Lawyer's Lawsuit Against Costa Rican Attorneys, Former Investors Can Go Forward

, Daily Business Review

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Third District Court of Appeal
Third District Court of Appeal

A Miami lawyer's lawsuit against two Costa Rican attorneys and his former investors can go forward in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, an appellate court ruled Wednesday.

The Third District Court of Appeal ruled state courts had jurisdiction in the lawsuit filed by Craig A. Brand, affirming a ruling by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Thornton.

The lawsuit stems from fraud allegation by investors and attorneys with the law firm Facio & Cañas that sparked a criminal investigation of Brand in Costa Rica.

Brand, who was living in Costa Rica, was not allowed to leave the Central American country while the investigation was ongoing.

The defendants, some of whom reside in Miami-Dade County, alleged in a separate Costa Rican lawsuit that Brand coerced them to invest in his businesses there. Brand claims investors, in an attempt to recoup their investments, hired Costa Rican lawyers Federico Torrealba Navas and Gianna Cersosimo to file a public criminal investigation against Brand.

Brand alleges the investigation caused suppliers to deny him credit, and his pharmaceutical business was forced to close.

Torrealba and Cersosimo asked Thornton to dismiss the lawsuit on forum grounds, arguing Brand's lawsuit should have been filed in Costa Rica.

The appellate panel—Chief Judge Frank A. Shepherd and Judges Linda Ann Wells and Richard J. Suarez—found the Costa Rican attorneys didn't seem to be hampered by travel, noting Torrealba flew to Florida to meet with their clients at least once.

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