Frank Colonnelli Partner
Frank Colonnelli, Jr. is a partner and joined the firm in 2004. He was born and raised in Northern New Jersey. Prior to practicing law, he acquired over a decade of experience in the construction industry handling multi-million-dollar projects. Frank’s interest was drawn into construction at a young age. During his summers off from school, he spent time with his father in the family construction business, where he learned every aspect of the business from the ground up. After receiving his degree in engineering, he then spent many years handling contract negotiations, design work, engineering, management and supervision for a wide range of construction projects involving site work, real estate development, residential and commercial buildings, roads, highways, bridges, infrastructure repairs, underground utilities and marine construction. Frank then shifted his focus to the legal field as he recognized a niche that would incorporate all his technical knowledge and prior experience into the development of his law practice. Since then, he has spent many years handling litigation for his clients in all types of cases involving commercial and business transactions, finance, construction, professional liability, real estate, mass torts, pollution, securities, homeowners and condominium associations, labor and employment, directors and officers, errors and omissions, civil rights, insurance coverage and insurance defense work.
Frank’s technical background and years of experience in business and litigation provide him a unique insight and ability to assist his clients with finding practical solutions to complex issues. However, when there is no alternative to litigation, Frank is well prepared to meet the challenges faced by his clients and handle their disputes through all levels of trial and appellate litigation in state and federal courts, including mediation and arbitration. Frank has represented Fortune 500 companies and most of his litigation practice has been devoted to defense work, including the defense of claims for insurers such as AIG, ACE USA, Chubb, Crum & Forster, Fireman’s Fund, Hiscox, Plus Companies, RSUI Group, Travelers, YorkPro and Zurich.
ADMISSIONS, PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Frank is licensed to practice law in Florida, New York, New Jersey and the District of Columbia. He is also admitted to practice law before the United States Eleventh Circuit Court and the United States District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida and New Jersey. He is also a member of the American Bar Association. Frank is also a licensed Florida Certified General Contractor (License Number CGC1511644) and was awarded the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers Award.
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, Juris Doctor, 2000 Fairleigh Dickinson University, College of Science and Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering, 1990.
Represented various attorneys and their law firms, who were sued for legal malpractice in a highly contested matter for millions of dollars in connection with the bankruptcy of a retail clothing store. After a decade of litigation, Mr. Colonnelli was successful in not only dismissing all claims with prejudice in favor of the defense, but his clients were also awarded a Final Judgment in excess of $250,000 to recover their fees and costs against the Plaintiffs and their counsel. Frank Colonnelli represented a condominium association, which was sued for breach of contract over various construction related disputes on a multi-million-dollar project involving interior renovations, asbestos abatement and mold remediation. After extensive litigation and discovery, Mr. Colonnelli was successful in leveraging the general contractor into a favorable settlement for his client. Frank Colonnelli represented a civil engineering company, and its principal, who were sued for professional negligence and fraud in connection with a multi-million-dollar project involving concrete restoration work in two high rise condominium towers, material testing and substantial renovations that were required to repair hurricane related damages and to resolve code violations. After extensive litigation and discovery,
Mr. Colonnelli was successful in favorably settling this matter for his clients and dismissing the case. Represented a condominium association, and its former president, who were sued in a four-count Complaint. Final Summary Judgment was granted in favor of the defense in a highly contested dispute involving a luxury condominium association, bringing closure to issues that have been disputed for the last two decades. Plaintiff, a unit owner, sought to invalidate an amendment to the declaration of condominium, challenge the constitutionality of Section 718.110(14), Florida Statutes, and sought damages against the Defendants for negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. These claims related to the issues of repair and replacement of the Plaintiff’s HVAC system, as well as the remediation of mold and abatement of asbestos in the Plaintiff’s condominium unit. Ultimately, Mr. Colonnelli was successful in defeating all these claims on summary judgment and will seek an award of attorneys’ fees and costs as the prevailing party. Represented a general contractor who completed an international airport runway expansion project. Over 250 plaintiffs asserted individual claims in a mass tort case and sought property damages and personal injuries allegedly suffered as a result of their exposure to toxic contaminants caused by construction activities and defects. The client’s risk of exposure to damages was estimated at a value worth over $200 million. After several years of litigation in federal court, and completing hundreds of depositions, Frank was successful in limiting the scope of his client’s liability by dismissing 75 plaintiffs from the case with prejudice. In threatening to dismiss most of all other claims on summary judgment, he was successful in leveraging the remaining plaintiffs into a favorable settlement for his client.
