Club-Exploria

Club Exploria v Aaronson

Case Number: 6-18-cv-00576

Last Updated: June 23, 2022

Status

Pending ruling on prevailing defendant timeshare cancellation attorney’s motion for prevailing party fees under FDUTPA

Location

USDC, Middle District of FL (Orlando)

Presiding Judge

Judge John Antoon II

Date Filed

04/13/2018

Highlights

Timeshare cancellation attorney prevailed in lawsuit after court granted his summary judgment motion.

Case Posture

Claims:

Club Exploria asserted the following claims against Austin Aaronson and his law firm:

  • Tortious Interference;
  • Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (FDUTPA);
  • False advertising in violation of the Lanham Act; and Violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act

Posture:

Case dismissed after judgment on summary judgment in favor of defendant timeshare cancellation attorney; affirmed on appeal; pending ruling on defendant’s attorney’s motion for prevailing party attorney fees under FDUTPA.

Summary:

Aaronson specializes in timeshare owner grievances against timeshare developers. Club Exploria asserted that Aaronson falsely advertises to convince timeshare owners that they can easily cancel their timeshare contracts if they hire Aaronson; and that Aaronson instructs the owners to break their timeshare contracts. The court granted Aaronson’s motion to dismiss Club Exploria’s RICO claim at the pleading stage.

After discovery was completed, Aaronson filed a motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims. The court found that Club Exploria absence of any owner testimony that Aaronson instructed them to cease paying or caused them to believe they could cease paying on their timeshare obligations. Regarding the FDUTPA claim, the court found that the Aaronson advertisements were not actionable because they were not connected to “trade or commerce,” but rather the practice of law; i.e., the exercise of a legal remedy. Moreover, the advertisements truthfully represented that Aaronson would pursue a resolution of his clients’ dispute with timeshare developers. The court found that Aaronson not only sent letters to negotiate with the developers on behalf of his clients, but also pursued arbitration or civil litigation on their behalf.

Accordingly, the court granted Aaronson’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit, rendering Aaronson the prevailing party. Club

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Docket link

Operative Complaint

Critical Orders

Critical Briefs

Transcripts

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Parties

Plaintiffs:

Club Exploria, LLC, Club Exploria Management, LLC formerly known as Summer Bay Management, L.C.

Plaintiffs’ counsel:

David E. Cannella, Holland & Knight, LLP – Orlando; Michael J. Chiusano, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; William J. Moore, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP;

Defendant:

Aaronson, Austin, P.A., doing business as Aaronson Law Firm, Austin N. Aaronson

Defendant’s counsel:

Austin Neil Aaronson. Aaronson, Austin, PA; Charles J. Meltz, Grower, Ketcham, Eide, Telan & Meltz, P.A.; George Ryan Dietrich, Grower, Ketcham, Eide, Telan & Meltz, P.A.

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