Hargrove Pierson & Brown’s practice involves a wide range of legal areas, our practice areas include:
* Alternative Dispute Resolution
* Annuity and Insurance Litigation
* Class Action
* Construction and Lien Litigation
* Commercial Disputes
* General Civil Litigation
* Media and Telecommunications Law
* Professional/Directors and Officers Liability
* Trademark and Intellectual Property
* Will and Trust Contests and other Fiduciary Litigation
John Hargrove is a Board Certified appellate lawyer with hundreds of civil appeals to his credit both in state and federal court. Working for years in tandem with Kent Brown, they bring a “plain English” approach to their writing styles. Both lawyers clerked for appellate judges and gained invaluable behind-the-scenes experience in the process and learned that when the issue is properly characterized the appellate problem is half solved. Adding to his negotiation, persuasion and mediation skills, Mr. Hargrove holds a master’s degree from Harvard University where he was taught by several of the most outstanding professors in those specialty disciplines.
Appellate matters often create the law by which the client or its opponents will be bound for many years to come. Because of this, appellate counsel must look for the best solution even before a matter reaches appeal. Spotting the cases that are likely to go on appeal and positioning them to increase the chances of success is a hallmark of firm’s approach.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Often the best advice is to avoid litigation altogether. Or, if it is inevitable, seek Alternative Dispute Resolution – whether arbitration or mediation — as quickly as possible. The lawyers of Hargrove Pierson & Brown are experienced in all aspects of resolving disputes before they get out of hand and become emotionally draining and cost prohibitive.
Whether the case involves a consumer purchase, a securities transaction or a simple contract dispute, mandatory arbitration clauses require special skills. The firm has the “insider” benefit of Kent Brown being an arbitrator for FINRA (formerly NASD) in consumer securities disputes and industry employment cases and the experience of having handled significant arbitration matters.
Mediation has evolved into a near art form. Understanding negotiation and the social-psychological skills of persuasion enables the lawyer to achieve the best possible results for the client. But in addition, a key component is preparation – knowing not only the strengths and weaknesses of the client’s position, but fully understanding the position of the adversary. Of equal importance is the selection of the mediator. The firm’s network of qualified mediators is second to none.
John Hargrove and Cristina Pierson have mediated hundreds of cases on behalf of individuals and businesses with amounts in controversy ranging from a few thousand dollars to several hundred million. Their economical and effective mediation track record has been strong.
Annuity and Insurance Litigation
Several years ago John Hargrove was asked to represent on a contingency basis an elderly couple whose lifetime savings had been invested in an equity indexed annuity product which would not begin paying them the income they had expected to receive immediately for twenty years – a period which exceeded their life expectancies. The matter caught the attention of several news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Money Magazine, USA Today, as well as network television and radio.
As a result of Mr. Hargrove’s efforts on behalf of the elderly couple the very first nationwide class was certified in federal court providing relief for nearly 30,000 class members. Since then, Mr. Hargrove’s pioneering work in equity indexed and fixed annuity litigation has again found him sharing a lead counsel role in the largest federal court class annuity settlement in history in which nearly 400,000 policy holders will have obtained timely and needed benefits. Obviously not all cases lead to class action status. Numerous individual cases have been prosecuted by Mr. Hargrove and Ms. Pierson both against overreaching agents and the companies issuing the policies.
In addition, the firm has significant experience in litigating large insurance coverage disputes. The lawyers understand policy language, including what is covered and what is excluded in commercial general liability, errors and omission, directors’ and officers’ liability policies, and professional malpractice contracts.
In addition to the annuity class actions in which the firm has represented class members, the lawyers of Hargrove Pierson & Brown have represented numerous corporate clients in defending class actions both in state and federal courts. The lawyers know and understand the unique nature of class litigation and continue to update their skills both in the classroom and in the courtroom. From the knowing the theory and structure of class actions in relationship to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 and its state counterparts, to issues of standing to maintain a class action and procedural and substantive strategies, the firm is well qualified to work in this complex and evolving area of the law.
