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Ellen Koehler Lyons

Ellen Koehler Lyons

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Overview

Ellen Lyons focuses her practice on accountants’ liability, banking and lending, consumer finance matters, representing online businesses, and consulting regarding offers of judgment. She has particular experience with offers of judgment/proposals for settlement made under Florida or federal law.

Ellen has tried breach of contract, negligence, unfair and deceptive trade practices, trade secret, embezzlement, and fraud cases. She has arbitrated rescission, breach of contract, and fraud cases. She litigates cases involving regulations such as the AICPA Code of Professional Conduct, GAAS, GAAP, and banking laws including FDCPA, TCPA, UDAAP, FCRA, TILA, and RESPA. She recently litigated extensive issues regarding Regulation X of RESPA. Ellen has also handled hedge fund litigation and securities matters.

She has more than two decades of experience helping businesses achieve their goals. Her efforts range from proactive needs assessment to strategic litigation. Ellen handles matters from inception to resolution, and efficiently manages teams in large, bet-the-company cases.

Ellen recently represented an online company facing a manufacturer’s Lanham Act claim. The client’s counterclaim for tortious interference with advantageous business relationships resulted in discovery to substantiate the client’s claim, and a negotiated deal that reinstated the client’s ability to sell genuine manufactured goods with favored status and pricing.

She has written numerous articles on offers of judgment, proposals for settlement, and banking regulations and practices. As general counsel of The Alpha House in Tampa, a safe home for homeless pregnant women and mothers with young children, Ellen works closely with the board to achieve fast, cost-efficient results.

Ellen Lyons Unlocks a Successful Resolution

When a major manufacturer of gate openers and accessories cut off sales to an online reseller without warning, the reseller turned to Carlton Fields for relief. The manufacturer not only refused to sell its electric gate openers to our reseller client, it also altered its products’ warranties so it could claim the products our client sold were not genuine, even though they were, in fact, made by the manufacturer. The manufacturer instructed other companies to stop selling to our client as well, forcing them to buy from others to continue representing that they sold all major brands.

The manufacturer then brought a Lanham Act claim against our client. The client counterclaimed for tortious interference with advantageous business relationships. Ellen pursued discovery to substantiate the client’s claim that the products they sold were indeed genuine. Attempts to initiate an early mediation were rebuffed until the discovery of a smoking gun document, an email from the manufacturer to one of its distributors, that also is a retailer, demanding they refuse to sell to our client.

This case had the potential to harm the client significantly, with estimated loss of revenue in the millions.  A judgment of no liability was not enough – our client needed a business solution. Ellen negotiated a deal that not only allowed the client to sell genuine manufactured goods, but also gave the client favored status as a reseller of the products, with favorable pricing.

Experience

Banking and Real Estate

  • Represented real estate developers in arbitrations involving allegations of fraud and negligent misrepresentation, and involving claims of rescission.
  • Represented national banks in TILA, rescission, collections practices and other federal and state causes of action.
  • Represented national bank in connection with litigation involving mortgages and home equity lines, including “straw man” borrower cases.

Accountants Liability

  • Represented auditors in multiple matters involving litigation resulting from failed acquisitions and earn-outs.
  • Represented auditors in shareholder litigation involving side agreements and impairment charges.
  • Represented auditors in cases of alleged failure to discover fraud or embezzlement.
  • Represented financial advisor in deepening insolvency claim arising out of alleged looting and self dealing by corporate officers at a large bond-holder financed company.
  • Represented Accredited Business Accountant in RICO action.
  • Represented multiple CPAs in administrative complaints before the Florida Board of Accountancy.

General Litigation

  • Represented corporation accused of theft of trade secrets, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty in two week jury trial. 
  • Defended state agency in federal court, for alleged due process, equal protection and state law conspiracy violations. 
  • Represented publicly held utility in three-week trial arising out of administration of $60 million power purchase agreement.
  • Represented independent contractor during two-week jury trial in a cause of action for bad faith breach of contract. 

Representative Cases

  • NCP Lake Power v. Florida Power Corporation, 781 So. 2d 531 (Fla. 5th DCA 2001).
  • O’Halloran v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, 969 So. 2d 1039 (Fla. 2d DCA 2007).

Recognition

  • AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite (2016-2018)
  • Tampa Bay’s Best Lawyers (2010)
  • Rotary International Scholar
  • American Legion Oratorical Scholar
  • University of Florida Outstanding Student
  • Savant Leadership Organization
  • The Tampa Connection Program

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Alpha House of Tampa, General Counsel
  • University of Tampa 
    • Board of Trustees (2006-2007) 
    • Board of Counselors, Chairman (2006-2007) 
    • Board of Trustees Educational Affairs Committee (2001-2008)
  • Tampa Museum of Science and Industry 
    • MOSI CIRQLE Council
  • United Way of Tampa Bay 
    • Keel Club 
    • UW Women's Leadership
  • American Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar 
    • ​Thirteenth Circuit Grievance Committee (2003-2006)
  • Leadership Tampa Class (2006)

Speaking Engagements

  • "Bankruptcy and Beyond: Offers of Judgment in State and Federal Courts," Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association, Tampa, FL (October 17, 2017)
  • "Offers of Judgment in State and Federal Courts," Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association (September 9, 2008)
  • "Offers of Judgment in State and Federal Courts," Bankruptcy and UCC Committee, The Florida Bar Business Law Section (January 17, 2008)
  • "Proposals for Settlement - How to draft ones that stick and how to deal with them when they land on your desk," FDLA 10th Annual Florida Liability Claims Conference (June 1, 2006)
  • "Trends in Auditor Liability" (September 2004)
  • "Understanding Offers of Judgment," CLE Program (March 2005)

Credentials

Education
  • University of Florida College of Law (J.D., with honors, 1995)
  • University of Wales (MBA, 1992)
  • University of Florida (B.A., 1991)
Bar Admissions
  • Florida
Court Admissions
  • United States Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • Florida State Courts

Videos

In this video, Ellen discusses the Florida Supreme Court's decision concerning offers of judgment and contractual choice-of-law provisions in Southeast Floating Docks, Inc. v. Auto-Owners Insurance Company, ___ So.3d ___, No. SC11-285, 2012 WL 301029 (Feb. 2, 2012).

Disclaimer

The information on this website is presented as a service for our clients and Internet users and is not intended to be legal advice, nor should you consider it as such. Although we welcome your inquiries, please keep in mind that merely contacting us will not establish an attorney-client relationship between us. Consequently, you should not convey any confidential information to us until a formal attorney-client relationship has been established. Please remember that electronic correspondence on the internet is not secure and that you should not include sensitive or confidential information in messages. With that in mind, we look forward to hearing from you.