All too often, high-profile athletes and other celebrities are targeted for blackmail or extortion that can cause them untold harm. A lawsuit resolved in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Fla., last week in favor of former NFL player Warren Sapp highlighted the distress caused when he was forced to defend himself against false accusations made more than five years ago.
“We are proud that we diligently represented Warren Sapp against Plaintiff Paula Trickey and her lawyer, John M. Phillips, who decided to fabricate a story in a failed attempt to collect a few thousand dollars from him,” says Jesmany Jomarron, Esq., Managing Partner of Farrell Patel Jomarron & Lopez. “Not only was the case dismissed, but sanctions also were granted against her attorney because the Court found he knew or should have known the claims against Mr. Sapp were frivolous.”
The case dates back to an ESPN Super Bowl Party in Scottsdale, Ariz., on January 30, 2015, and a complaint filed by Paula Trickey, who was a guest at the party, against Warren Sapp claiming negligence and battery. She said an intoxicated Sapp was asked to leave by security and as he ran through a crowded room he “struck her with his body” causing her to hit the floor, causing “severe bodily injuries.” Sapp maintained his innocence in the case from the beginning, saying via Twitter feed that he was at another private event where he was scheduled to introduce Pitbull: “It’s impossible to be @ 2 places at 1 time.” Sapp later provided Plaintiff’s counsel with an affidavit and photographs of himself at the JBL Super Bowl Party and other proof.
Complex litigation followed over the next few years culminating in filing a Motion for Sanctions in February 2020. It was noted that neither Paula Trickey nor her counsel withdrew or appropriately corrected the challenged claim that Warren Sapp struck her at an ESPN Super Bowl Party, because Warren Sapp never attended the event. In June, the Court granted Sapp’s Motion for Summary Judgment and awarded him sanctions to be paid 100% by Trickey’s lawyer finding a complete lack of legal support for Trickey’s allegations.
The Court made the following findings of fact: Paula Trickey testified she did not know who hit her and never saw Warren Sapp at the at the ESPN Super Bowl Party; Paula Trickey’s only witness, Mr. Reed, testified he did not know who hit Paula Trickey and never saw Warren Sapp at the ESPN Super Bowl Party, recanting prior statements to the contrary; Paula Trickey never testified that Warren Sapp ran through a crowded room and pushed and shoved others, and Plaintiff’s counsel failed to produce anyone from the crowded room or anyone Warren Sapp allegedly pushed or shoved.
The Motion for Sanctions stated, “Warren Sapp is entitled to a reasonable attorney’s fee, including prejudgment interest, to be paid by Plaintiff’s counsel.” FPJL’s associate attorney, Octavio A. Mella, added, “Their lawyer will be required to make Warren Sapp whole, which includes the cost of litigation and attorneys’ fees.”
The nightmare has ended for Warren Sapp, who can now look back on the public shaming he suffered as his name was dragged through the mud in the media and online. The litigation, considered without any legal merit, cost him a significant amount to defend and affected engagements he would typically have been booked for.
For trial attorneys Farrell Patel Jomarron & Lopez, the successful resolution of this case adds to their long list of victories in civil disputes. They have represented many other professional athletes, most notably the players with brain injuries in the important NFL concussion case.
“Our firm prides itself on our strength as aggressive litigation attorneys with the keen legal knowledge and acumen that helps us win difficult cases for our clients,” says Ricky Patel, Esq., Senior Partner, “We don’t believe in just winning a case but believe in sending a message to those who wish to act improperly. We will not just beat the opposition, we will annihilate them.”
ABOUT FARRELL PATEL JOMARRON & LOPEZ
Farrell Patel Jomarron & Lopez (FPJL) is a top-ranking litigation firm headquartered in Miami, Florida, with satellite offices in Tampa, Houston, and Puerto Rico. Founded in 2009, the firm has represented thousands of clients nationwide in matters related to complex property litigation, class actions, commercial litigation, asset protection, and personal injury law. FPJL lawyers have been recognized by Super Lawyers, America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators, The National Top 100 Trial Lawyers, and Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent. For more information, visit https://justice360.com.