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Overview

Cecilia Simmons is a Shareholder in the Litigation Department where she practices in all areas of commercial litigation in both federal and state court. Additionally, as a member of the E-Discovery and Information Practice Group, she focuses on the management of major discovery matters as well as providing guidance on e-discovery issues.

Representative Experience

  • Part of the litigation team that achieved a $100 million settlement on behalf of a Class consisting of 179 real estate investors. The settlement resolved claims that one of the largest commercial real estate firms in the world, and one of its employees, concealed and failed to alert our clients to an on-going multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme. It is currently pending Court approval.
  • For over 9 years, starting immediately after the Florida real estate market crash, represented BBX Capital Corporation and its Chairman and CEO Alan Levan, which owned the 100-branch Florida bank BankAtlantic in an SEC investigation and then enforcement action alleging BBX had concealed loan risks. A six-week jury trial and split verdict in 2014, a successful appeal to the Eleventh Circuit in 2016, and a second six-week jury trial in 2017 resulted in a verdict and judgment for BBX and Mr. Levan rejecting every claim asserted by the SEC.
  • Prevailed in administrative hearing challenging Environmental Resource Permit Modification issued to client All Aboard Florida. Following a lengthy proceeding, the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings issued a Recommended Order which found for All Aboard Florida on all issues and endorsed the permit under review. The permit is for a portion of an express passenger rail system which will connect the four largest urban population centers in Southern and Central Florida - Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, and Orlando. The passenger service will be known as Brightline and is scheduled to begin operating between Miami and West Palm Beach later this year. The Recommended Order contains the most thorough analysis to date on the issue of whether the first element of the public interest test permits consideration of non-environmental factors and provides more predictability and clarity as to the application of the public interest criteria.
  • Successfully represented two joint venture partners in obtaining a favorable settlement in a highly contentious dispute over the terms of a complex joint venture agreement relating to internet marketing and product sales.
  • Assisted Spanish investor in obtaining a preliminary injunction, after lengthy evidentiary hearings, against its joint venture partners for illegal removal from the joint venture’s management committee.
  • Served as defendants’ trial counsel for BBX Capital Corporation in a five-week securities class action jury trial in federal court in Miami, Florida. The action brought by private shareholders ended with a judgment for BBX after an appeal to the Eleventh Circuit.
  • Represented class of service station dealers in a federal class action against Exxon Corporation; significant responsibilities in adversary claims process, including supervision of a large team of associates and paralegals, on behalf of more than 12,000 claimants with a total recovery of $1.1 billion.
  • Represented the owner of a luxury hotel in Key Biscayne, Florida in an arbitration proceeding against the general contractor in a dispute arising out of the construction of the hotel.
  • Member of the trial team in a breach of contract action on behalf of the owner of the American Airlines Arena against a luxury box owner which resulted in a $2.5 million judgment in favor of our client.

Recognition

  • Florida Super Lawyers Rising Stars, 2010-2011

Publications & Presentations

Publications, Recent News Updates: DOAH Recommended Order Clarifies ERP Public Interest Criteria
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update |October 2017

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Newsroom

In the Media: Cabot Investors Win Class Cert. In $157M Fraud Suit
Law360|March 2018

In the Media: Alan Levan gets back to work
Miami Herald Business Monday |August 2017

In the Media: Levan, BBX cleared of SEC charges
South Florida Business Journal |May 2017

In the Media: Federal Jury Clears Levan and BBX on All SEC Claims
Daily Business Review|May 2017

In the Media: 11th Circ. Axes SEC Win in BankAtlantic Fraud Case
Law360|September 2016

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