Bernhard Law Firm is granted leave to seek punitive damages in banking theft litigation

Bernhard Law FirmToday, a Miami court granted Bernhard Law Firm’s motion for leave to seek punitive damages in its banking theft lawsuit, allowing Bernhard Law Firm’s client to seek uncapped punitive damages for the bank’s alleged conversion of a bank account and efforts to conceal the theft thereafter. As garnered from the court-filed motion:

“Plaintiff moves for leave to add a claim for punitive damages against defendant [Credit Union] under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.190(f) and Florida Statutes § 768.72. [Plaintiff] proffers evidence showing [the Credit Union]’s grossly negligent management of his investment account, committed directly and through [the Credit Union]’s Manager [], Vice President [], and pre-litigation counsel. The proffer shows that [the Credit Union] totally neglected Plaintiff’s account, that [the Credit Union] allowed repeated unauthorized account access and asset removal until the account was worthless, that [the Credit Union] made no effort during this time to salvage the assets although it had the power to do so, and that [the Credit Union] made no effort, indeed, declined, to keep [Plaintiff] apprised as to any developments in the account, and instead destroyed evidence and fabricated statements thereof. As the Third District Court of Appeal held in nearly identical circumstances,

[i]t is difficult to imagine a set of facts wherein a[n account manager] could have acted with any greater degree of gross negligence as to indicate a wanton disregard of the rights of his client. We deal here, in our view, with an ‘entire want of care or attention to duty,’ a ‘great indifference to the persons, property or rights of others,’ which has long been sufficient to justify a punitive damages award.

Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc. v. Leslie, 410 So. 2d 961, 964–65 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982).

As the Court held after a special set hearing on the matter: “Given the above Florida law and its application to the Proffer filed [], Plaintiff has followed the above procedure and made a proper and sufficient showing at hearing to allow it leave to add a claim for punitive damages under Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.190(f) and Florida Statutes § 768.72. Accordingly, the Court has GRANTED this Motion.”

The motion and the order can be found by clinking on these links:

The MOTION: MOT LEAVE PUN DMGS (FINAL) 1.27.15

The ORDER: ORD GRANT MOT LEAVE PUN DMGS 6.11.15

If you have questions regarding punitive damages or banking litigation, please contact Bernhard Law Firm at 786-566-1969 or abernhard@bernhardlawfirm.com.

Bernhard Law Firm

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