Joseph Onorati is a Shareholder in the Litigation Department. He also has experience representing local and national clients in complex commercial litigation cases in state and federal courts.
Prior to joining the Firm, Joseph worked as an intern for the Honorable John Schlesinger of the Circuit Court for the 11th Judicial Circuit, Miami-Dade County, Florida. He also worked as a case clerk for a national law firm.
- 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.
- Represented the vacation ownership company Bluegreen Vacations Inc. in putative class action brought in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging claims of fraud and deceptive practices over the prior four years in selling well over $1 billion in vacation ownership interests to purchasers nationwide. After filing a motion to dismiss on behalf of Bluegreen, the district court dismissed three of the four claims with prejudice. After the close of fact discovery and the completion of briefing on the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification, plaintiffs withdrew their motion for class certification, abandoning the argument that Bluegreen’s policies and procedures were fraudulent or deceptive, and took the position that doing so eliminated subject matter jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act. After considering Eleventh Circuit precedent requiring dismissal for lack of subject matter jurisdiction if the case never should have been brought as a class action in the first place, the district court then dismissed the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
- Represented the vacation ownership company Bluegreen in putative class action brought in federal court under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. After filing a motion to dismiss on behalf of Bluegreen, the named plaintiff voluntarily dismissed his claims with prejudice.
- Member of defense team that represented a Florida-based bank in several simultaneous civil suits in federal and state court with respect to the bank’s alleged involvement in a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme. Each of the cases ultimately settled upon favorable terms.
- Member of litigation team that represented a community development corporation with respect to dissenting shareholders’ statutory appraisal rights resulting from a merger.
- Representation of sponsor of a professional tennis tournament seeking to renovate existing facilities and tournament operations. Representation included litigation regarding accuracy requirements of ballot referendum and use of public park for proposed renovations.
- Successfully represented a pro bono client who had been tricked into signing a quit claim deed giving up title to half of his house. After 3 years of contentious litigation, obtained summary judgment on claims of quiet title and breach of contract, recovering clear title to the client’s home of more than 30 years.
- Counsel to private bank and trust institution regarding compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Representation of landlords and tenants in commercial lease disputes.
- Representation of lenders for compliance with Truth in Lending Act and usury laws.
- Representation of lenders in commercial foreclosure actions.
Professional & Community Involvement
- Articles Selection Editor, Florida State University Journal of Transnational Law & Policy, 2010-2011
- The Florida Bar
- Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch, 2021
Publications & Presentations
Land Development News Update, Publications:
Update: IRS Provides Guidance for Big Capital Gains Break
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|October 2018
Stearns Weaver Miller Names Five New Shareholders
In the Media:
CBRE To Pay $100M To End Class Action By Realty Investors
In the Media:
Cabot Investors Win Class Cert. In $157M Fraud Suit
In the Media:
Going the Distance
The Florida Bar Journal|March 2017