Cantrell PLLC Successfully Defends Suit by Website Closers Against Local Entrepreneur for Contract Claim
In early 2018, Cantrell PLLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of a Tampa-based entrepreneur who purchased an e-commerce business through the help of a broker, Website Closers. The lawsuit alleged that Website Closers, through its agent Tom Howard, made numerous fraudulent misrepresentations (among other alleged unlawful actions) in connection with the sale of an e-commerce business. The lawsuit sought over $2 million dollars for the fraud alleged against Website Closers and Tom Howard.
Website Closers is a Tampa-based e-commerce broker, founded and run by Jason Guerrettaz and Ron Matheson.
The lawsuit was subsequently moved to arbitration. In November 2018, the law firm of Cole, Scott & Kissane, representing Website Closers and Tom Howard, filed a suit against the entrepreneur for contractual indemnity. The suit was based on a “Disclaimer of Broker Liability & Agreement to Arbitrate Disputes,” which Website Closers purportedly had its clients sign. Website Closers and Tom Howard argued that the agreement required the entrepreneur to pay for their attorneys’ fees. The agreement, however, indicated that it only applied to a sofa and concrete business, not the business purchased by the entrepreneur. For that reason and other reasons, Cantrell PLLC filed a motion for summary judgement to dismiss the contractual indemnity claim. The motion was granted. The result means that the only remaining claims for arbitration are the entrepreneurs claims, including those against Website Closers and Tom Howard for fraud. It also means that for any Website Closer clients who signed the same agreement, such agreement may not apply to them either.