Quinn Emanuel Faces Class Action in Florida

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Quinn Emanuel Faces Class Action in Florida
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan offices in Washington, D.C. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

In a high-stakes legal unfolding drama  in Florida, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP finds itself at the center of a proposed class action lawsuit. The case, which has captured widespread attention, involves Ranee Bartolacci, the spouse of a troubled luxury home developer, who is challenging over $360,000 in legal fees claimed by the firm.

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Quinn Emanuel Faces Class Action in Florida : Background of the Dispute

Ranee Bartolacci, whose husband Nir Meir faces serious charges including record falsification and investor fraud, asserts that she did not sign the fee agreement that Quinn Emanuel is enforcing. This agreement allegedly obligates her to pay substantial fees for legal services rendered in an eviction matter. Her complaint, lodged with a Florida state court on Wednesday, vehemently denies her involvement, citing her signature as a forgery.

The Ethical and Legal Questions

The heart of Bartolacci’s complaint is a bold challenge to the ethical standing of Quinn Emanuel’s fee agreements in Florida. She claims these contracts violate specific Florida Bar rules and therefore should be deemed null and void. Her filing calls for a declaratory judgment against the firm’s fee practices, particularly criticizing the arbitration clause which she argues is conspicuously understated, not meeting the required bold and capitalized presentation mandated by the bar.

Quinn Emanuel Faces Class Action in Florida : Personal and Legal Turmoil

Amidst ongoing divorce proceedings with Meir, who is currently incarcerated at Riker’s Island, Bartolacci contends with the legal fallout of her husband’s alleged misdeeds. She describes herself as largely uninformed of her husband’s business dealings, only becoming aware of his criminal investigations shortly before his arrest in February 2024. According to her statements, the distressing revelation came alongside discoveries of unauthorized financial activities carried out by Meir under her name.

Quinn Emanuel’s Legal Work and the Fee Controversy

Quinn Emanuel’s role involved legal representation in a residential eviction case linked to a property the couple once occupied in Miami-Dade County. Despite her claimed ignorance of the settlement’s specifics, Bartolacci cooperated with the process upon advice from her divorce attorney. However, she challenges the communication regarding the fee agreement and subsequent invoices, which she asserts were never properly presented to her.

Quinn Emanuel Faces Class Action in Florida : Escalation to Arbitration

Six months after resolving the eviction case, Bartolacci was stunned to receive a demand for over $360,000 in legal fees from Quinn Emanuel. The firm later initiated arbitration to recover these costs, a move Bartolacci’s counsel, Jeffrey D. Fisher, decries as unjust given the circumstances of her case and alleged forgery.

Quinn Emanuel Faces Class Action in Florida : Expert Testimonies and Legal Opinions

Supporting her motion to stay the arbitration, Bartolacci has enlisted the expertise of former Florida Bar presidents Gerald F. Richman and Gregory W. Coleman. Both legal professionals have provided affidavits affirming the non-enforceability of the arbitration clause due to its non-compliance with the state’s ethical guidelines.