Frank Colonnelli represented a Private Country Club and successfully defeated all claims related to a member’s challenge of a vote which approved a $4.2 million enhancement project for three of its golf courses. The project consisted of grass replacement in the fairways and rough, resurfacing and relocating cart paths and curbs, creation of new practice greens, reshaping and dredging of several lakes and renovations and extensions to the driving range complex. The Plaintiffs argued that the procedures used to validate the vote did not comply with the Country Club’s governing documents, and that the Country Club unlawfully prevented certain membership classes from voting on the project, thus rendering the results invalid. Mr. Colonnelli and his partner successfully established that the Country Club correctly interpreted and applied its governing documents pertaining to the proper voting method and the membership classes eligible to vote on the project. The trial court granted the Country Club’s motion for summary judgment and ruled that the vote had been validly conducted. On appeal, the Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court’s conclusions and awarded the Country Club attorneys’ fees and costs. Represented a global enterprise company to evaluate and develop litigation strategy to minimize risk and exposure to liability and to aid and support in defending three consolidated class actions in federal court. Thousands of coal miners claimed respiratory injuries as a result of their exposure to chemical-based products in mines, alleging failure to warn and an industry-wide conspiracy extending over decades to conceal the hazards. Ultimately, a favorable settlement was negotiated prior to trial.
Represented a large condominium association community that was sued in a breach of contract action filed with the American Arbitration Association. The Petitioner filed claims for damages in excess of $700,000 for nonpayment under an owner’s representative contract. The Petitioner was responsible for overseeing construction work valued in excess of $30.0 million for restoration of property damage after Hurricane Wilma. Frank defended the action, which was litigated to conclusion at a Final Arbitration proceeding and all claims were tried before an Arbitration Panel. Ultimately, Frank was successful in defending the action and the Arbitration Panel entered a Final Order in favor of the association, denying all relief and damages requested by the Petitioner and finding there was no liability. Represented a large condominium association to restore its right of access and ownership to the community recreational pool area which was erroneously sold in a tax deed sale and to set aside the tax deed. Frank was successful in restoring his client’s access and ownership to the property after several years of litigation in state court on final summary judgment after an appeal. On summary judgment, the trial court concluded the association had exclusive use rights to the property but denied setting aside the tax deed. On appeal, Frank was successful in reversing a portion of the trial court’s rulings which conflicted with the evidence and law, the case was remanded to the trial court with instructions to set aside the tax deed, and all other trial court rulings were affirmed, all of which was in favor of the Association.
Represented a flight school and its officers and directors who were sued in a federal court action for breach of contract, tortious interference and other related claims. Plaintiff sought damages in excess of $7.0 million. After extensive litigation, the action was ultimately dismissed prior to trial and sanctions were awarded upon the trial court’s finding that Plaintiffs engaged in abusive and vexatious litigation practices. Represented a luxury condominium association that was sued by a general contractor for $2.5 million in a breach of contract action involving construction renovations and structural improvements. Frank defended the action, filed counter-claims for breach of contract and construction defects and filed third-party claims against the surety company. After extensive litigation of the matter, Frank successfully negotiated a favorable settlement award for his client and all claims asserted by the general contractor were dismissed. Defended one of the largest staffing companies in the country in a highly contentions lawsuit involving personal injuries, which allegedly occurred in a national store chain. The plaintiff filed a multi-count complaint, cross-claims were filed between the defendants and damages were valued at several million dollars. The plaintiff claimed that he suffered permanent spinal injuries resulting from an alleged hazardous condition caused by the defendants. After extensive discovery and litigation, Frank was successful in leveraging the parties into a settlement that was very favorable for his client after filing a motion for summary judgment. The co-defendants contributed to most of the settlement and all claims and cross-claims brought against his client were dismissed with prejudice. Represented a civil engineering firm in a professional malpractice action pertaining to the design and inspection of a heavy civil construction project. Plaintiff claimed damages in excess of $2.7 million resulting from alleged construction defects. Numerous parties were sued, and the matter was extensively litigated. Ultimately, Frank successfully negotiated a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all claims were dismissed. Represented a civil engineering firm in a professional malpractice action pertaining to the design and inspection of new warehouses that were constructed. Plaintiff claimed damages in excess of $700,000 for alleged construction defects, foundation and structural failures and surveying errors. Frank successfully negotiated a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all claims were dismissed.
