John Richards and William Peters, Partners in our Fort Lauderdale office, recently obtained a zero liability jury verdict in favor of a nationwide event rental company that was sued by a patron alleging that she slipped and fell in chemicals near a loading dock. While the Plaintiff attempted to shock the jury with gruesome photographs of the chemical burns, Mr. Peters and Mr. Richards established that none of the chemicals at the facility could have caused the plaintiff’s injury. They presented evidence from expert chemists, a plastic surgeon and a toxicologist that established the Plaintiff must have been injured elsewhere before arriving at the Defendant’s property.
- Patricia I Murray obtained a judgment in favor of the defendant/owner of a vehicle that was stolen and subsequently involved in an accident resulting in serious injury, (broken hip and femur/compartment syndrome) to a passenger. The injured party alleged that the owner negligently left his keys in the vehicle , allowing it to be stolen. Pat successfully convinced the Court that the plaintiff’s theory was based entirely on inadmissible speculation, and that the dangerous instrumentality doctrine could not be applied in this matter so as to impose liability on the owner, extricating her client from the case and winning summary judgment at a relatively early stage of the litigation.
June 6, 2018: BRPC Donates to Summer Reading Initiative at the Boca Raton Public Library
- Boyd, Richards, Parker, and Colonnelli PL has joined The Friends of the Boca Raton Public Library and the Junior League of Boca Raton to donate for this year’s Summer Reading Initiative at the Boca Raton Public Library. It is a program dedicated to maintaining kids’ reading skills throughout the summer. Read all about it at: http://www.bocaratontribune.com/bocaratonnews/2018/06/friends-boca-raton-public-library-community-partners-generously-support-summer-reading-initiative/
- Jennifer L. Stewart and Gary S. Ehrlich in the Boyd Richards’ New York office successfully established a Coop’s right to exclusive use and possession of its roof, and obtained injunctive relief barring a shareholder from continuing to climb out his window onto the roof and use it as a terrace. The shareholder claimed to have used the roof in this manner for 25 years, asserting claims that he had obtained that right either by waiver or by adverse possession. On the Coop’s motion, New York Supreme Court rejected those claims and entered summary judgment and an injunction in favor of the Coop, which the First Department affirmed on appeal.
May 22, 2018
- Kyle T. Berglin obtained partial summary judgment on behalf of Delaire Country Club, Inc. in a lawsuit that sought to overturn a member’s one-year disciplinary suspension as contrary to Florida law. The Plaintiff was a disgruntled Club member who attacked the Club, its Board of Governors, management, and its individual members in a disparaging public web campaign. The Club initiated internal disciplinary proceedings against the member and suspended him for a period of one-year, which resulted in the Plaintiff filing suit to challenge his suspension. Mr. Berglin successfully argued that a private country club has the sole and exclusive authority to suspend or discipline its members for actions that it deems misconduct detrimental to the Club. In granting the Club’s motion, the Court concluded that it was not permitted under Florida law to determine the merits or reasonableness of the Club’s disciplinary charges or suspension decisions, and effectively validated the core of the Club’s defense to Plaintiff’s lawsuit. The ruling effectively eliminated any chance the Plaintiff had of obtaining meaningful relief in this lawsuit. Following the resolution of the remaining, limited issue in this lawsuit, Mr. Berglin will seek an award of attorneys’ fees and costs on behalf of the Club as prevailing party.
- Attorneys Bryan J. Mazzola and Jacqueline L. Aiello recently prevailed on a motion to dismiss the complaint and compel arbitration in an employment dispute filed in the Southern District of New York. In this case, a former doorman alleged that he was subject to discrimination and retaliation based on his national origin and commenced his action in Federal Court despite being a member of the Local 32BJ union and subject to a collective bargaining agreement which requires arbitration of, among other things, discrimination claims under Title VII, the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Code. In granting the motion to compel arbitration and dismissing the complaint, the Court found that the Firm successfully demonstrated that: (a) the parties agreed to arbitrate; (b) that the employee’s claims were within the scope of the arbitration agreement; and (c) that Congress intended for such discrimination and retaliation claims to be arbitrated.
May 2018: After a Decade of Litigation, Frank Colonnelli and Craig Shankman Were Successful in Dismissing a Highly Contested Legal Malpractice Action With Prejudice and Were Awarded Final Judgment in Excess of $250,000
- Frank Colonnelli and Craig Shankman 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 and Mr. Shankman were successful in not only dismissing all claims with prejudice in favor of the defense, but their clients were also awarded a Final Judgment in excess of $250,000 to recover their fees and costs against the Plaintiffs and their counsel.
April 2018: BRPC Successfully Defends Against Housing Discrimination Claim Before New York State Division of Human Rights
- Bryan Mazzola and Russell Edwards represented two individual employees of a Cooperative in New York City, in a case of discrimination before the New York State Division of Human Rights. The Complainant accused the two employees of housing discrimination based on his race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and disability. After several months of investigation, the New York State Division of Human Rights issued a “No Probable Cause” determination with respect to the Complainant’s claims. Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Edwards were successfully able to show that the Complainant demonstrated consistent nuisance-like and hazardous behavior throughout the time that he lived as a tenant at the Coop, and that the individual employees never engaged in any acts of discrimination toward the Complainant.
