Miami - A federal jury recently awarded more than US$2 million to the owners of a Dominican Republic-based business bilked in a currency exchange scam. The business was represented by Alvin B. Davis, a trial lawyer and managing partner of the Miami office of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P.
The case stemmed from allegations that Oscar R. Lama and his sons, Carlos and Oscar, failed to make good on a US$700,000 currency exchange transaction. The client, which operates several Dominican Republic-based businesses, needed United States currency to pay US-based suppliers.
According to court testimony, the business gave the Lamas 28 million pesos in exchange for US$700,000 in checks issued by businesses owned by the Lama family. The exchange went awry when banks refused to honor the checks. The Lamas subsequently left the Dominican Republic for Florida. Squire Sanders’ client sued the Lamas in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida for breach of contract and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act. The case was heard by US District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro.
“The only issue before the jury was whether the debt belonged to the company accounts on which the checks were written, or to the defendants,” Davis said. “The jury had to decide whether the defendants, who claimed this was a business-to-business transaction, had personal liability for the debt.” After six days of testimony, jurors found for the plaintiff and awarded US$1.4 million on the breach of contract claim and US$700,000 on the trade practices act claim, as well as attorneys’ fees.
“Our client and the defendants are prominent in the Dominican Republic business community. Our client considered this a matter of personal honor and was determined to have his day in court. We’re very pleased to obtain this outcome for our client,” Davis said. Associate Raul B. Manon assisted Davis in the litigation.
About Squire Sanders: Founded in 1890, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey L.L.P. has lawyers in 32 offices and 15 countries around the world. With one of the strongest integrated global platforms and a longstanding one-firm philosophy, Squire Sanders provides seamless legal counsel worldwide.
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