Trial Court Cases
February 9, 2021
Pashtenko v. Pashtenko
Case No.: 2013-CA-007347-NC
Description: James L. Essenson was pleased to be part of a trial team with lead attorney Stanley A. Goldsmith to prosecute this extremely complex civil case. After a five-day bench trial, the Verdict was highly favorable to the Plaintiff, allowing her to retain a fee simple interest in numerous properties, together with obtaining a money judgment against one Defendant in an amount exceeding $250,000.00. A summary judgment was entered against the other Defendant in an amount exceeding $380,000.00. No appeal was taken from this comprehensive bench ruling.
Read the Summary Judgment Order
October 20, 2019
Goldsmith v. Walczak
Case No.: 2018-CA-002189-SC
Attorney James L. Essenson represented a colleague in a case against former clients for unpaid attorney’s fees. After a bench trial, a Final Judgment was entered in favor of the attorney for the full amount demanded, $26,459.92, together with a Supplemental Final Judgment for attorney’s fees to prosecute the case in the amount of $57,399.10. Appeals taken from these judgments were denied by the District Court of Appeal.
Read the Supplemental Final Judgment
December 18, 2018
Benz Research and Development Corp. v. Ebrahimpour et al.
Case No.: 2011-CA-004732-NC
After a two-day evidentiary hearing, the Court awarded Essenson’s client, Benz Research and Development Corporation, in excess of $6 Million in fees and costs resulting from the theft of trade secrets and litigation misconduct which occurred in the case.
October 3, 2018
In Re: Guardianship of Bloom
Case No.: 2014-GA-003747-NC
After successfully removing a rogue trustee in the course of almost four years of litigation, and an additional day of hearing, the Essenson Law Firm was successful in causing the Court to order a rogue trustee, who had previously been removed, to return funds totaling almost $18,000 belonging to the trust.
May 17, 2017
Benz Research and Development Corp. v. Ebrahimpour et al.
Case No.: 2011-CA-004732-NC
Representing Benz Research and Development Corporation as Plaintiff, James L. Essenson and Barbara J. Welch served on a trial team headed by Miami attorney Jeffrey D. Feldman in connection with a thirteen-day jury trial against Defendants Armin Ebrahimpour, Mark’Ennovy Personalized Care S.L., Mark’Ennovy Personalized Care Ltd. and Dealtforce Ltd. The case was complex, involving industrial espionage, theft of trade secrets, destruction of evidence, perjury, and other litigation misconduct. The jury returned a verdict in excess of $6 Million in favor of the Plaintiff, Benz Research and Development Corporation.
November 2, 2015
In Re: Guardianship of Robert Bain Ball, Jr.
Case No.: 2006-MH-001209
The Essenson Law Firm filed a petition to restore the Constitutional rights of a 46 year-old man who had been placed under guardianship following a catastrophic car accident in which the Essenson Law Firm’s client received serious injuries. After remaining in coma for approximately 18 months, Essenson’s client regained consciousness and was housed for almost 7 years at a rehabilitation facility for persons with serious head injuries. Although substantially recovered, and functioning cognitively, Essenson’s client was unable to remove himself from the rehabilitation facility because of the guardianship and the removal of his Constitutional rights. After a multiple day bench hearing, the probate division of the Circuit Court reinstated all of the Essenson Firm’s client’s rights.
July 21, 2015
Baker v. Portnow
Case No.: 8:14-cv-3151-T-33TGW
The Essenson Law Firm represented the Defendant in an action brought under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is intended to protect disabled individuals from exclusion from the participation in, denial of the benefits of, or discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant, a medical doctor, violated the Rehabilitation Act by failing to provide sign language interpreters for the Plaintiff at the Defendant doctor’s expense. The Essenson Law Firm, on behalf of the doctor, argued that the requirement to provide such interpreters did not apply because the doctor employed fewer than fifteen employees, and was thus exempt under applicable regulations. In a case of first impression, the Federal Court for the Middle District of Florida agreed with the Essenson Firm’s argument and granted summary judgment in favor of the doctor, dismissing the Plaintiff’s case. In doing so, the Court held that a plaintiff cannot maintain a private cause of action against a healthcare provider with fewer than fifteen employees for failure to provide auxiliary aids, under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and its implementing regulations.
