FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 7, 2019
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
DEFENSE USES PLAINTIFF’S OWN WITNESSES TO OBTAIN COMPLETE DEFENSE VERDICT
Malicious Prosecution / False Imprisonment
MIAMI – George L. Fernandez and Derrick M. Kelly, partners in the Miami office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., obtained a defense verdict on behalf of their clients, The Real Deal Body Shop, Inc. and its owner. After two years of litigation, this case resulted in a complete victory for the defense and zero recovery for the plaintiff.
The plaintiff brought claims against our clients for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment following her arrest for aggravated battery with a motor vehicle. The plaintiff claimed that the defendants falsely reported the subject incident to the Doral Police Department, which led to her arrest and incarceration. The criminal charge against the plaintiff was based on her act of driving her mini-van forward and striking our client’s owner twice before leaving the premises after engaging in a dispute over the amount owed for the work performed on her vehicle. The plaintiff claimed that she never struck the owner of the body shop with her vehicle and alleged that the victim’s testimony contradicted the initial reports made to law enforcement officials. As a result of her arrest and incarceration, the plaintiff claimed that she suffered severe mental anguish and embarrassment, and alleged economic damages for her attorney’s fees and bond in connection with her criminal action. The plaintiff argued that she obtained a favorable termination of the criminal proceeding when the state attorney’s office dropped the charges.
The defense presented no witnesses during its case in chief and simply cross examined the three witnesses called during the Plaintiff’s case in chief— namely, the Plaintiff herself; the owner of the body shop; and the investigating detective. The defense established through the detective that there were two eyewitnesses who corroborated the defendant’s version of the incident and that there was ample probable cause to make the arrest. The defense also presented evidence that the plaintiff’s own brother came to the body shop on the day of her arrest and threatened the staff, which led the owner to refuse to testify in the criminal action fearing retribution. The defense also picked apart the plaintiff’s own trial testimony on cross examination by establishing that the plaintiff’s testimony largely contradicted her prior deposition testimony, and that she fled the scene without providing police with her version of the events.
The jury found that there was sufficient probable cause for the arrest and criminal charge, and returned a complete defense verdict for all defendants.
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George L. Fernandez is a partner in the Miami office and is a Florida Bar Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer and member of the American Board of Trial Advocates.
Derrick M. Kelly is a litigation partner in Miami focusing on personal injury, wrongful death matters among various other areas of practice. For many years he worked for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO). His experience includes felony investigations including those involving civil, criminal and non-criminal matters.
QPWB is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with 23 offices in the U.S. and abroad.