Ramón Coto-Ojeda is the Managing Partner of Coto & Associates, who also heads the firm’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice and the Cuba Team. Before forming Coto & Associates in January of 1999, he was a partner of McConnell Valdés where he worked since he joined the firm in 1982 as a law clerk. Mr. Coto-Ojeda has vast experience representing institutional lenders and other corporate interests in civil and complex commercial litigations, including products liabilities, securities, consumer protection, construction, antitrust and trade regulations, petroleum marketing practices, distribution and franchise, food liability, telecommunications, and creditors in bankruptcy, workouts and reorganization matters and has an extensive appellate practice in these areas.
He also is a certified mediator and arbitrator. As a mediator, Mr. Coto-Ojeda has assisted parties with complex disputes to reach settlement in almost all cases and matters that he has intervened, selected, or has been appointed by the Court. As an arbitrator, Mr. Coto-Ojeda’s resolution of the arbitrated disputes has been sustained by the Courts in two cases: once when he joined the majority of a three-arbitrator panel; and once when he wrote the dissenting opinion also in a three-arbitrator panel.
Mr. Coto-Ojeda has taught bankruptcy during the Federal Bar Association Bar Review Course, Bankruptcy Law and Legal Research and Writing, at the University of Puerto Rico Law School, regularly speaks at seminars on Cuba, bankruptcy, product liability, alternative dispute resolution, hotel and restaurant liability, and other areas. He and his firm are local defense counsel for the Grocery Manufacturing Association.
Mr. Coto-Ojeda has been involved in practically all facets of distribution and sales representation relationships involving hundreds or products and services in numerous industries including food, confections, and food services, distilled spirits (including beer and wine), medical devices, pharmaceuticals, automotive, tobacco, advertising sales, telecommunications, and bicycles, among others. He is very well versed in Act 75 and Act 21 consultations, contract preparation and relationship documentation, mediation (both as advocate for clients and as mediator), arbitration (both as advocate and as party appointed arbitrator or selected by peers as the third arbitrator or the sole arbitrator), and litigation. He has been named to the Puerto Rico Best Lawyers© listing for four straight years in the practice areas of Franchise Law (that encompasses distribution law), and Intellectual Property Law.
Since his early days in the legal profession, Mr. Coto-Ojeda has handled securities industry customer claims against the firm’s securities clients, including arbitrations and mediations, over allegations of churning, lack of supervision, compliance, unauthorized trading, and selling away cases, before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which is the largest independent regulator for all securities firms. In the past, he has represented Prudential Bache, BBVA Securities, UBS, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and other brokerage firms as well as many individual brokers and supervisors as part of the FINRA claims process.
He was the Chair of the panel that discussed “Business and Investment in a Free and Democratic Cuba” at the CLAA and ITSA Summer 1995 meeting in San Juan. He has also spoken on the “Commercial Relations between Cuba and the United States within the Framework of International Law” and “El Embargo Comercial de Estados Unidos a Cuba y el Impacto de la Ley Helms-Burton” at the School of Law of the Inter American University and about “El Rol del Abogado Puertorriqueño en la Internacionalización de Puerto Rico; la Situación Legal en Cuba” before the Puerto Rico Bar Association. He also spoke at the Annual Convention of the American Institute of Architects on “Building Business in Cuba: A Framework for Today and Tomorrow”, at the Annual convention of the College of Certified Public Accountants and before the Chamber of Commerce and Production of the Dominican Republic on “Oportunidades y Formas de Hacer Negocios en Cuba”, at the New York University School of Law on “U.S. - Cuban Intellectual Property Relations: A Conference on Issues and Conflicts Regarding U.S. and Cuban Trademarks, Copyrights and Patent ” and has given specialized, industry-specific seminars to several clients and before other organizations including “Actual and Future Developments in Cuba: Legal Implications Entrepreneurs Should Take into Consideration Regarding this Market” before the International Trade and Service Association. He is also the co-author of “From Cold War Warriors to Business Associates: Cuba-Puerto Rico Relations in the Last Half of the Twentieth Century” which paper he presented during the ninth annual meeting of the Association For the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE) held on August 12, 1999, at the Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables, FL, and has been republished in the Cuba Briefings of Georgetown University, and translated and republished in the Revista de Ciencias Sociales of the University of Puerto Rico, among others. He also served as Court appointed expert on the Cuban Banking system in a dispute involving the Banco Nacional de Cuba and Lloyds of London in London.
Ramón Coto-Ojeda graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with B.A. in Economics and obtained his law degree, cum laude, from the University of Puerto Rico School of Law where he concentrated in commercial law. He is admitted to the bars of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the Supreme Court of the United States, and the District of Columbia Bar. Mr. Coto-Ojeda is also a member of the Asociación de Notarios de Puerto Rico, Federal Bar Association, the Defense Research Institute, the Puerto Rico Bankruptcy Bar Association, the Lex Mundi College of Mediators, and the National Arbitration and Mediation, Inc. He is also certified as a notary public for the Consulate of Brazil in the United States. He was born in Cuba and has been in Puerto Rico since 1962.