Case Results – Verdicts and Recoveries

Verdicts & Recoveries - Katzman Wasserman Bennardini & Rubinstein Law Offices
The cases below are but a few of those handled by the Firm. There is not enough space to list all verdicts and recoveries. While each case differs as to its individual facts, liability and damages, and past results do not guaranty future performance, the Firm believes that these cases evidence the type of complex commercial disputes handled by it. Your inquiry is encouraged if you feel you have a case. Please Contact Us Immediately.

Arbitration

The Firm represented an elderly couple who were financially exploited by their daughter. The daughter had caused her elderly parents to execute durable powers of attorney and an Asset Purchase Contract, causing the parents to transfer to the daughter, and entities controlled by her, valuable business and commercial property in Broward County. The daughter had also caused her parents to convey to her a remainder interest in her parent’s house. We sought over $4.4 million in damages and other relief for the elderly parents. After we presented our case-in-chief for less than three days at the final arbitration hearing, a settlement was reached by which the daughter agreed to pay her parents $4,025,000 and the Asset Purchase Contract was rescinded.

The Firm also handles stock loss and other securities claims before FINRA and other arbitration forums. In one of our cases, our client gave her husband a power of attorney to trade in her account because he was a successful financial advisor who used to work at the brokerage firm handling her financial affairs. Our client’s husband approved a series of risky and unsuitable investments, resulting in large financial losses. We were able to persuade the arbitration panel that, notwithstanding her husband’s legal authority to act on her behalf, the brokerage firm had an independent duty to make certain that the investments were suitable for her and should have refused to execute them. Our client recovered all of her losses.

Breach of Contract

We represented a purveyor of high-end Oriental rugs, who alleged that he had entered into a contract with FedEx for the delivery of its mailings to its international customers. We further alleged that, rather than actually deliver the mailings to the customers, FedEx instead dropped the mailings off at the local post offices in the other countries. We also alleged that the customers did not receive the mailings, and our client allegedly lost sales and profits as a result. FedEx defended on the basis of limitations on liability and damages for international shipping under the Warsaw Convention. FedEx also counterclaimed that it was still due over $100,000.00 in shipping charges. We were able to prove that the Warsaw Convention limitations did not apply to this case. We secured a verdict and judgment of nearly $1.4 million against FedEx due to its failure to fulfill its contractual obligations. The judgement was affirmed on appeal.

Breach of Fiduciary Duty

We represented a gentleman who ran a profitable eyewear business with his partner and brother-in-law for many years. The lawsuit alleged that the two partners had always agreed to have equal ownership. However, as the lawsuit further alleged, our client’s partner improperly took control of the company by secretly purchasing stock from an investor in the company. After a two-week jury trial, we won a $4.3 million verdict.

Legal and Accounting Malpractice

Over the past ten years, our firm has increasingly become recognized for its success in pursuing legal and accounting malpractice actions against large national and regional law and accounting firms. In one highly publicized case against a prominent regional law firm with headquarters in West Palm Beach, Florida, the heirs to a publishing company were able to establish both professional negligence and a breach of fiduciary duty based upon conflicts of interest and failure to follow up on the implementation of the decedent’s estate plan despite numerous request and opportunities to do so. After a multi-week jury trial, our clients were awarded $1.2 million, which was greater than the amount of damages sought at trial. We agreed to a remittitur to $900,000, plus interest and costs, for a recovery in excess of $1 million. The jury verdict was affirmed on appeal.

We also represented the heir to the man who invented the timing mechanism for the deployment of air bags in a case for professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty against an accountant at a law firm. The case involved claims of conflicts of interest and self-dealing, whereby the professionals were accused of excessive charges and mismanagement of the estate. After certain probate proceedings had concluded, the malpractice case moved forward. Prior to trial, a confidential settlement was reached.

The firm is currently representing a public biotechnology company in a legal malpractice action against several law firms. Less than two years after becoming a public reporting company, the client received anonymous whistleblower e-mails regarding alleged improprieties in a subsidiary based in Hong Kong and related operations in China. The lawsuit alleges that three law firms are culpable for overreacting to these whistleblower communications, causing the company to prematurely and unnecessarily withdraw its financial statements and place it’s Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board, largest shareholder and largest creditor on a leave of absence pending an investigation into the whistleblower allegations. The lawsuit alleges professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty, which resulted in the company being delisted, deregistered, losing a market cap of approximately $160 million and suffering significant additional losses as a consequence of the attorneys’ conduct.

Partnership Litigation

In a dispute between one of our clients and a well-know Palm Beach County builder and developer, we filed a lawsuit to establish that a partnership/joint venture had been established. The defense claimed that there was a mere employer-employee relationship. We sought to prove that our client owned a 10% interest in the developer’s business, and to enforce a later agreement to pay our client 13% of the profits of all of the real estate businesses owned and operated by the developer and builder. After lengthy litigation, and the Court entering an order permitting our client to recover punitive damages, the matter was settled for $1.4 million.

Shareholder Derivative Rights

As part of the aftermath of a bitter divorce proceeding, a shareholder oppression lawsuit was filed to protect the interest of minority shareholders in a lucrative family business where the minority shareholders were not receiving the same financial benefits and employment opportunities as their father and siblings. An aggressive strategy was employed, including working closely with a court-appointed special investigator who determined that it was in the best interest of the company to continue the shareholder derivative action. The litigation involved discovery proceedings in several different states, and the use of accountants, business valuation experts and legal ethics scholars to help address a myriad of contentious factual and legal issues. The shareholder oppression and derivative claims were utilized to obtain a confidential settlement whereby our clients’ shares were bought out by the company.

Tortious Interference

We represented a client that alleged it had a contract with Citicorp to purchase 27 Wendy’s franchises in South Florida at a time when the franchises were not particularly profitable. The closing of that contract was contingent upon Wendy’s approval. Wendy’s provided preliminary approval. Subsequently, however, the client alleged that the financial performance of the franchises improved, at which time Wendy’s concocted an elaborate scheme to create turmoil within the corporate structure of our client, which Wendy’s then used as pretext for its denial of our client’s contract. After a hard-fought lengthy trial in federal court, we won a $5.1 million verdict for our client against Wendy’s. The verdict and judgment were affirmed on appeal, and paid in full.

Tortious Interference and Defamation Claims

We represented the former director of emergency room services against HCA Healthcare Corporation and JFK Hospital. We proved that HCA had tortiously interfered with our client’s contract to manage two emergency room practices at two hospitals in Palm Beach County and that the defendants had defamed him in the process. The case focused on the impact of HCA’s acquisition of the hospitals, concerns over patient care that resulted from new policies and practices by HCA as the new hospital owner, and the extent to which both HCA and the hospital attempted to discredit our client and his criticisms through unfounded allegations concerning patient care. After a multi-week jury trial, the jury awarded our client $6 million and determined that he was entitled to punitive damages in addition to that amount. The parties entered into a confidential settlement agreement before the jury determined the amount of punitive damages.