Peter A. González
Pedro "Peter" A. González is a founding partner of SMGQ, whose litigation practice covers a wide-range of areas such as business and real estate litigation, fraud-based claims, contractual disputes, corporation, partnership and joint venture disputes, shareholder disputes, non-compete agreements, commercial mortgage foreclosure actions, commercial landlord-tenant disputes, family law matters, and criminal defense with particular emphasis on representation of foreigners in U.S. courts. Mr. González also handles cases involving medical malpractice, and catastrophic personal injuries or death caused by the negligence of individuals, businesses or government entities.
Mr. González also represents and advises clients on transactional matters including real estate transactions, asset purchase transactions, non-compete agreements, contracts involving the sale and purchase of fine art and entertainment industry-related matters. He has represented domestic and foreign clients in the negotiation, contract, sale and closing of several of the highest priced luxury waterfront residential properties in South Florida. Mr. Gonzalez's clients range from large corporations, local and regional small to mid-size companies, and other businesses, families and individuals in South Florida, and from Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C., Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Italy, the United Kingdom and other areas of the world.
Mr. González began his career with a boutique Miami firm established by former members of New York-based Kelley Drye & Warren. He then worked with the Miami office of Florida-based Walton Lantaff Schroeder & Carson until 1997, one of the ten largest firms in Florida at the time, where he concentrated his practice in the areas of general commercial litigation, insurance defense and real estate matters. Thereafter, he started and successfully managed his own law firm, González & Associates, P.A., for ten years until forming SMGQ as a founding partner over a decade ago on January 1, 2007.
Mr. González is admitted to practice law in all Florida state courts, as well as the U.S. District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court. He has also been admitted pro hac vice to practice law in courts in New York and California. Mr. González was born in Hartford, Connecticut and has primarily resided in Miami, Florida since 1971.
REPRESENTATIVE TRIALS & LITIGATION
Represented Avior Airlines C.A. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida in a class action lawsuit filed by five South Florida law firms on behalf of plaintiffs seeking well over $20 million against Avior, a private commercial Venezuelan airline with flights between Miami and Venezuela. The class action lawsuit alleged a breach of contract claim over an $80 “exit fee” which plaintiffs claimed had been wrongfully charged to tens of thousands of passengers that travelled from Miami International Airport to Venezuela on Avior flights over a period of at least five years. After nearly two years of litigation, the court agreed with arguments advanced by Peter A. Gonzalez and James Kellner that sought to dismiss the entire lawsuit, with prejudice. On February 15, 2019, U.S. Magistrate Judge Lauren Louis issued an 11-page Report and Recommendation recommending dismissal of plaintiffs’ breach of contract case, with prejudice, and on March 8, 2019, U.S. District Court Judge Federico A. Moreno agreed with and adopted Magistrate Judge Louis’ Report and Recommendation, and entered an order dismissing plaintiffs’ class action with prejudice. Mr. Gonzalez presented all oral arguments at all hearings on behalf of the airline.
Represented Venezuelan model Shannon De Lima in her divorce from singer, actor and record producer Marc Anthony. Mr. Gonzalez led the SMGQ team that initiated the dissolution of the marriage, negotiated a confidential settlement agreement in favor of Ms. De Lima resolving disputes between her and her former spouse, worked together with Marc Anthony’s counsel in the preparation and filing of the divorce proceedings, and the court’s entry of the final judgment for dissolution of the marriage.
Represented a Miami-based healthcare insurance provider doing business worldwide in the defense of a 5-count lawsuit seeking to reinstate a cancelled insurance policy and pursuing damages of over $6 million. Mr. Gonzalez defended the lawsuit and pursued counterclaims for declaratory relief and rescission of the insurance policy. Before trial, Mr. Gonzalez sought dismissal of all of plaintiffs’ claims and summary final judgment in favor of the insurer’s counterclaims. The trial court agreed with Mr. Gonzalez’s arguments and entered final summary judgment in favor of the insurer. Plaintiffs then filed an appeal of the trial court’s final summary judgment to the Third District Court of Appeal, which was dismissed. After over five years of litigation, all of plaintiffs’ claims were defeated, Mr. Gonzalez’s client prevailed on all of its counterclaims, and plaintiffs’ multi-million dollar claims resulted in zero recovery.
- Successfully defended two Los Angeles-based businessmen sued by a Beverly Hills joint venture partner in connection with various real estate investment and development projects in the republic of Panama. After two years of litigation against the plaintiffs represented by California-based Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP, and two other Los Angeles firms, and a lengthy arbitration hearing held in Los Angeles which lasted over the course of nearly four months, six of the claims asserted against Mr. Gonzalez’s clients were defeated resulting in no recovery for the plaintiff on such claims. The damages awarded by the arbitrator on the remaining claims were less than 20% of the damages originally sought by plaintiff. Mr. Gonzalez’s clients maintained ownership and control of all of the Panama real estate projects in dispute, and successfully defeated a large attorneys’ fees claim leaving the opposing litigant with zero recovery for professional fees and expenses.
