Mr. Vernon handles the litigation and arbitration of complex business and financial disputes, with an emphasis on securities fraud and securities arbitration, throughout the United States. He has also testified as an expert on investment matters as well as matters relating to FINRA arbitration. He currently holds an AV rating by Martindale-Hubbell (which is the highest peer review rating available to an attorney) and has been repeatedly recognized by Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2014) and The Best Lawyers in America (2009-2014) in multiple categories (Commercial Litigation, Securities/Capital Markets Law, and Bet-the-Company Litigation).
BAR ADMISSIONS: Florida
COURT ADMISSIONS: United States Supreme Court United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Private practice in Naples and Orlando, Florida Prosecution intern, Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office
EDUCATION: Law: J.D., Stetson University College of Law Undergraduate: B.S., cum laude, Finance, Florida State University
PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES AND AWARDS (Past and Present): Twentieth Judicial Circuit Nominating Commission (Gubernatorial Appointment) Thomas S. Biggs American Inns of Court (President) Collier County Bar Trial Lawyers Section (Board of Directors) National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawywers) Continuing Education for board certified trust and estate and business litigation lawyers throughout the state of Florida (Instructor) Continuing Education for CPAs, CFPs, and CFAs throughout Florida (Instructor) American Association for Justice (Speaker) Unlicensed Practice of Law Standing Committee for the Florida Bar (Vice Chair) Stetson College of Law Alumni Association (Executive Council and Board of Directors) Stetson College of Law: Scholarship recipient; Outstanding Alumni Award Stetson Law Review Advanced Arbitrator Training for FINRA (Instructor) Mr. Vernon is or has been qualified as an arbitrator for American Arbitration Association (AAA), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) (formerly, NASD and NYSE), National Futures Association (NFA), and approved arbitrator for the 20th Judicial Circuit of Florida
CIVIC AND COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS AND ACTIVITIES (Past and Present):
Florida SouthWestern State College District Board of Trustees (Chairman of the Board) (Gubernatorial Appointment) Florida SouthWestern State College Financing Corporation (Board of Directors) Florida SouthWestern State College Foundation (Board of Directors and Finance Committee) Education Foundation of Collier County (Member, Board Emeritus Council; Endowment Committee; Chairman of the Board) Collier County ID Theft Task Force Leadership Collier Foundation (Vice Chair Alliances, Board of Directors) The Partnership for Collier’s Future Economy (Board of Directors) United Arts Council of Collier County (Board of Directors) Innovation Group, Collier County Sheriff and Collier County Clerk of Courts (Advisory Board)
PUBLICATIONS AND APPEARANCES:
Mr. Vernon has made numerous television, radio, and speaking appearances regarding financial issues and has been quoted in national, state, and local publications. He has also authored articles on financial issues in the law. His speaking appearances include the national conventions of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association (PIABA), as well as continuing education for CPAs, CFAs, trust and estate attorneys, and business litigators both in the United States and in the Cayman Islands. Mr. Vernon has also provided training for the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.
HIGH-PROFILE AND NOTEWORTHY CASES INCLUDE:
A precedent-setting favorable ruling before the Florida Supreme Court in which Mr. Vernon helped lower a legal hurdle for investors who want to pursue their claims in court versus the mandatory arbitration system required by most brokerage firms. The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. Vernon’s client.
Arbitration claims nationwide relating to the marketing, recommendation and sale of structured notes to UBS customers. The structured note investors we represented had a total of more than $10 million of claims against UBS.
A case in which he secured a multi-million dollar arbitration award against one of the world’s largest financial institutions on behalf of a Florida retiree. Press coverage recognized the award as one of the top 20 largest awards in the history of securities arbitration in Florida. Later, the failure of the industry to note the award on the offending broker’s public report card, or CRD, was cited by the press as a glaring loophole in the regulatory disclosure system that’s supposed to alert investors to black marks in a broker’s background.
His successful representation of many investors swindled in the Maricopa hedge fund scheme in which investors around the country lost close to $60 million. The architect of the scheme, David Mobley, was later convicted of federal fraud and money laundering charges and sentenced to serve 17 years in federal prison.