April 13, 2015
Village Plaza Condominium Association, Inc. v. Principe
Case No.: 2012-CA-010171-NC
The Essenson Law Firm represented the Defendant homeowner in an action brought against him by his community association for alleged unpermitted modifications made to his condominium unit, in violation of the community’s Declaration. The Essenson Law Firm asserted that the association was ‘selectively enforcing’ its Declaration against the homeowner. After trial on the matter, the Court found that the Plaintiff had failed to meet its burden of proof on the subject claim and therefore entered judgment in favor of the homeowner and ordered the Plaintiff to pay the Essenson Law Firm’s fees for the homeowner’s defense of the Plaintiff’s action.
March 18, 2014
PS Concepts, Inc. v. Westshore Home Improvement, LLC, Joan Mula and Stephen Walker
Case No.: 2012-CA-003599-NC
The Essenson Law Firm represented Plaintiff in an action for monies due and owing pursuant to a standard asset purchase contract. The contract governed the asset sale of Plaintiff’s business to the Defendants in exchange for a promissory note, secured by the collateral assets. Upon default of the note, Plaintiff retained the Essenson Law Firm to bring suit against the Defendants for the amounts due under the promissory note, and replevin. The Defendants asserted that they did not sign the promissory note in their individual capacities, and were therefore not personally liable for the amounts due thereunder. After a non-jury trial, the Court held the Defendants personally liable, and entered judgment in favor of the Plaintiff for the full amount due under the promissory note, plus prejudgment interest at a rate of 18% per annum, and late fees. The Court further ordered that the Defendants turn over possession of the property to Plaintiff, and pay Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs.
July 15, 2014
In Re: Guardianship of Frances DiIelsi
Case No.: 2011-GA-000760-NC
The Essenson Law Firm represented the guardian on an appeal relating to an underlying guardianship action. After prevailing on the appeal, the Essenson Law Firm, on behalf of the guardian, petitioned the court for an order authorizing payment of the guardian’s attorney’s fees and costs incurred on appeal. After considering the fee petition filed by the Essenson Law Firm, the court granted the same and awarded the guardian $10,006.51 as compensation for fees and costs incurred on appeal.
February 20, 2013
Christ v. Vitanzo
Case No.: 2011-CA-008733-NC
The Essenson Law Firm represented the Plaintiff in an action for partition of real property. On a motion for summary judgment brought by the Essenson Law Firm on behalf of the Plaintiff, and after a hearing on the same, the Court found in favor of the Plaintiff. As such, the Court ordered partition of the subject property, and directed that 99% of the proceeds of the sale of said property be awarded to the Plaintiff.
August 24, 2011
Maio v. Miller
Case No.: 2010-CA-012383-NC
The Essenson Law Firm represented Plaintiff, as executor of Decedent’s estate, in an action against Decedent’s former attorney, Raymond Earl Miller, for damages arising from Miller’s misappropriation of funds held for Decedent in Miller’s Florida Bar Trust Account. The Essenson Law Firm successfully moved for Final Summary Judgment against Miller, and obtained an order awarding Plaintiff $125,608.85 plus interest.
May 3, 2011
Benz Research and Development Corp. v. Neil W. Sturgis
Case No.: 8:10-ap-00954-MGW
The Essenson Law Firm represented Benz Research and Development Corporation (“BRD”) as Plaintiff in an action arising from Defendant’s misappropriation of BRD’s trade secrets. Subsequent to Defendant seeking bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, the Essenson Law Firm, on behalf of BRD, sought a final judgment of nondischargeable debt against the Defendant, alleging the Defendant had destroyed evidence, thus entitling BRD to a presumption that the evidence was unfavorable to Defendant. After a three day bench trial in the Bankruptcy Court, the court agreed with the Essenson Law Firm and held the Defendant’s actions to be willful, malicious, and intentional, and therefore entered a final judgment against the Defendant in the amount of $195,677.00, plus interest, and ordered the judgment nondischargeable in bankruptcy. The court also entered a permanent injunction against Defendant in favor of BRD.
