Commercial Litigation

Malek v. Malek, 346 So. 3d 179 (Fla. 3d DCA 2022)

In an appeal stemming from disputed ownership of a British Virgin Islands corporation that holds Florida real estate worth millions of dollars, the firm obtained reversal of an order compelling arbitration. Before the appeal, the BVI corporation had successfully intervened in the trial court—contending that an arbitration provision in its articles controlled the procedure for deciding who owns its shares. In a victory for the firm’s client, the appellate court held that the corporation had no interest in who owns it and, thus, no dispute with any shareholder over governance of the entity.

Olympus Ins. Co. v. Miller, Case No. 4D21-1903

The firm recently prevailed for the insured in a residential property insurance appeal when the insurer voluntarily dismissed its appeal, after full briefing and the scheduling of oral argument. The appeal involved policy interpretation—specifically the insurer’s contention that an endorsement to the policy authorized it to pay for all loss, including the insured’s claim for additional living expense—from the mold coverage protection of the policy, thereby exhausting policy limits below the insured’s damages that were recovered at trial.

Gobbi v. Mamann.

The firm represented one of the world’s leading art collectors in a multimillion dollar real estate dispute as co-counsel before the trial court and, then, lead appellate counsel—representation that ultimately led to settlement with the producer of “Seinfeld” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Bank of America, N.A. v. Colombo, 329 So. 3d 260 (Fla. 3d DCA 2021)

In the appellate court, the firm protected its client’s entitlement to pursue punitive damages against Bank of America in commercial litigation between its client and the bank. Bank of America had filed a petition for writ of certiorari to vacate the order allowing the firm’s client to pursue punitive damages against it. But the firm was able to defeat that attempt, entitling its client to pursue punitive damages against the bank in the trial court.

Kozel v. Kozel, 302 So. 3d 939, 941 (Fla. 2d DCA 2019)

The firm convinced the appellate court to reverse a $38 million judgment that the trial court had entered against the firm’s client—the former CEO of an international oil company—in post-judgment family-law proceedings. In an appeal that turned on interpreting the parties’ extensive property settlement agreement, the appellate court agreed with the firm that the multimillion dollar judgment had not enforced the terms of the parties’ agreement and, instead, amounted to a stand-alone money judgment that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to enter in post-judgment family-law litigation.

Conrad FLB Managment, LLC v. Diamond Blue Int’l, Inc., 300 So. 3d 716 (Fla. 3d DCA 2019)

In an appeal arising from a complex real-estate development transaction, the firm obtained a reversal of a breach-of-promissory note judgment that had been entered against two of the firm’s clients. In achieving this victory, the firm was able to defeat the plaintiffs’ novel argument that monetary liability could be imposed on a non-signatory to a contract simply because the non-signatory benefitted from the loan proceeds that were the subject of the contract and happened to be related to the signing entity.

Toomey v. Northern Trust Co., 182 So. 3d 891 (Fla. 3d DCA 2016).

The firm represented beneficiaries to a high-profile, multimillion dollar estate who were seeking to overturn a protective order preventing them from deposing witnesses in an effort to preserve their testimony. Despite the discretionary legal standard that generally rejects appeals from orders denying discovery, the firm prevailed in demonstrating that its clients were irreparably harmed by the protective order.

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Smith

The firm upheld a $30 million dollar verdict against a tobacco company’s challenge to both the compensatory damages ($10 million in noneconomic damages) and punitive damages ($20 million) awards. The firm persuaded two of the three judges on the panel to specially concur in upholding the judgment despite their stated deep concerns regarding whether there was evidence to support the large jury verdict.

The “Two Forgotten Children” Case

The firm represented the State of Florida as special appellate counsel in a child welfare case of national interest in response to a “celebrated circuit court damage action”[Christina A. Zawisza, Child Welfare Managed Care in Florida: Will It Be Innovation or Abdication?, 25 Nova L. Rev. 619, 628 (2001)] that levied a $4.4 million jury award against the Department of Children and Families. The firm’s successful appellate representation resulted in the appellate court vacating the judgment and remanding the case with instructions that each child’s damages be capped at $100,000.