Timeshare exit attorney Austin Aaronson prevailed in defense of lawsuit brought by timeshare developer Club Exploria after court granted his summary judgment motion. In affirming trial court’s dismissal of complaint, the 11th Circuit ruled that “the mere fact a person hires a lawyer to assist him with a disputed contractual obligation and then breaches that disputed contractual obligation is insufficient to establish that the lawyer intentionally procured the breach. This is especially true when, as in this case, the client testifies without contradiction that he or she breached the contract for reasons unrelated to the lawyer’s advice or representations.” Club Exploria agreed to pay Aaronsons attorney fees in the sum of $175,000 after the magistrate recommended an order enter granting Aaronson’s prevailing party fee motion.
Club Exploria asserted the following claims against Austin Aaronson and his law firm:
Case dismissed after judgment on summary judgment in favor of defendant timeshare cancellation attorney; affirmed on appeal; Club Exploria agreed to pay $175,000 in attorney fees after magistate judge granted attorney’s motion for prevailing party attorney fees under FDUTPA and Lanham Act.
Aaronson specializes in timeshare owner grievances against timeshare developers. Club Exploria asserted that Aaronson falsely advertises to 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 claim that Aaronson violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) at the pleading stage.
The court granted Aaronson’s motion for summary judgment on the remaining claims, finding that Club Exploria failed to present evidence that Aaronson instructed any timeshare owner to cease paying or caused them to believe they could cease paying on their timeshare obligations.
Regarding the devolper’s claim that Aaronson violation Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act (“FDUTPA”), the court found that Aaronson’s 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, on November 10, 2020, the court granted Aaronson’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the lawsuit, rendering Aaronson the prevailing party.
On March 25, 2022, after oral argument, the 11th Circuit issued an opinion in Case No. 21-11556 denying Club Exploria’s appeal of the order granting summary judgment on the the tortious interference claim: “Assuming without deciding that Florida law authorizes a tortious interference claim against a lawyer based on his advice to a client, the mere fact a person hires a lawyer to assist him with a disputed contractual obligation and then breaches that disputed contractual obligation is insufficient to establish that the lawyer intentionally procured the breach. This is especially true when, as in this case, the client testifies without contradiction that he or she breached the contract for reasons unrelated to the lawyer’s advice or representations.”
A magistrate judge recommended the court grant Aaronson’s motion for prevailing party attorney fees under the Lanham Act and FDUPTA.
Mar. 25, 2022 Opinion of 11th Cir. Affirming dismissal
March 8, 2022 Oral arguments on Club Exploria’s appeal
Nov. 10, 2020 Order [168, 169] dismissal after granting Club Exploria’s Motion for Summary Judgment
Oct 21, 2019 Order  granting M2D RICO, FL false advertising, decl relief
 Trans of Sept 13 2019 Cross M2C  Trans of Apr 25, 2019 hearing on D’s MPO re non-owners
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Club Exploria, LLC, Club Exploria Management, LLC formerly known as Summer Bay Management, L.C.
David E. Cannella, Holland & Knight, LLP – Orlando; Michael J. Chiusano, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; William J. Moore, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP;
Aaronson, Austin, P.A., doing business as Aaronson Law Firm, Austin N. Aaronson
Austin Neil Aaronson (pro se); Charles J. Meltz (Eide, Telan & Meltz, P.A.)
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