January 30, 2007
In Re: The Guardianship of Evelyn P. Syprett
Case No.: 2004-GA-007565-NC
The Essenson Law Firm substituted as counsel for a partially incapacitated Ward while the Ward’s objections to initial guardianship reports were pending, and filed objections to the new initial report (plan) filed by the newly appointed Guardian, which objections were overruled. In connection with the services rendered to the Ward, the Essenson Law Firm filed a petition seeking attorney’s fees, which was granted by order. The Guardian’s attorneys sought to vacate the fee order to the Essenson Law Firm and filed a motion for fees, seeking to sanction the Essenson Law Firm for the filing of the objection to the initial report. Ultimately, after a three-day evidentiary hearing, the Court granted the Essenson Law Firm’s fee petitions and denied the Guardian’s attorneys’ motion for fees and sanctions. In determining the Essenson Law Firm’s entitlement to fees, the Court, in its 20-page order, cited to a prior appellate case of the Essenson Law Firm, In Re: Thelma King/Essenson v. Lutheran Services Florida, Inc., in which the Essenson Law Firm appealed the trial court’s denial of attorney’s fees for representing the Ward therein in the appeal of an order adjudicating her incapacitated. In so citing, the Court’s order in Syprett stated that “[t]he case reaffirmed the statutory right of an incapacitated person to have access to the courts and to counsel , and established that these rights are due process rights of constitutional dimension.” The Essenson Law Firm subsequently prevailed on the Guardian’s appeal of the Court’s order.
November 18, 2005
Benz Research and Development Corp. v. Dennis J. McGillicuddy, et al.
Case No.: 2001-CA-3635
The Essenson Law Firm represented the Plaintiff, Benz Research and Development Corporation (“BRD”), in a claim seeking the adjudication of the fair value of BRD’s stock held by minority stockholders who were “squeezed out” as a result of a statutory merger. The Defendants were represented by attorneys from Proskauer Rose, LLP, an international law firm headquartered in New York City with over 700 attorneys. The Defendants filed a counterclaim against BRD for breach of fiduciary duty. The parties offered conflicting expert testimony regarding the value of the stock. After a bench trial on the matter, the court ruled in BRD’s favor, finding BRD’s stock to have an aggregate value within the range argued by the Essenson Law Firm and dismissing the Defendants’ counterclaim against BRD.
January 28, 2002
Benz Research and Development Corp. v. Joseph Schwartzinger, et al.
Case No.: 97-2402-CA-91
The Essenson Law Firm represented the Plaintiff, Benz Research and Development Corporation (“BRD”), in an action against a former employee for misappropriation of trade secrets. After obtaining an Order granting BRD’s Motion for Contempt against the Co-Defendant Sterling International Technologies, Inc. (“Sterling”), the Essenson Law Firm obtained a sanction award for BRD in the amount of $93,839.10 against Sterling for discovery violations.
March 24, 1998
Butera v. Boczar, M.D.
Case No.: 97-1166-CA-01
The Essenson Law Firm represented the Plaintiff in a medical malpractice suit against Plaintiff’s former doctor. After performing laproscopic surgery on the Plaintiff, Defendant negligently discharged the Plaintiff, despite indications of post-operative complications, resulting in further complications and deterioration of the Plaintiff’s condition requiring further medical intervention and treatment. After a five day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the Plaintiff.
May 25, 1995
Country Club Association, Inc. v. McNeill et al.
Case No.: 95-0504-CA-01
The Essenson Law Firm represented Country Club Association, Inc., a Homeowner’s Association on Longboat Key, in a development known as Country Club Shores, Unit 4. The Association brought an action against property owners and their contractor to enjoin them from constructing a custom residence in an area that violated the set-back restrictions set forth in Restrictive Covenants which were applicable to the subject lot. After a multiple day bench trial, the Court entered a permanent injunction against the homeowners and ordered them to remove all encroachments that lay within the set-back area within thirty (30) days. The homeowners brought a counter-claim against the Association which was dismissed by the Court by Judgment entered in favor of the Association.
Read the Judgment Granting Permanent Injunction
Read the Final Judgment for Plaintiff on Counterclaim
In a supplemental proceeding, the Essenson Law Firm was successful in obtaining a Final Judgment against the homeowners for attorney’s fees and expert witness fees in the amount of $42,205.00, and a second Judgment for costs in the amount of $4,671.12. These judgments were paid and the Association was reimbursed for its expenses, including attorney’s fees, costs and expert witness fees.
Read the Final Judgment for Fees
Read the Final Judgment Awarding Costs
Lampman v. American Motors
The Essenson Law Firm represented Plaintiff, a steelworker injured as a result of a defective seatbelt in an American Motors AMC Pacer automobile. In week five of a jury trial in Buffalo, New York, the Essenson Law Firm entered into a settlement, on behalf of Plaintiff, for an undisclosed amount.