April 2018: BRPC Successfully Defends Professional Managing Agent of Cooperative Before National Labor Relations Board
- Bryan Mazzola and Russell Edwards represented the professional managing agent of a Cooperative in lower Manhattan before the National Labor Relations Board. A former employee filed a charge against the managing agent and alleged that after he submitted a grievance to his union, the managing agent terminated his employment. Ultimately, Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Edwards successfully demonstrated that there were legitimate reasons for the former employee’s termination, which eliminated his claim of retaliation for engaging in a protected concerted activity, and led to the National Labor Relations Board’s dismissal of his charge.
April 19, 2018: BRPC Successfully Defends Dismissal at Appellate Division
- Bryan Mazzola and Brett Carrick recently obtained a unanimous ruling from the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, First Department, affirming the lower court’s decision which dismissed an Article 78 proceeding filed by a cooperative shareholder and her husband. The Appellate Division found that the dismissal of a petition which sought to compel the Coop’s board to issue a key to the building from a garage entrance, even though the shareholder and her husband, did not have a car or utilize the garage. In the decision, the Appellate Division found that the Court properly dismissed the petition because the Coop’s decision was in accordance with the Coop’s long-standing policy of withholding garage key from shareholders who do not utilize the garage and the Coop’s determination was protected by the business judgment rule.
April 2, 2018: Frank Colonnelli and Robert Menje were granted Final Summary Judgment 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
- Frank Colonnelli and Robert Menje represented a condominium association, and its former president, who were sued in a four-count Complaint. 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 and Mr. Menje were successful in defeating all of these claims on summary judgment and will now seek an award of attorneys’ fees and costs as the prevailing party.
March 2018: BRPC Obtains Pre-Answer Dismissal of 13 of the 14 Causes of Actions Directed at a Coop and its Managing Agent
- Bryan Mazzola and Brett Carrick represent a residential cooperative in New York City in a case involving the Coop board’s denial of a shareholders alteration plans, in part, because the proposed alteration would adversely impact the Coop’s electrical system. Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Carrick successfully argued that the Coop’s decision was protected by the business judgment rule. Additionally, it was held that plaintiffs had failed to make out a prima facie case of: (a) a breach of warranty of habitability because the plaintiffs did not reside in the apartment, (b) breach of fiduciary duty because there were no specific allegations of wrongdoing against individual board members and the Coop does not owe a fiduciary duty to plaintiffs; and (c) fraudulent misrepresentation/inducement because the Coop did not, among other things, make any misrepresentation to plaintiffs. Mr. Mazzola and Mr. Carrick also obtained the dismissal of multiple causes of action which were duplicative of plaintiff’s breach of contract claim or which were impermissible stand along claims for damages. Finally, the Court dismissed those portions of the complaint which Plaintiff brought derivatively because plaintiffs did not make a demand that the Board take action and as Plaintiff did not establish that there were any other similarly situated shareholders who rights were being enforced as part of the derivative action.
March 9, 2018: BRPC Defense Verdict in Admitted Negligence Case – Plaintiff Claiming Nearly $1,000,000 in Damages in Trucking Negligence Case
- Peter Restani and Maria Dalmanieras of BRPC’s Miami Office successfully defended a multi-state waste and recycling company and its’ employee in a trucking negligence case where Plaintiff requested close to 1 million dollars in damages as a result of two cervical fusions that totaled $255,000.00 in medical expenses. At trial, the defense admitted the negligent operation of the truck so that the case proceeded to the jury on the issues of medical causation and damages only. The Fort Lauderdale jury returned a defense verdict in favor of the Defendants finding that Plaintiff was not injured in the motor vehicle accident and that her alleged injuries were the result of pre-existing conditions not attributable to the accident in question. Plaintiff recovered nothing.
January 2018: Third DCA Affirms Dismissal with Prejudice for Fraud on the Court
- John H. Richards successfully defended against a personal injury lawsuit, obtaining a dismissal with prejudice for fraud on the court. Richards obtained video-surveillance of Plaintiff that clearly refuted her allegations that her injury was permanent and continuing, with concomitant future damages. An evidentiary hearing was held wherein the Trial Court found based on the Plaintiff’s testimony at deposition, the surveillance video and testimony at the evidentiary hearing that Plaintiff had lied under oath regarding issues material to the prosecution of her claims and that Plaintiff’s deception was intended to interfere with the judicial system’s ability to impartially adjudicate the case. On Appeal, defended by W. Todd Boyd and Yvette Lavelle, the Third District Court of Appeal Affirmed with Opinion quoting Roman law from over 2,000 years ago stating that Roman law recognized the deterrent effect of harsh penalties in the phrase “Ut poena ad paucos, metus ad omnes perveniat”—“That punishment may come to a few, the fear of it should affect all.”