Monday, June 18, 2018
Business

St. Pete company sues Tampa law firm, seeking more than $60 million

A St. Petersburg company is suing a major law firm and one of its Tampa partners for alleged malpractice, claiming they bungled patent applications for a prosthetic liner and a device that heats shaving cream.

In separate lawsuits filed in federal and state court, ALPS South, LLC is seeking more than $60 million from Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick and an unspecified amount from the firm and attorney Ronald Christaldi.

Christaldi was closely involved in ALPS South's patent cases but was not among the 2.7 percent of U.S. lawyers considered "patent attorneys'' because of their training and experience, one of the lawsuit says.

Shumaker, Loop "did not recognize that lawyer Christaldi undertook to handle a specialized kind of work — application for a patent — for which he had no education or training or qualification or experience,'' the suit alleges.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: St. Petersburg prosthetics manufacturer endures decade-old patent fight

Christaldi, a prominent member of the firm and a former chairman and general counsel of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, referred calls for comment to Ohio-based Shumaker, Loop. The firm denies wrong-doing and has counter-sued ALPS South, claiming it owes the firm $2.64 million for legal fees and other costs.

"We have full faith in our partners and will continue to vigorously defend our firm," Julio Esquivel, managing partner of the Tampa office, said Tuesday. "We trust in our courts and are confident that the full story will be ultimately revealed. It is very disappointing that a long-standing client would react in this fashion to collection on a significant amount rightly owed to our firm."

According to a lawsuit filed July 24 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, Christaldi had for years represented ALPS South, which makes products including prosthetic liners and sleeves for artificial limbs. The suit says he had charged the company $8.5 million in legal fees by the time he announced he was thinking of joining Shumaker, Loop.

"He bragged that Shumaker was a big, national law firm with vast resources, superb I.T. capability and a big intellectual property department that would provide patent attorneys and staff resources to ALPS South from all of (Shumaker's) national offices," the suit says.

However, after Christaldi joined Shumaker, he and the firm missed the deadline for filing an international patent application on a device that heats shaving cream and cosmetics.

As a result, the patent protection for the device "is diminished in value and/or may be lost or invalidated in many foreign countries," the suit says. "The failure to file timely allowed competitors of ALPS South to freely commercialize (the device)."

In a separate malpractice suit filed July 7 in U.S. District Court in Tampa, ALPS South is suing Shumaker, Loop over its handling of the company's case against a competitor accused of infringing on patents for prosthetic liners and sleeves.

The suit stems from a 2012 trial in which ALPS South ultimately was awarded more than $15-million, but that was overturned on appeal.

Contact Susan Taylor Martin at [email protected] or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate

Comments
Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

Private Florida firm buys Rent-A-Center in $1 billion deal

An Orlando private equity firm has purchased lease-to-own business Rent-A-Center in a deal valued at more than $1 billion.Vintage Capital Management put a bid in for the company on Friday: $15 per share, $1 per share above its previous offer. Rent-A-...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

Report: 40 percent of Florida property will be ‘highly exposed’ to flooding

One of Florida’s biggest draws is also one if its biggest liabilities — its coastline. A new report projects that Florida is at the greatest risk of any state for tidal flooding caused by rising sea levels. And Tampa Bay faces some of the greatest ri...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

Mazzaro’s gets ready to reopen

day after an electrical fire broke out in its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Ave. N, said staffers spent Monday and the weekend moving things into other warehouses.The damage from the fire at ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

Mazzaro’s market set to reopen Tuesday after blaze damaged one of its warehouses

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market is scheduled to reopen Tuesday after an electrical fire broke out its dry goods warehouse Friday night.Dominic Horwath, a grocery manager at Mazzaro’s on 22nd Avenue N said staff spent Monday and the weekend...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

Developer Grady Pridgen buys St. Pete’s shuttered Edward White Hospital

ST. PETERSBURG — Edward White Hospital, closed four years ago because of declining revenues, has been sold to developer Grady Pridgen for $2.7 million.Pridgen could not be reached Monday for comment. City officials said he has submitted plans for rem...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Hernando Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITAL RECEIVES AWARD: Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill was the recipient of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals that have prevented the occurrence...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Pasco Business Digest for June 22

Business digestBrieflyHOSPITALS RECEIVE AWARD: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point and Medical Center of Trinity were recipients of Healthgrades 2018 Patient Safety Excellence Award, a designation that recognizes superior performance of hospitals t...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

Tampa Bay gas prices keep falling

The summer reprieve in gas prices is continuing.After flirting near the $3 mark, Tampa Bay gas prices fell another six cents a gallon over the past week to an average of $2.65 for unleaded, a wide gap with the national average of $2.91 a gallon, acco...
Published: 06/18/18
Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

Your barista is a robot. Should it be friendly?

SAN FRANCISCO - The cold, steely arm of Fernando the Barista swirled the foam of my matcha latte, set it down gently, and waved goodbye from inside a glass case. San Francisco, 2018. Where you can get robot pizza and robot salad, and now, a robot mat...
Published: 06/16/18
Riverview’s commercial real estate prices rise as community booms

Riverview’s commercial real estate prices rise as community booms

RIVERVIEW — The basic economic principle of supply and demand defines Riverview’s current struggle with commercial real estate.With a lack of available affordable commercial properties and a booming population, demand currently exceeds supply in Rive...
Published: 06/15/18
Updated: 06/18/18