Joseph G. Riopelle Partner
Joseph G. Riopelle is a partner in the Tampa Office who joined the firm in 2009. Joe is a Florida native with a few childhood stints in Michigan. Joe’s undergraduate degree from Albion College, coupled with a JD/MBA from the University Of Detroit Mercy School of Law, has allowed Joe to excel in all forms of defense oriented civil litigation throughout Florida.
He enjoys connecting with his clients and discussing the real issues in a common sense and experienced based approach. Joe understands that not all issues in the law and life can be reduced to black and white. By quickly recognizing the gray areas and maneuvering through the nuances of each matter, he provides his clients with an efficient and proactive defense.
Joe has represented his clients at mediation, arbitration, administrative proceedings and at trial as well as in actions involving the EEOC, HUD, DOL, OSHA, Florida Bar, Florida Commission on Human Rights and the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation in both State and Federal claims related to Homeowner and Condominium Associations, Professional Liability claims including Medical and Legal Malpractice, A&E, Property Managers, Insurance Agents & Brokers, Labor and Employment practices, Real Property, Premises Liability, Insurance Coverage, Personal Injury, Civil Rights Discrimination, Errors and Omissions, Non-Profit and For Profit Director and Officer Liability claims, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Construction Defect and general insurance defense matters.
ADMISSIONS, PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Joe has been admitted to the Florida Bar since 2007. He is also admitted to the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida and is a member of the American Bar Association and the Hillsborough County Bar Association.
University of Detroit Mercy School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2007
Represented a luxury condominium association who was sued in a federal court action for various violations of the Fair Housing Act. Plaintiff sought damages in excess of 500,000. After extensive litigation, discovery and defeating ancillary administrative complaints filed by Plaintiff, obtained a defense verdict for the Association. Represented condominium association and several of its individual officers and directors in the Caribbean on two federal court actions involving eighteen separate state and federal claims related to the Fair Housing Act, ADA, and Breach of Fiduciary Duty. After significant litigation and claimed total damages of over 7 million, obtained summary judgment as to all Defendants just prior to trial. Represented a New York law firm and law partner in a multi-million dollar claim related to escrow services provided on multi-national financing and asset purchases for South and Central America. After Plaintiff’s forum shopping with lawsuits in federal court in Florida and New York, obtained a dismissal with prejudice, which was affirmed on appeal. Represented homeowners association against twenty-four plaintiffs related to various asserted claims for breach of contract, breach of the covenants, breach of fiduciary duty etc. After significant discovery and litigation, obtained summary judgment as to eighteen of the twenty-four plaintiffs, with the remaining plaintiffs agreeing to a dismissal with prejudice.
Obtained a substantially reduced settlement in representing a non-profit adoption agency in a wrongful adoption lawsuit with claimed damages of over fifteen million dollars. After significant discovery, litigation and expert testimony, the matter was resolved for less than Plaintiff’s total costs just prior to trial. Represented a commercial condominium and its individual officers and directors in a multi-party lawsuit related to claims made by the controlling developer related to breaches of lease agreements, use of assessments, trespass, theft, interference with contract, unjust enrichment etc. After contentious litigation, the matter was resolved with no contribution of funds and an agreed voluntary dismissal with prejudice. Obtained Order of Dismissal against Petitioner who filed Petition with the State of Florida Commission of Human Relations against condominium association regarding Fair Housing Violations. Obtained a voluntary dismissal with prejudice as to Homeowner’s Association from homeowners who had filed suit against numerous defendants regarding a 2006 purchase of a single family home and numerous alleged violations of the Association’s fiduciary duty. After initial pleadings and filing of summary judgment, Plaintiffs’ voluntary dismissed the matter with prejudice.
Obtained summary judgment and an award of attorney fees and costs against Developer in the panhandle related to a lawsuit brought by the Developer against the Homeowners Association for claims of breach of contract, declaratory judgment and breach of fiduciary duty. Represented title insurance agency in multi-party litigation involving title insurance underwriter, realtors, appraisers, sellers and end purchasers. After significant demands by Plaintiff for damages in excess of $500,000, obtained resolution as to my client of less than 10% of the potential exposure to damages. Represented laser surgery center against claims of negligence and malpractice in treatment of a patient. After significant discovery and litigation which included discovery of Plaintiff’s significant pre-existing conditions, obtained resolution of the matter for less than 15% of demand.
Represented vocational rehabilitation non-profit on whistleblower claim from former employee. After significant discovery and investigation, including discovery of fraudulent claims asserted by the Plaintiff, was able to resolve the lawsuit for a small nominal amount. Represented engineering firm in complex multi-party construction defect matter involving large condominium complex in southwest Florida. After significant litigation and expert discovery, obtained voluntary dismissal as to my client for a substantially reduced amount far less than the potential exposure on a comparative fault basis. Represented numerous condominium associations in the Northern District of Florida regarding ADA claims asserted by a serial litigant. After filing motions to dismiss as to standing and jurisdiction was able to obtain a dismissal with prejudice.