Construction and Lien Litigation
The firm represents owners, design professionals, contractors, subcontractors, and material suppliers in all aspects of the construction process. These types of claims include construction contract disputes, defect and delay damage claims, lien and bond claims, and other construction related disputes. We have experience in handling these claims in the courts as well as through mediation and arbitration. Our attorneys are knowledgeable about the strict statutory provisions that govern lien and bond rights.
There is simply no “one best way” to deal with commercial disputes. Successful outcomes depend upon unique approaches. Whether the nature of the claim is an antitrust matter, a statutory shareholders’ derivative suit or a small business misunderstanding, the problems often involve parties who want to resolve their differences and continue working for a common purpose rather than engaging in costly and protracted litigation. Resolving these disputes requires an understanding of negotiation and mediation techniques, when to push and when not to push. In many cases there are sensitive public relations issues to be managed as well as personal issues, and fractured relationships need to be repaired. The lawyers of Hargrove Pierson & Brown understand these dynamics and possess the skill sets to address these issues. When litigation has become necessary, the lawyers have obtained success in the courtroom relating to claims involving franchise and distribution, RICO claims, unfair competition and tortious interference claims, and non-compete provisions.
General Civil Litigation
This “catch-all” category includes the type of litigation done by the firm which likely does not fall under a more specialized heading. Topics may include banking matters, consumer litigation, lender liability, real estate, landlord/tenant, collections, employment contract disputes, state and local government litigation or premises liability issues. Clients of all financial levels often need assistance in various aspects of the negotiation, restructuring and litigating. Often this involves emergency asset protection measures through pre-judgment attachment, replevin, garnishment or injunction proceedings in state and federal courts. The firm provides fast and thorough support to its clients.
Media and Telecommunications Law
With a long history of First Amendment involvement, the firm’s lawyers continue to provide legal services to members of the print and broadcast media. All three firm lawyers are nationally known for their contributions to “freedom of the press” advocacy. The firm provides pre-publication and pre-broadcast counseling to numerous publishers and broadcasters concerning editorial content. It also assists journalists in gaining access to public records, closed meetings and closed court proceedings. Each lawyer is familiar with enforcing governmental compliance with Florida’s Sunshine Law and Public Records Law, protecting reporters from unnecessary harassment, and handling tort, privacy, and other contractual matters unique to this industry. In addition, they have all litigated extensively in the area of telecommunications and pride themselves on their knowledge of industry driven state and federal statutes and regulations.
Professional/Directors and Officers Liability
The firm maintains a strong practice in representing a wide range of professionals in their litigation concerns. This includes claims that involve allegations of professional malpractice or negligence for attorneys, accountants, design professionals of all types, real estate professionals, and corporate officers and directors. We are experienced in coordinating our representation with liability insurance companies as well as representing self-insured professionals and corporate management.
Trademark and Intellectual Property
Clients with cases involving copyright and trademark infringement, high-tech business issues, and software or hardware concerns look to the firm for trial and appellate support. Courtroom skills alone are not enough. The cases require understanding of technology. Fortunately for the firm’s clients, its lawyers have both skill sets. The lawyers of Hargrove Pierson & Brown have successfully litigated cases involving music, photography, advertising, and other media on behalf of individuals and major media clients.
Fiduciary related litigation is an all-encompassing term which embraces disputes arising from wills, trusts, powers of attorney and similar relationships. The probate litigation and trust litigation field has proliferated over the years in all states and most notably Florida. With its favorable tax laws and pleasant climate, the migration of retirees continues to favor Florida. Add to this expanding population the ever increasing complexity in estate planning, tax laws, retirement investing and fiduciary involvement, the problems among family members and friends has been taken to a new level. However well documented an estate plan or fiduciary charge may be, problems are common. They arise in the form of will, trust and guardianship contests, breaches of fiduciary duties, undue influence and overreaching, mental capacity issues and interference with gift expectancies. South Florida sees more than its fair share of these issues and Mr. Hargrove has been a recognized leader in this arena for over thirty five years.