Litigation

We have more than 20 litigators and trial attorneys in the Litigation Division operating with a boutique, team-oriented approach to service our public and private sector clients.  Our clients retain us to handle their most sensitive and high-profile matters.  We represent private businesses and individuals, as well as municipalities, at every level of the justice system. We do not just litigate, we try cases, and we try them in front of juries, judges, administrative panels, arbitrators and appellate panels.

We know that regardless of the goal, our clients are most likely to obtain the best results if we are prepared and willing to try the case, and we live by that promise. We also maintain an active appellate and administrative law practice generated both by our own trial court litigation and by referrals from our peers. The Firm’s mantra of “Integrity, Ingenuity, and Intensity” is part of the Division’s DNA and influences every decision made.

Our clients benefit from our extensive knowledge of specialized substantive subject matters including government contracts, municipal law, zoning and land use, commercial law, business law, real estate, employment and labor law, civil rights, election law, eminent domain, environmental law and ADA accessibility, as well as a wide array of State and Federal constitutional challenges.  And we are proud that over 150 times, courts have decided that our matters involved such challenging and novel legal issues that they have published their opinions about our cases.  These reported court opinions have in turn helped shape the law at the local, State and National levels.

While we are zealous advocates, we always seek to obtain optimum results in a cost-effective manner. We are well-versed in the most current alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods, and we frequently use them to our clients’ financial and tactical advantage.  We adopt a “team approach” to every one of our cases, combining our substantive knowledge in a given area being litigated with one of our skilled and accomplished trial attorneys. 

Just this year, two of our trial teams simultaneously tried jury cases to successful conclusions in Palm Beach and Miami-Dade Circuit Courts. In one, we obtained a $5 million settlement midway through the trial of a complex construction matter involving the City of Boca Raton’s Library. In the other, we obtained a jury verdict in favor of one of the owners of the legendary Joe’s Stone Crabs restaurant in a $20 million lawsuit involving claims for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. Few firms in the South Florida can claim the breadth of experience and talent to win two high-profile cases at the same time.

The most important member of our “team” is the client.  The goal of our litigators is to devise a “winning strategy” with the client’s close consultation and approval.  Every tactic employed by us to accomplish this agreed-upon strategy is approved by the client in advance (along with the budget for the matter). Our focus on the client’s needs sounds deceptively simple, but is only possible as a result of the dedicated team approach of our seasoned litigators. We put the client in a leveraged position at every interval in the life cycle of the litigation to make the key decision whether to obtain a favorable settlement or try the case.  We strive to ensure that our client’s position is never compromised and that the client is leaning forward, not back. This approach is not easy, but it’s the only way we know how to practice law. 

Business Dispute Resolution

We have prosecuted and defended a wide-variety of general commercial and business dispute issues in both individual and class action settings, including those establishing law in the areas of:

  • Breach of contract
  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Fraud and RICO
  • Business torts
  • Intellectual property
  • Construction defect and liens
  • Environmental
  • Franchise law
  • Defamation/libel
  • Securities
  • Breach of warranties
  • Class actions
  • Commercial Foreclosure
  • Bankruptcy
  • Hospitality
  • Condo and Homeowner Association and Resort Law
  • Election Law
  • Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices
  • Truth in Lending
  • Interstate Land Sales Act
  • Viatical Sales
  • Fraudulent Transfers
  • Insurance
  • Subrogation

 

Governmental Litigation

Our experience in municipal litigation is extensive. We defend municipalities and governmental agencies in all areas of liability.  We also defend elected officials, employees, individual departments, branches and divisions in both State and Federal courts at the trial and appellate levels.  We have successfully defended law enforcement personnel in the areas of false arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution and battery, including in §1983 actions.

We also specialize in cases involving negligence, tort liability, complex constitutional law issues, sovereign immunity, qualified immunity, civil rights, torts and common law claims.  Our litigators have extensive experience in a wide array of issues such as violations of constitutional rights, including the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments, racial discrimination, gender discrimination and disability discrimination.

