The Andres Lopez Law Firm, PA obtained notable results that were the first of their kind in Florida and the United States.
In a recent case, the law firm obtained a summary judgment on behalf of its client in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida. The case involved a dispute among beneficiaries of a life insurance policy. In that case, Andres Lopez represented the sister of the insured. The insured had completed the change of beneficiary forms sometime in 2013 designating his sister as a beneficiary. Due to his health condition at the time, the insured signed the change of beneficiary form by using his thumbprint. Upon his death, the sister made a claim with the insurance company and provided a copy of the beneficiary form that contained the thumbprint. The insurance company refused to pay the proceeds arguing that the form was not properly “executed” because it did not contain the insured’s “signature.” According to the company, the thumbprint was not a “signature.”
Surprisingly, the issue presented in the case had not been addressed by any other court in the country. In other words, this was a case of the first impression. Mr. Lopez battled the insurance company as well as another relative who claimed to be a proper beneficiary under the life insurance policy. In the end, Mr. Lopez showed to the Court that, under the relevant law, a thumbprint is a valid signature. The Court entered a judgment in favor of the law firm’s client and she was able to obtain the insurance proceeds. The insurer also reimbursed her for all her attorney’s fees. This case is the first case in the country where a court has found that a thumbprint is a legal signature.
In a precedent-setting case, Andres Lopez convinced a state court that a homeowner can have a jury trial in claims she asserted against a mortgage loan servicer. This appears to be the only case in Florida where a homeowner will have a jury decide whether the national mortgage loan servicer committed fraud as part of its mortgage foreclosure practices. The law firm’s client, a 75-year-old grandmother, had never missed a mortgage payment. The servicer conducted a yearly escrow analysis and incorrectly determined that the homeowner had a shortage in excess of $20,000. As a result, the homeowner’s monthly payment doubled, preventing them from paying her mortgage for the first time. Even though the servicer later realized that it had committed an error in their analysis, and therefore, her payment should not have increased, the servicer filed a foreclosure against the homeowner. The law firm filed a counterclaim against the servicer alleging fraud and other claims and requested a jury trial. The servicer moved to strike the request for a jury trial. The law firm successfully argued that the jury trial waiver contained in the mortgage did not apply to the servicer. After considering those arguments, the trial court agreed. The homeowner will now have a jury decide whether the servicer is liable to her for their wrongful practices. This was also a case of the first impression in Florida.
(a) Even though Andres Lopez does not generally handle DUI cases, a colleague asked Mr. Lopez to participate in the jury trial (pro-bono) in such a case. After realizing that the driver, who is a nurse and a mother of a beautiful 12-year-old daughter, would face possible deportation if she was convicted, Mr. Lopez decided to conduct the jury trial with his co-counsel. After a two-day jury trial, the jury found the driver Not Guilty.
(b) In the last four years, the Andres Lopez Law Firm successfully defended homeowners in foreclosure trials. In one case, after considering the evidence presented by Andres Lopez during the trial, the Court dismissed the foreclosure case finding that it would be unconscionable to allow the bank to foreclose. In another case, the law firm was able to show during the trial that the bank did not have the right to foreclose the mortgage, and therefore, the Court dismissed the case. Similarly, the court refused to allow a foreclosure in a case where the law firm was able to show that the bank had improperly applied the payments it received from the homeowner.
(c) In a wrongful detainer action, the law firm represented a single mother of five in an action where her ex-boyfriend attempted to kick her out of a house that he owned. The boyfriend had promised to purchase a house for him and the law firm’s client. He promised to place the law firm’s client on the title of the home. The day before the closing occurred, the boyfriend notified the law firm’s client (who was his fiancé by this time) that her name would not be placed on the title. However, he signed a contract whereby, if they broke up, he agreed to allow her to live in the house for three years and he would pay for all the expenses related to the house. They broke up. The boyfriend broke his promise and filed an unlawful detainer action to kick her out of the house. After a very hard-fought trial, the Court entered a judgment in favor of the law firm’s client. Subsequently, the boyfriend agreed to pay the law firm’s client a large settlement in order for her to agree to move out. The law firm’s client was able to use those funds to start a new life.
(a) The firm routinely represents small businesses in business disputes with larger companies. One of the small businesses was a small painter sub-contractor in a contract dispute against one of Florida’s largest painting companies. The large company wrongfully terminated two large commercial painting contracts. Consequently, the law firm filed a breach of contract case on behalf of the small painter sub-contractor. The law firm faced one of the largest law firms in Florida in that case. After a five-day hard-fought arbitration trial, the arbitrator found that the large painting company was liable for wrongful termination.
(b) The firm recently prevailed in an arbitration trial related to a partnership dispute. The law firm represented a technology company and three owners against another owner. The owner essentially raided the operating account of the limited liability company and withdrew over $160,000.00 of operating funds. The law firm filed a lawsuit against that owner, and the parties agreed to submit all the claims to arbitration as required by their operating agreement. After a grueling four-day trial, the arbitrator found that the Law Firm’s clients proved their claim against the fourth owner. The arbitrator also found that the owner that took the funds failed to prove all of the claims that he asserted against the law firm’s clients. Nevertheless, the arbitrator awarded a fraction of the compensation he sought from the law firm’s clients. After the dust settled, the law firm’s clients prevailed on their claims.
The law firm has successfully litigated cases to trial. Often, the law firm represents individuals or small businesses against large corporations, insurance companies, and/or national banks that are represented by some of the largest law firms in the country. This law firm thrives against those challenges and will pursue your case all the way to trial if necessary.
The law firm represented two siblings in a bitter commercial dispute with their older brother. Unfortunately, their father passed away without a will. During his life, the father, who was a savvy businessman, accumulated multiple large commercial properties throughout South Florida. Upon his death, the siblings signed an agreement whereby the older brother would manage the commercial properties for a certain time period, and he would purchase some of the commercial properties. He failed to live up to his end of the bargain. The siblings initially hired another law firm and sued the brother asserting various claims against the older brother. After the case lingered in court for a year, the siblings retained this law firm. The law firm aggressively litigated the case and in the course of discovery was able to unearth substantial misconduct of the brother related to the management of the various commercial properties and companies. Due to the evidence obtained by the law firm, the law firm’s clients obtained a substantial recovery from the brother.