Bilzin Sumberg Secures $19.5 Million Victory in Fraud Trial

Press Release
May 10, 2024

Miami, FL – Bilzin Sumberg is pleased to announce Trial & Litigation Partners Scott Wagner and Shalia Sakona, with co-counsel David Jonelis and Kelsey Leeker of Lavely & Singer in Los Angeles, secured a $19.5 million verdict on behalf of their client, film industry investor Robert Harris, in a Federal civil suit brought in the Southern District of Florida.1 

The suit stemmed from allegations that an international movie producer and his production company defrauded plaintiff Robert Harris. Bilzin Sumberg’s client alleged that the producer fraudulently induced him to invest in a series of film and reality TV projects based on false premises. Ultimately, the jury found in favor of Mr. Harris, awarding $6.5 million in compensatory damages and $13 million in punitive damages.

A veteran litigator of high-stakes disputes, Scott maintains a thriving antitrust and complex litigation practice. Last year, Scott secured a $267 million jury verdict for Avnet, Inc. in the Capacitors Price-Fixing Litigation. Scott’s international practice includes representing electronics distributors and manufacturers, as well as food and beverage companies, throughout the world on competition and antitrust issues. He is consistently recognized by leading publications such as Chambers USA, Benchmark Litigation, Florida Super Lawyers, and South Florida Legal Guide. He was recently named to Lawdragon’s 500 Leading Litigators in America.

Shalia’s practice spans a broad array of complex and high-stakes commercial litigation matters, including class action defense, antitrust price-fixing cases, financial services and securities litigation, business torts, corporate governance, partnership disputes, real property and land use disputes, and other contract and indemnification matters. She is known for her excellence in written advocacy, having secured dismissals, summary judgments and appellate victories at both the state and federal levels, including based on novel theories of statutory construction and contract interpretation. Shalia is consistently recognized by leading publications like Florida Super Lawyers and Daily Business Review.

Bilzin Sumberg’s successful representation follows other large recent victories for the Bilzin Sumberg Trial & Litigation Group. In addition to the 2023 verdict on behalf of Avnet, the firm also obtained summary judgment on behalf of a major automotive manufacturer in a high-stakes dealer termination case, as well as dismissal with prejudice of two putative class actions brought against the directors of a publicly traded regional bank and a national engineering firm, respectively, which sought damages in the tens or hundreds of millions of dollars. Other recent notable case victories include the successful defense of state and federal lawsuits that sought to enjoin the inaugural Formula 1 Miami Grand Prix, as well as winning and preserving on appeal a multi-million dollar jury verdict on behalf of global toy manufacturer Just Play against its third-party logistics provider.

About Bilzin Sumberg 
Bilzin Sumberg counsels clients whose business and legal opportunities and challenges span the United States, Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. The firm's growth has paralleled that of its Miami home base, a region known for its rich cultural, social, and professional diversity. Bilzin Sumberg stands at the center of virtually every major transaction shaping Florida and is at the forefront of the state’s most pressing economic issues – from infrastructure, transit and mobility, to affordability and the diversification of the state’s economy. Bilzin Sumberg lawyers concentrate on services at the heart of both regional and international commerce, including real estate, land development and government relations, environmental, construction, corporate and securities, finance, joint ventures, domestic and international tax and private wealth planning, antitrust, business litigation, and public-private partnerships. For more information, please visit bilzin.com.

[1] Robert Scot Building Venture LLC et al v. Creative Wealth Media Finance Corp et al

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