the unit I had was not desirable and I should upgrade. In July 2015, I upgraded to a LaSammana unit for $15,900. As of September 2019, I have NEVER been able to use this property because of my age and medical problems, including hip replacement, knee replacement, a broken arm, and 10 broken ribs with a punctured lung. FantaSea’s title department responded to my request for release, “We don’t do that.”
Complaint #2, a widow, Pennsylvania resident, no computer
This owner was 88 years old. Her driver’s license could not be renewed. Roxanne at FantaSea informed her that there is no exit. Lisa Van Winkle, Manager of the Title and Legal Department, responded to me, “Ms Parker, I wish that we could take back the units of every owner who calls us with a sad story. Unfortunately, the condo association could not afford to pay all of their fees. We will make an exception for Mrs G and send her a Quit Claim Deed to terminate her ownership.”
I responded, “Helen is 88 years old, a widow. She has just been denied a driver’s license. She uses a walker. Kenneth McKelvey testified, “All resorts I am familiar with, all have a dissolution policy.” Do you have to be in a permanent coma?”
FantaSea Complaint #3 – Seniors in Virginia, ages 67 and 68
My husband and I purchased a Flagship timeshare years ago. We were told the timeshare was real estate and would be easy to sell. I have learned timeshares are almost impossible to sell. We cannot travel. My husband has ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. We requested a voluntary surrender. We have no loan outstanding. We only used the timeshare one time since we bought it.
FantaSea Resort owners $1,069,284 jury award
Last week we reported that Club Exploria agreed to pay the Aaronson Law Firm $175,000 in attorney fees and costs. Clearly, the courts are showing concern about the predatory nature of timeshare sales and lending and the predatory nature of developer lawsuits.
As reported by PRNewswire.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J., Oct. 6, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — A Superior Court jury in New Jersey decided in favor of consumers deceived by timeshare seller FantaSea Resorts, awarding the plaintiffs a $1,069,285 verdict for the Atlantic City resort’s intentionally deceptive sales practices. The victory for consumers was championed by Schroeter Goldmark & Bender along with partners, Flitter Milz, PC and the Law Office of David Ricci.
Thank you, Irene, as we said at the end of our last article on the Aaronson Law firm, it does appear that the tide is turning against timeshare developers, with the only winners being the lawyers. It really is a strange industry, it has developed its product with so many “legal” clauses, and the only way to resolve any issue is through expensive legal action. The industry counts on this knowing full well most people will never follow through, they simply cannot afford to risk it, bowing down to the wishes of the developer. To coin a phrase common in London, “they have you by the short and curlies”.
The tide is turning for timeshare developers, their unethical to say the least practices during sales, and their greed in holding hostage vulnerable and elderly consumers, are coming to an end, it will not be tomorrow but it is coming, of that, you can be sure.
We hope you all have a great weekend, both myself and Baby Dog have been suffering from the Saharan dust that regularly engulfs us, so keeping indoors with windows closed.