Our trial lawyers have litigated cases up to the Florida Supreme Court relating to:

  • The imposition of municipal taxes
  • Special versus general law
  • Sovereign immunity
  • Election law
  • Special assessment
  • Safe water issues
  • Government health insurance plans
  • County fiscal responsibility

Labor, Employment and Civil Rights Litigation

Because of the unique nature of our areas of practice, our attorneys often litigate key issues in the labor, employment and civil rights area. With regard to labor issues, we have addressed claims involving:

  • Employment discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Retaliation
  • Family and Medical Leave
  • ADA
  • A union's waiver of statutory rights
  • Due process claims relating to collective bargaining
  • Pension issues
  • Restraints on hiring smokers
  • Fair Labor Standards Act
  • Breach of employment contracts/non-compete provisions
  • Police Liability
  • Religious Practices and Worship
  • Election Law

We participate in labor arbitrations on a regular basis and have also created law in the following areas:

  • Challenges to arbitration reports
  • Internal affairs investigations
  • Employee discipline
  • Employee termination

We have also successfully litigated, in jury and non-jury trials, key employment issues including:

  • Enforceability of an ordinance providing for a pension to a mayor
  • Enforcement of employment discrimination ordinances
  • Enforcement of civil service codes
  • Violations of the Florida Whistleblower Act
  • Violations of the Florida Civil Rights Act
  • Violations of Title VII

Alternate Dispute Resolution

We are experienced in a variety of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) techniques, including binding arbitration and non-binding mediation, and Florida’s unique “Summary Jury Trial” process. These methods are often used to settle disputes without exposing clients to the risk, time and expense of a trial.  But the most important quality we bring to bear on behalf of the client is that opposing counsel and parties know from our reputation that we are not afraid to try cases and win if we have to.  The well-known fact that we thrive in the courtroom setting, helps get cases settled in our client’s favor and in a cost-effective manner.

Select Reported Decisions

Labor, Employment and Civil Rights Litigation

    • Daniel v. Village of Royal Palm Beach, 889 So. 2d 988 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004) [affirming grant of summary judgment for city in claim of false arrest where arresting officer had probable cause to arrest defendant]
    • Favuzza v. Wilton Manors Police Department, 161 Fed. Appx. 911, 2006 WL 93232 (11th Cir. Jan. 13, 2006) [affirming denial of new trial for arrestee alleging § 1983 claim]
    • Fernander v. Bonis, 947 So. 2d 584 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) [affirming dismissal of § 1983 claim for malicious prosecution, false imprisonment, negligence] 
    • Goldberg v. Chong, 2007 WL 2028792 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 11, 2007) [granting receiver’s partial motion for summary judgment on the basis of fraudulent transfer made by employee]
    • Guess v. City of Miramar, 889 So. 2d 840 (Fla. 4th DCA 2004) [holding that former assistant city police chief alleging retaliatory discharge under the FCRA could not avail himself of “participation clause” in anti-retaliation provision of FRCA]
    • Hames v. City of Miami Firefighters’ and Police officers’ Trust, 980 So. 2d 1112  (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) [affirming Hearing Board determination which discontinued retirement benefits to officer convicted of obstruction of justice and that such discontinuation was not a forfeiture]
    • Hames v. City of Miami, 281 Fed. Appx. 853 (11th Cir. May 20, 2008) [affirming lower court decision that officer whose retirement benefits were discontinued as the result of his conviction during employment for obstruction of justice was not deprived of due process rights with his forfeiture claim]
    • Kent v. City of Homestead, 2002 WL 732109 (S.D. Fla. Mar. 14, 2002) [granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment on claims of discriminatory failure to promote and retaliatory harassment]
    •  Osten v. City of Homestead, 757 So. 2d 1243 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2000) [affirming dismissal of retaliatory discharge claim where plaintiff did not comply with statutory notice requirement and provisions of personnel manual did not give rise to contract]
    • Pritchett v. City of Homestead, 855 So. 2d 1164 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2003) [affirming grant of summary judgment to city in suit for negligent supervision of investigation of employee resulting in loss of earnings to employee for failure to promote]
    • Simcox v. City of Hollywood Police Officers’ Retirement System, 988 So. 2d 731 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) [affirming forfeiture of former police officer’s retirement benefits where former officer pleaded guilty in Federal court to conspiracy to possess heroin with intent to distribute]
    • Woods v. Paradis, 380 F. Supp. 2d 1316 (S.D. Fla. 2005) [granting summary judgment for city in § 1983 claim for false arrest]