Represented real estate developer against a New York investment group in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York over the alleged breach of an agreement entitling the investor to ownership of developer's entities owning over 4,000 acres of Florida property worth over $300 million. The NYC litigation related to other commercial real estate and foreclosure disputes pending in various Florida state courts involving over $70 million in loans. Mr. González was lead counsel for all Florida litigation. Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher was co-counsel for the New York litigation, which was favorably settled on the eve of trial, with Mr. Gonzalez's client maintaining ownership and control of two real estate projects and avoiding payment of $50 million of alleged damages to the New York investor.
Representation of a South Florida developer sued by former employee claiming a 50% joint venture partnership interest under an agreement to develop condominium conversion projects purchased for over $34 million. After nearly three years of litigation, including defeating plaintiff's efforts to disqualify Mr. González as the developer's chosen counsel, Mr. González successfully defended the developer and its affiliated entities from seven contractual and fraud-based claims through jury trial. Most of plaintiff's claims were dismissed by the court pursuant to motions filed by the conclusion of trial, and the jury rejected plaintiff's main multi-million dollar claim and found in favor of the developer's counterclaim for breach of employment contract.
- Representation of a child and her parents in their claims against two physicians, a hospital and a nurse, arising from a shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injury to the child at birth allegedly caused by the negligence of the defendant medical professionals. On the first day of trial a global settlement was reached with all defendants resulting in a structured settlement yielding several millions of dollars for the benefit of the child, separate and apart from attorneys' fees earned and collected by Mr. González and his partner Gustavo D. Lage.
- Representation of a husband and wife sued in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida for civil and criminal usury and fraud-based claims arising out of a promissory note, and pledge and security agreement, that plaintiff attempted to invalidate. Successfully managed to have the entire case dismissed, with prejudice, by U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Seitz, and obtained the entry of a final judgment imposing monetary sanctions against plaintiff and plaintiff's counsel for bad faith litigation.
- Representation of a Florida partnership in the real estate development business involved in a dispute with the principal of one of the partners who recorded fraudulent and improper claims of lien and lis pendens against the partnership's property which unlawfully clouded title to the property. The case was litigated through trial and a verdict in favor of our client of $6.7 million was rendered by the court, which included punitive damages pursuant to Florida Statutes, Chapter 713. Successfully obtained a separate final judgment for significant monetary sanctions against opposing litigant and his counsel, jointly and severally, for bad faith litigation.
- Representation of the husband and children of a woman killed in an accident involving a county bus in a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County for negligence and wrongful death. Successfully settled the case in an amount in excess of the sovereign immunity statutory cap on damages available to Florida government entities such as Miami-Dade County.
OTHER TRANSACTIONAL MATTERS
- Representation of a luxury home developer in the acquisition, construction and development, sale and closing of a Miami Beach luxury waterfront residence, which at the time of closing represented one of the highest residential sales prices in the history of Miami-Dade County.
- Representation of a client in the negotiation and contract for sale of an Old Master work of art valued at $150 million.
- Representation of property owner involved in the entertainment industry in the acquisition of commercial property involving new acquisition financing, refinancing of existing $9.7 million loan collateralized with other adjacent properties, and renewal and modification of various loan and mortgage instruments for property valued at over $20 million. As part of the transaction, Mr. González assisted in the replatting of four distinct commercial properties into one contiguous parcel of land.
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS & CIVIC ACTIVITIES
- The Florida Bar
- Cuban American Bar Association, Member
- Dade County Bar Association, Member
- Old Republic National Title Insurance Company, Member Agent
- Entertainment, Arts and Sports Law Section of The Florida Bar, Member
- Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar, Member
- Trial Lawyers Section of The Florida Bar, Member
- Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), Member
- Knights of Columbus, Third Degree Knight
- Selected by South Florida Legal Guide Top Lawyers® in 2014
CUBA PRACTICE GROUP
- Mr. González heads the Firm's Cuba Practice Group, which closely monitors changes in U.S. and Cuba policy, studies new legislation and keeps track of amendments to existing laws that impact U.S.-Cuba relations. The Firm advises clients in various areas of interest to American companies, Cuban-Americans and others looking for professional guidance on Cuba-related legal issues, including strategic planning and positioning for success when U.S.-Cuba relations are normalized.
- In the early 1990s, Mr. González was the Washington Intern for Freedom House, a non-profit, non-partisan human rights organization founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendell Willkie and other Americans concerned with the mounting threats to peace and democracy posed by Nazi Germany. He engaged in research on human rights conditions in Cuba, participated in a joint campaign with members of the United States Congress for the release of dissidents imprisoned by Cuban governmental authorities, and was part of a team that worked on press conferences, congressional committee hearings and the United Nations Human Rights Commission meetings in Geneva, Switzerland. Over the past two decades, Mr. González has participated in numerous conferences in New York, Washington, D.C. and Miami on a wide range of Cuba-related issues. Mr. González is a member of the Association for the Study of the Cuban Economy (ASCE), a non-profit and non-political professional organization with the primary mission of studying the elements and processes involved in a transition to democracy and a free market economy, with particular emphasis on the financial, economic, social, legal and environmental issues.