Represented a land surveying company that was sued for allegedly mismarking underground utilities for a construction project, which resulted in the rupture of an underground fuel line and caused contamination of the surrounding property and ground water. Frank was successful in negotiating a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all clams were dismissed with prejudice. Represented a land surveying company that was sued by a land developer for allegedly failing to mark certain flood lines in a topographic survey which was utilized for the design of a coastal townhouse development complex. The project was shut down by city inspectors after a substantial portion of the project was completed for failure to comply with certain flood zone requirements as the foundation work was not properly designed for the applicable flood zone designation. Ultimately, Frank was successful in negotiating a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all claims were dismissed with prejudice. Represented a home inspection company that was sued for property damages and personal injuries by homeowners after learning they purchased a home contaminated with defective Chinese drywall. Plaintiffs alleged the inspection company knew or should have known the home contained defective drywall and sought damages in excess of $1.0 million. After several years of litigation in a multi-party action, Frank was successful in having all claims dismissed in state court. Represented a real estate broker that was sued for property damages and personal injuries by homeowners after learning they purchased a home contaminated with defective Chinese drywall. Plaintiffs alleged the real estate broker knew or should have known the home contained defective drywall and sought damages in excess of $2.0 million. After several years of litigation in a multi-party action, Frank was successful in negotiating a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all claims were dismissed.
Represented a large national manufacturer that was sued in federal court by their national sales manager after he was terminated. Plaintiff claimed that his employer violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. The risk of exposure to damages was estimated at a value worth $700,000. After filing summary judgment, Frank was successful in leveraging the Plaintiff into a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all claims were dismissed. Represented a national union organization and its board of directors that were sued in federal court by an employee after he was terminated. Plaintiff asserted claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and alleged discrimination based on race, including claims for harassment, disparate treatment and retaliation. After completing discovery and disclosing facts that supported summary judgment, Frank was successful in leveraging the Plaintiff into a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all claims were dismissed. Represented a national union organization and its board of directors that were sued for breach of contract and breach of their fiduciary duties. Plaintiff sought eight years of retroactive retirement benefits and health insurance coverage after being terminated from his employment. After filing summary judgment, Frank was successful in having all claims dismissed. Represented an international high fashion brand with stores located throughout the world. Frank’s client was sued in federal court for alleged violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act for failure to pay overtime wages. After investigating the case and conducting preliminary discovery, he revealed facts to support summary judgment in favor of the client, which leveraged the Plaintiff into settling this matter for a nominal value and the case was dismissed with prejudice. Represented various corporate officers, directors and counsel in publicly traded and private companies in various derivative actions filed by shareholders in the state courts of New York and Florida. In these cases, Plaintiffs sought millions of dollars in damages and alleged claims of fraud, corporate mismanagement, market manipulation and financial reporting irregularities. Frank, along with his partners, were successful in concluding each of these cases favorably for his clients in dismissing many of the claims and/or through negotiating favorable settlements. In one case, dismissal was affirmed on appeal.
Represented an insurance brokerage firm that was sued for failing to procure certain insurance coverage. Plaintiff asserted various claims for breach of contract and negligence and sought damages in excess of $1.5 million. Frank was successful in having the court enter final summary judgment in favor of his client, denying all relief and damages sought by the Plaintiff and finding there was no liability. Represented a brand of spirits to evaluate and develop litigation strategy to minimize risk and exposure to liability and to provide assistance and support in defending a trademark infringement suit that was filed in federal court in California. Plaintiff asserted claims for violation of the Lanham Act and Unfair Competition. Ultimately, Frank negotiated a favorable settlement for his client prior to trial and all claims were dismissed. Represented the former president of an internationally known distributor in a breach of contract action after he was wrongfully terminated from his employment. Frank filed suit and sought damages in state court. After extensive litigation of the matter, Frank, along with his partners, successfully negotiated a favorable settlement award for the client.
Represented a real estate holding company that was sued for reformation of a quitclaim deed involving a condominium valued in excess of $4.0 million. Frank, along with his partners, defended the action and filed counter-claims for quiet title and ejectment. Ultimately, Frank and his partners were successful in having summary judgment entered in favor of the client. Plaintiff’s request for reformation of the quitclaim deed was denied and the client’s request for quiet title and ejectment was granted. Represented a corporation and its officers and directors in a shareholder dispute. Plaintiff asserted claims for declaratory and equitable relief and sought an accounting over disputed ownership in the company. Frank, along with his partners, were successful in negotiating a settlement that resulted in the dismissal of all claims. Represented various insurers in a wide range of insurance coverage disputes, where Frank has prepared comprehensive coverage positions for his clients and successfully defended their coverage positions. Represented global leaders in the commercial finance sector. Frank has recovered millions of dollars for his clients through breach of contract actions, foreclosure proceedings and through repossession/liquidation of collateral in various states across the country. Primarily, he has enforced secured creditors’ rights against dealers who have defaulted on floor plan financing arrangements covering inventory of boats, motorcycles, power sport vehicles, golf carts, mobile homes, appliances and outdoor power equipment.