Lennen v. Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc., et al.May 20, 2016
UPDATE: Amended Complaint filed on October 25, 2017. Available for download.
This class action, filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida (Lennen v. Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc., et al., 6:16-cv-0855), was filed on behalf of purchasers of Marriott timeshare interests in Marriott's points-based Marriott Vacation Club program (the "MVC Product") and owners of Marriott's tradtional week-to-week timeshares ("Legacy Timeshares").
In sum, the action involves allegations that Defendants, through a series of convoluted and patently illegal transactions, engaged (and continue to engage) in a scheme to convey illusory real property ownership interests to purchasers of the MVC Product. While purchase of the MVC Product is said to convey both title to a Florida timeshare estate and a beneficial interest in a Florida land trust, it, in fact, conveys neither. In reality, the MVC Product conveys to its purchasers nothing more than a simple awards program prodiving access to selected Marriott-owned timeshares throughout the country. The purpose of packaging the MVC Product as a real estate transaction is simple: the product provides significant opportunities for revenue that would not otherwise exist in connection with an awards program of this nature or even, for that matter, with the sale of Legacy Timeshares of the type Marriott has sold for decades.
The Complaint names as defendants Marriott Ownership Resorts, Inc., Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation, d/b/a Marriott Vacation Club, Marriott Resorts Travel Company, Inc., d/b/a MVC Exchange Company (collectively, "Marriott," unless identified specifically), Marriott Title Insurance, MVC Owners Association, First American Financial, First American Trust, FSB, First American Title Company (collectively, "First American"), Orange County Florida, and Orange County Comptroller, Martha O. Haynie (collectively "Defendants"), for claims including violations of the Florida Vacation and Timeshare Act, § 721.01, Fla. Stats., et seq., the Florida Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act ("Florida RICO"), § 895.01, et seq., for common law claims of negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, and for declaratory and injunctive relief.
While Marriott, First American, and others have profited greatly from sales of the MVC Product, purchasers of the MVC Product continue to suffer the consequences of the deception. For one, MVC Owners are deprived of any of the benefits of real-property ownership while shouldering all the burdens, costs, and fees as if they had such title. Moreover, purchasers continue to suffer harm as a result of Marriott's opaque and discretionary point-valuation process, which results in significant dilution and lacks any reliable metric for tracking their so-called beneficial interests, as well as Marriott's unfettered process of adding and restricting access to properties in the underlying land trust.
Finally, as Defendants continue to exploit and profit from the MVC Product owners of Legacy Timeshares aslo suffer due to continued and increasing interference with their and actual ownership interests and Marriott's unlawful exchange and reservation procedures that restrict their ability to use and enjoy their ownership rights.
Plaintiffs in this action are purchasers of both the MVC Product and owners of Legacy Timeshares. They are represented by Newman Ferrara LLP, Soomi Kim, Esq., and the Polaszek Law Firm, PLLC.
Newman Ferrara LLP
Jeffrey M. Norton
1250 Broadway, 27th Fl.
New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 619-5400