Governmental Law

    • Addison v. City of Tampa, 33 So. 3d 742 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2010) [affirming order excluding from defendant class members not from county in which suit originated pursuant to home venue privilege]
    • Bal Harbour Village v. Welsh, 879 So. 2d 1265 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2004) [reversing denial of injunctive relief to village where village ordinance could be constitutionally enforced under police power to abate nuisance]
    • Bruckner v. City of Dania Beach, 823 So. 2d 167 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002) [affirming defendant’s motion for summary judgment where city’s private meeting regarding settlement of lawsuit fell within exemptions of Sunshine Law and any possible violation was cured in subsequent public meetings]
    • Castin .v Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 901 So. 2d 1020 (Fla. 4th DCA 2005) [affirming denial of class certification in action seeking damages for citrus trees destroyed by citrus canker eradication program]
    • City of Marco Island v. Dumas, 13 So. 3d 108 (Fla. 2nd DCA 2009) [granting city writ of mandamus to appeal order declaring portions of ordinance unconstitutional with instructions to reinstate appeal from county court)
    • Department of Agriculture & Consumer Affairs v. Borgoff, 35 So. 3d 84 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010) [affirming award for damages to compensate for property loss caused by citrus canker eradication program]
    • Feldman v. City of North Miami, 973 So. 2d 647 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2008) [affirming grant of summary judgment to city where ballot summary language is not clearly and conclusively defective so as to invalidate a Municipal Charter Amendment adopted by popular vote]
    • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services v. City of Pompano Beach, 829 So. 2d 928 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002) [affirming lower court’s determination of appropriate measure of damages in inverse condemnation claim]
    • Florida Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services v. Cox, 54 So. 3d 1026 (Fla. 4th DCA 2011) [affirming lower court’s determination that owners of destroyed citrus canker trees prevailed on issues of liability and damages]
    • Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services v. Cox, 947 So. 2d 561 (Fla. 4th CA 2006) [affirming lower court’s determination of appropriate measure of damages in inverse condemnation claim]
    • Florida Outdoor Advertising, LLC v. City of Boca Raton, 266 F. Supp. 2d 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2003) [holding for municipality in constitutional challenge to ordinance where no interest was acquired by municipality due to noncompliance with requirements governing notarization of application]
    • Jasinski v. City of Miami, 269 F. Supp. 2d 1341 (S.D. Fla. 2003) [holding ordinance imposing administrative fee in addition to towing and storage costs to owners whose automobiles were towed could be retroactively applied and administrative charge did not violate substantive due process or operate retroactive tax legislation.
    • Midrash Sephardi v. Town of Surfside, 2003 WL 25728149 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 11, 2003) [denying plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration where court enjoined plaintiff from violating town zoning code]
    • Midrash Sephardi v. Town of Surfside, 2003 WL 25728150 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 10, 2003) [order of entry of final judgment in favor of town in zoning code matter]
    • Midrash Sephardi v. Town of Surfside, 2003 WL 25728151 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 10, 2003) [enjoining synagogue from operating in tourist and business district in violation of town code of ordinances]
    • Patchen v. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 906 So. 2d 1005 (Fla. 2005) [affirming decision where property owners were eligible for compensation under citrus canker eradication program]
    • Sephardi v. Town of Surfside, 2003 WL 25728153 (S.D. Fla. Jun. 9, 2003) [granting town’s motion for reconsideration where plaintiffs admit to violation of town zoning code]
    • Sephardi v. Town of Surfside, 2003 WL 25728154 (S.D. Fla. May 1, 2003) [finding no discriminatory purpose in operation of code of ordinances forbidding synagogues and other religious establishments from operating in tourist and business district]
    • Sephardi v. Town of Surfside, 2003 WL 25728155 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 6, 2003) [denying plaintiff summary judgment in action alleging town zoning code was discriminatory]
    • Sephardi v. Town of Surfside, 2003 WL 25728163 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 31, 2000) [granting defendant’s motion for summary judgment in action where plaintiffs alleged enforcement of zoning code prohibiting operation of religious establishments in tourist and business district discriminated against synagogue]
    • Village of Islamorada v. Higgs, 882 So. 2d 1009 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2003) [holding marina serving both residents and nonresidents was entitled to ad valorem tax exemption]

