Tampa courts have continued to hear cases, many of them years-long battles that are still ongoing. Here is a look at some recent court cases in Tampa.

Lockwood v. Oliver

For Jeff and Joanne Lockwood, who planned to hit the ground running in their first major business venture post-retirement, immediate success just wasn’t in the cards. In September 2019, the Lockwood’s purchased a $250,000 security from Business Loan Solutions (BLS), eventually signing a formal Joint Participation Agreement locking them into business with BLS. According to the agreement, BLS assured the Lockwoods that they would secure a letter of credit and work in collaboration with foreign banks to monetize that letter in the form of a $30,000,000 non-recourse loan, minus $6,000,000 in brokerage fees. Additionally, BLS promised the Lockwoods that a financial instrument or tradeable assets would be secured in regard to their investment, that their loan would be funded and a loan schedule would be provided to them no more than 60 days after September 30. In the event that BLS failed to provide an adequate financial instrument in that time, the Lockwood’ investment would be repaid in full. Currently, the Lockwood’s are seeking their investment back as well as additional compensation from BLS for failing to fund their loan and provide a schedule in the allotted amount of time.

Brink v. Direct General Insurance Company

In the early morning hours of April 5, 2008, Juan Luiz Ruiz Pereles was driving his father’s 2000 Mitsubishi to work when he collided with a motorcyclist at high speeds. Dustin Brink, the motorcyclist in question, sustained serious injuries as a result of the collision, leaving him in a coma for months.  At the time of the accident, Pereles and his father were fully insured through the Direct General Insurance Company, having liability limits up to $10,000 per person for both property damage and bodily injury. Immediately following the accident, Brink’s attorney Alexander Clem contacted the insurance company requesting Pereles send over his insurance statement and any other necessary documentation. Pereles, who had difficulty speaking fluent English, received a letter from his insurance company in English advising him to send Clem his insurance statement, but failed to note that Brink’s claims would likely far exceed his liability limit, leaving Pereles responsible for any remaining amounts. After numerous failed correspondence between Clem and the insurance company from 2008 to 2010, Brink filed a lawsuit against Pereles, eventually proving his claim in trial making an excess of $12,000,000. Currently, Brink is seeking additional compensation, claiming the insurance company acted in bad faith for failing to provide him and his attorney as well as Pereles with all necessary documentation in a timely manner.

Murray v. Hunter Warfield, Inc.

This past January, while staying at the Hamptons at Pine Bend, an apartment complex in Mobile, Alabama, Karmeic Murray incurred an outstanding personal debt of $2,700. Despite her multiple attempts to contact Hunter Warfield, Inc. (HW), the company that holds majority ownership of the Hamptons, Murray was sent a letter threatening her to pay back the remaining balance or face immediate legal action. Immediately after receiving the letter, Murray filed a lawsuit against HW under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). FDCPA states that when making inquiries concerning outstanding debt, companies and debt collectors are prohibited from using false, misleading, deceptive or threatening language. After going to trial, Florida’s Eleventh Circuit Court denied Murray’s claim due to insufficient evidence and lack of threatening language found in the debt collection letter. Currently, Murray is requesting an appeal, with full intentions of a retrial in the near future.


Disclaimer: All above cases summarized from full case documentation on Justia.