HomeBusinessDrotos and Ryals awarded over $1.3 million from Bosshardt in arbitration
Drotos and Ryals awarded over $1.3 million from Bosshardt in arbitration
June 9, 2022
BY JENNIFER CABRERA
An arbitrator has awarded Daniel Drotos and Michael Ryals over $1.3 million in their lawsuit against Bosshardt Realty Services.
Drotos and Ryals had claimed that Bosshardt failed to pay them commissions that were due to them, based on an agreement they made after they gave notice that they were leaving Bosshardt to join Colliers International. The arbitrator found that claim to be justified and awarded Drotos and Ryals $732,312.28 in unpaid commissions plus interest that currently amounts to $77,997.73 and will continue to accrue until paid.
The arbitrator also held that Drotos and Ryals are the prevailing parties in the arbitration proceeding and are thus entitled to $522,841.38 in attorneys’ fees and $46,091.57 in fees related to the arbitration.
The arbitrator further found that Drotos and Ryals acted appropriately when they signed a real estate services contract with the School Board of Alachua County. Multiple witnesses testified that Team Ryals (the name that Drotos, Ryals, and their associates used when they were employed by Bosshardt) had been the deciding factor in the original decision to award the contract to Bosshardt; no other Bosshardt representative was involved in the submission or interview process for the contract. One witness said that the school board would have likely terminated the contract if it had later learned that Team Ryals was no longer at Bosshardt.
Bosshardt alleged in a counterclaim that Drotos and Ryals “slow walked” the school board contract until they had moved to Colliers, but the arbitrator found that the delays were caused by a request from Bosshardt’s lawyer for a copy of the document in Word format and the school board’s refusal to provide the document in that format. The school board asked the lawyer to mark up the PDF version of the document, and the lawyer admitted that she never did that.
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However, after Team Ryals left Bosshardt, the school board gave Bosshardt an opportunity to submit a proposal for the real estate services contract. A witness testified that the committee that reviewed the submissions ranked Team Ryals first and Bosshardt last of the three submissions.
Drotos and Ryals are also facing criminal charges related to downloading these “confidential files” from Bosshardt’s computer system, but the arbitrator found that Drotos and Ryals did not improperly take any confidential files. An expert witness testified that “there were no documents contained in these files that either belonged to [Bosshardt] or that he would not expect a departing sales agent to customarily take with him or her.”
The arbitrator also wrote that “the greater weight of the competent credible evidence established” that Bosshardt later voluntarily provided all of the files in question to Drotos and Ryals. Since the parties had a written agreement to split commissions on sales made after Drotos and Ryals left Bosshardt, the arbitrator wrote, “Without access to and copies of these pending files, it would not have been possible for [Drotos and Ryals] to continue to close these transactions on [Bosshardt’s] behalf. [Bosshardt] clearly both wanted and needed for [Drotos and Ryals] to have access to these files in order for [Bosshardt] to financially benefit from these transactions.”
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