MIAMI & WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (PRWEB) December 08, 2014
Lorie M. Gleim and Gerardo J. Rodriguez-Albizu, litigation attorneys with the West Palm Beach, Fla., office of international law firm Greenberg Traurig, were named winners of the “Most Effective Lawyers” recognition in the Real Estate category by the Daily Business Review. The newspaper’s editors selected the attorneys from a pool of nominees throughout South Florida who secured the biggest jury verdicts and settlements or achieved significant decisions affecting public policy or business in 2014. Honorees were recognized at an event today at the JW Marriott Miami.
Specifically, Shareholder Gleim and Associate Rodriguez-Albizu were recognized for securing a significant court victory for client William “Bill” Cooley related to the issue of real estate tax liabilities for government-owned marinas in Florida. Case No.: 56-2011-CA-002968. Greenberg Traurig Washington D.C. Shareholder Jerry Stouck was also involved in the case.
After Cooley bought Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce, Fla., several years ago, he had been competing for clients with marinas owned by the city of Fort Pierce and the Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency. Unlike these competing marinas, Cooley had been paying real estate taxes – which exceeded $200,000 per year at one point and represented his second-highest expense. He had been losing customers to the government-owned marinas, which could charge lower boat slip fees because they didn’t have the added tax burdens, according to court documents.
Gleim and Rodriguez-Albizu successfully challenged the applicability of a Florida constitutional provision and proved in court that the city and agency's marinas were being used for commercial purposes identical to that of their client and were different from public facilities like libraries, parks, and schools for which the constitutional provision had been intended. Circuit Judge William L. Roby agreed, concluding “it is unfair as well as unconstitutional … for the municipal marinas not to also pay their fair share of property taxes," according to court documents.
“We are excited to be recognized for the work we did in achieving this important victory for our client,” Gleim said. “We expect the outcome in this case to have a far-reaching impact.”
Cooley will benefit from a more level playing field with city-owned marinas that have been competing with his marina on the basis of cost. Under the decision, which has been appealed, properties in other jurisdictions also are expected to be added to the tax rolls.
Also at today’s Daily Business Review luncheon, Hilarie Bass, the firm’s Co-President and a Miami Litigation Shareholder, and David A. Coulson, Chair of the firm’s Miami Litigation Practice Group, were recognized as finalists in the “Corporate/Securities/Shareholder Litigation” category for their work representing longtime clients Stiefel Labs and Charles Stiefel at trial in Richard I. Fried v. Stiefel Laboratories, Inc., and Charles W. Stiefel, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. Case No.: 1:11-CV-20853-Williams. A Miami federal jury found in favor of the defendants on all elements of the securities fraud claim related to Fried’s January 2009 sale of his stock.
About Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Greenberg Traurig, LLP is an international, multi-practice law firm with approximately 1750 attorneys serving clients from 36 offices in the United States, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm is among the “Power Elite” in the 2014 BTI Client Relationship Scorecard report, which assesses the nature and strength of law firms' client relationships. For additional information, please visit http://www.gtlaw.com.