Real Estate, Zoning and Land Use

    • City of Boca Raton v. Boca Raton Airport Authority, 768 So. 2d 1191 (Fla. 4th DCA 2000) [holding city could challenge issuance of temporary injunction in breach of lease action on ground that it was without notice and allegations made by airport authority were insufficient to justify issuance of temporary injunction without notice]
    • City of Hollywood Community Redevelopment Agency v. 1843, LLC, 980 So. 2d 1138 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008) [reversing dismissal of eminent domain petition where partial destruction of historically significant hotel did not demonstrate that the condemnation was not reasonably necessary]
    • Gil Ericksen Properties, LLC v. Pompano Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, 997 So. 2d 522 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009) [affirming order stipulating values for property where owner had waived arguments as to fraud and subject matter jurisdiction]
    • GLA and Associates, Inc. v. City of Boca Raton, 855 So. 2d 278 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003) [affirming grant of summary judgment to city where developer was collaterally estopped from alleging that ordinance was preempted and ordinance was not preempted by State Shore Preservation Act]
    • Miami-Dade County v. Redland Estates, Inc., 964 So. 2d 701 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2006) [denying petition to county where park was not transformed into a nonconforming use by changes in setback requirements where park had no buildings erected during relevant time period]
    • Monroe County v. Ambrose, 866 So. 2d 707 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2003) [reversing grant of summary judgment for landowners where question of material fact existed as to whether landowners had vested developmental rights where land was designated as part of area of critical State concern and local government approved new land use regulations]
    • Sounds of Service Radio, Inc. v. Village of Islamorada, 344 F. Supp. 2d 1376 (S.D. Fla. 2004) [denying plaintiff’s motion to enjoin city from proceeding in case involving contractual lease dispute]
    • Sun Cruz Casinos, LLC v. City of Hollywood, 844 So. 2d 681 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003) [holding that gaming boat operation was not a permitted accessory use to restaurant and thus zoning code prohibited operation and city was not equitably estopped from enforcing its zoning code as to third gaming boat]
    • Village of Key Biscayne v. Tesaurus Holdings, Inc., 761 So. 2d 397 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2000) [holding developer was not denied due process when council denied approval of site plan after approving preliminary plan]
    • The Williams Island Synagogue, Inc v. City of Aventura, 358 F. Supp. 2d 1207 (S.D. Fla. 2005), aff’d. 144 Fed .Appx .857, 2005 WL 2404981 (11th Cir. Sep. 30, 2005)
    • The Williams Island Synagogue, Inc v. City of Aventura, 329 F. Supp. 2d 1319 (S.D. Fla. 2004)
    • The Williams Island Synagogue, Inc v. City of Aventura, 2004 WL 2677164 (S.D. Fla. Nov. 17, 2004)
    • The Williams Island Synagogue, Inc v. City of Aventura, 2004 WL 2278769 (S.D. Fla. Sep. 16, 2004)

General Litigation

    • O'Boyle v. Bradshaw, ___ F. Supp. 2d _____, 2013 WL 3337786 (S.D. Fla. Jul. 1, 2013)
    • City of Hollywood v. Diamond Parking, Inc., 950 So. 2d 472 (Fla. 4th DCA 2007) [reversing judgment for developer in breach of contract action where developer’s obligation to obtain financing was a material term, covenant or condition of the agreement as to which the city was required to give notice and an opportunity to cure any defects]
    • Garcia v. Federal Insurance Company, 508 F. 3d 1331 (11th Cir. 2007) [affirming dismissal of plaintiff’s claim where plaintiff involved in automobile collision was not covered party under defendant’s insurance policy]
    • Goldsmith v. Brockhouse, 979 So. 2d 1135 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2008) [holding plaintiffs had no enforceable rights as against vendor in breach of contract claim]
    • Milanese v. City of Boca Raton, 2008 WL 3889580 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 20, 2008) [dismissing plaintiff’s § 1983 and negligence claim for son’s wrongful death without prejudice where plaintiff did not demonstrate a special relationship or intent existed, and could not state a claim under § 1983]
    • Osorio v. United States, 2009 WL 2430889 (S.D. Fla. Aug. 6, 2009) [dismissing complaint without prejudice where plaintiff alleging negligence on part of city in slip-and-fall action was not owner of property where plaintiff allegedly fell]
    • The Palms v. Magil Construction Florida, Inc., 785 So. 2d 597 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2001) [affirming denial of stay pending arbitration regarding termination of construction contract where statutory amendment precluding contractor from cuing its unlicensed status and amendment did not apply retroactively]

Other (Affirming Lower Court Without Explanation

  • Atlantic USA, Inc. v. Lopez, 47 So. 3d 922 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2010)
  • Jones v. City of Sunrise, 44 So. 3d 1185 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010)
  • Perez-Gurri Corp. v. Village of Key Biscayne, 41 So. 3d 228 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2010)
  • Companion v. City of Hollywood Police Officers’ Retirement System, 1 So. 3d 1283 (Fla. 4th DCA 2009)
  • Skeel v. Department of Community Affairs, 979 So. 2d 224 (Fla. 1st DCA 2008)
  • Pernas v. TMM Lines, Ltd., LLC, 980 So. 2d 506 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2008)
  • Halford v. City of Hallandale Beach, 983 So. 2d 1159, 2008 WL 2513859 (Fla. 4th DCA 2008)
  • Bailey v. Village of Islamorada, 874 So. 2d 729 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2004)
  • City of Hollywood v. Diamond on the Beach, Inc., 855 So. 2d 87 (Fla. 4th CA 2003)
  • Merkin v. First Equitable Realty III, Ltd., 843 So. 2d 360 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2003)
  • Thompson v. Lincoln at Doral, LLC, 786 So. 2d 605 (Fla. 3rd DCA 2001)