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Lowndes Secures Defense Verdict for Client in Million Dollar Commission Dispute Case

April 13, 2022

Lowndes recently secured a complete defense verdict in favor of an Orlando hotelier after a four-day jury trial in the Circuit Court of the Sixth Judicial Circuit in and for Pinellas County. The claim arose out of a brokerage commission dispute regarding the $20.5 million sale of a 200-room hotel near Walt Disney World.

The Lowndes team representing the hotel owner was led by shareholder James Toscano and included associate Michael Piccolo.


Broken contracts. Bad business practices. Stolen intellectual property. Personal and business catastrophes. These are among the most common disputes that trial attorney Jim Toscano handles, representing both individuals and companies.

Jim's extensive trial experience in high profile litigation has included:

  • defending an NBA team against reverse discrimination and defamation claims – a case that aired on Court TV when first tried and ultimately resulted in a defense verdict;
  • representing a group of prominent former NFL players in suing a Bank for negligence in allowing accounts to be opened based on forged signatures in Federal Court in Miami that settled mid-trial; and
  • successfully defending the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections in the aftermath of the controversial 2000 presidential election against claims of impropriety, a case which garnered national attention.

Jim has a significant track record as lead counsel in federal and state courts throughout Florida, including complex commercial business, real property and banking litigation, class actions, intellectual property litigation, and personal injury and wrongful death cases. Equally noteworthy is his representation of technology companies, helping them protect their intellectual property jewels—patents, trademarks and copyrights—through both preventive measures and, when necessary, litigation.

“My responsibility is to help individuals and companies solve their problems as effectively and as efficiently as possible. Sometimes the best action is to avoid court,” Jim acknowledges, “but the other side also needs to know that I am ready, willing and able to take the case to trial, if necessary, to achieve the best possible result for my client.” As a certified Circuit Court mediator, Jim has represented clients in numerous arbitrations and in hundreds of mediations.

As committed to community service as he is to his clients, Jim served an eight-year term as a member of the Board of Directors of the Second Harvest Food Bank, and has provides hundreds of hours of pro bono work, including not only legal assistance to Second Harvest, but also through serving as a Guardian Ad Litem for children in difficult family circumstances in need of legal representation. Taking on a community service leadership role at Lowndes, Jim orchestrates workplace campaigns to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, United Way, the Meredith Level Foundation/Endowment, and other community and civic organizations. In honor of Meredith, Jim and the firm do their “Level Best” to support the Orlando and Central Florida community, in part through an annual Community Service Day during which firm attorneys and employees volunteer a day of their time.

A huge sports fan, Jim has enjoyed his work with the Florida Citrus Sports Association, including serving on the Associate Board of Directors. Florida Citrus Sports is a not-for-profit membership organization that, through its College Football Bowl Games and other events, is dedicated to stimulating economic development and ultimately benefiting charities, educational institutions and the quality of life in Central Florida through its signature events.

Jim has also volunteered as a middle school basketball coach at St. James Cathedral School and as an Alumni interviewer for both Princeton and Duke.

Putting aside his well-known wit for a moment, Jim reflects on his many roles and activities. “Sometimes I am a trial lawyer; sometimes I am a negotiator. Sometimes I am a conciliatory voice of reason – other times, not so much. Regardless of my role, I am passionate about tackling my client’s – or my community’s – challenges head on, in whatever way is best for them.”


Michael Piccolo focuses his legal practice on complex litigation, civil litigation, commercial litigation, business litigation, intellectual property litigation, significant divorce cases, and probate and trust litigation.

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