After a five day trial, SBL+ obtained a defense judgment against a Florida company claiming trademark infringement. A copy of the opinion is attached. With its trial team of Ethan Loeb, Jon Tasso, Colin Thompson, and Allison Doucette, the Firm successfully defended a multi-million dollar claim that there was likelihood of consumer confusion between two service marks. Also, the Court concluded that the Plaintiff was engaged in the unlicensed practice of medicine.
Notable Victories and Announcements
On June 19, 2019, the Fourth District Court of Appeal affirmed a $4.4 million dollar verdict that Smolker Bartlett obtained on behalf of its client against environmental activist Maggy Hurchalla. In Lake Point Phase I, LLC v. Hurchalla, et al., a jury rendered a verdict finding against Hurchalla for her disseminating knowingly false statements in order to harm a local business partnered with Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District. Although the County and the South Florida Water Management District settled with the firm’s client, Hurchalla chose to have the dispute against her tried, and in less than two hours, a jury of her peers concluded that she was liable. The trial team for this matter included Ethan Loeb, Jon Tasso, and Colin Thompson.
A financier of startups sued the Firm’s client, contending that the client was liable for the deceptive acts of the client’s employee, and her accomplice, who allegedly convinced the financier to loan money based on a fraudulent contract. On April 10, 2019, after deliberating for fewer than two hours, a Clearwater, Florida jury returned a complete defense verdict in favor of the Firm’s client. Colin Thompson represented the firm’s client at trial.
Smolker Bartlett successfully obtained an important appellate decision governing first written offers by condemning authorities. In Florida Gas Transmission Company, LLC v. Johnson, the First District Court of Appeal concluded that a written offer by a condemning authority was valid and enforceable under Florida law. A copy of the opinion is attached. Jon Tasso successfully argued the appeal.
Following a jury verdict that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) took property of a Smolker Bartlett client without just compensation, the Circuit Court of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit entered a judgment against FDEP for over $15 Million. Recently, the Court also awarded the firm’s client a multi-million doller attorney’s fees and costs award. It explained that “[prosecution of this case involved dealing with very novel difficult legal and factual issues,” and that “[w]ithout the level of skill employed by these lawyers, it is very doubtful that the result obtained on behalf of the Plaintiff would have occurred.” order here.
As previously reported, FDEP was required to compensate the Firm’s client for the “serious economic harm” that it suffered because of this an taking without compensation. The Court had found an as-applied regulatory taking under Article X, Section 6 of the Florida Constitution. In the case, the Firm’s client invested in oceanfront property in order to construct seventeen townhomes. The client was denied a Coastal Construction Control Line (CCCL) permit when FDEP changed its permitting policies mid-stream. The Court found that FDEP was legally authorized to refuse to issue a CCCL permit and to change its related regulatory policies. However, FDEP’s policy change interfered with the property owner’s “distinct and reasonable expectation in the development, use and sale at a profit” of the property, which “caused [the property owner] to lost its distinct investment-backed expectations” in the property.
Ethan Loeb, David Smolker, and Jon Tasso obtained this favorable ruling for the Firm’s client. The attorneys at Smolker, Bartlett, Loeb, Hinds & Thompson, P.A. have a long track record in inverse condemnation and property rights practice. Our attorneys also serve a broad range of clients in closely related areas of law, such as eminent domain, public entities, complex commercial litigation, environmental law, land use, and real estate. The Firm’s office is located in Suite 2050, 100 North Tampa Street in downtown Tampa (813-223-3888).