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Sometimes You Shouldn’t Settle – Commercial Litigation Blog Post by Joe Kingma

April 12, 2017

Recent Blog Post by Joe Kingma.

Billy Newcomb and I recently won summary judgment for a top 100 accounting firm and one of its CPAs against malpractice claims brought in a Florida court by a publicly traded company.  The Plaintiff alleged that the accounting firm negligently failed to detect and report an internal fraud which the Plaintiff claimed cost it over $10 million.  Six other defendants, including a top 10 accounting firm, settled with the Plaintiff just after suit was filed, leaving CCS’ clients as the sole defendants.  As part of their aggressive litigation plan to obtain an early favorable resolution for their clients, Billy and I filed a motion for summary judgment with their answer to the complaint.  At an early court-ordered mediation, the Plaintiff, perhaps a little too confident in its home court advantage, refused to lower its demand under $5 million.  Immediately after the mediation failed, the trial court granted summary judgment to CCS’ clients and dismissed all of the Plaintiff’s claims against them with prejudice.

Billy has been licensed to practice law in Florida since 2002 and regularly handles legal matters all over the State of Florida.  He and I felt strongly about our liability and damages defenses, and we thought that spending our clients’ money on an unwarranted settlement just didn’t make sense.  Our clients agreed and had the confidence to stand up to the Plaintiff.  If early summary judgment had not been granted, Billy and I planned to build a discovery record to prevail on another dispositive motion or at trial.

In the cases in which the early settlement demands are reasonable, we recommend settlement to our clients.  But when the plaintiffs are unreasonable and settlement makes no sense, we prepare to fight.   In those cases, as Churchill announced:

we shall fight on the beaches,
we shall fight on the landing grounds,
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets,
we shall fight in the hills;
we shall never surrender…..

There are no sure things in litigation, but if you want to know what your case is worth, sometimes you must have the courage to fight. We are both very grateful to our clients for their courage in this case.

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