Mr. Vernon handles the litigation and arbitration of complex business and financial disputes throughout Southwest Florida, including contract, construction, probate, and real estate disputes. Mr. Vernon’s national practice encompasses the representation of investors in all manner of securities disputes throughout the United States. He is “AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated” by Martindale-Hubbell®, the highest rating an attorney can receive for their professional ethics and legal ability by their peers and the judiciary. Mr. Vernon has also been repeatedly recognized by Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2022) and The Best Lawyers in America (2009-2024) in multiple categories (Commercial Litigation, Securities/Capital Markets Law, and Bet-the-Company Litigation). He has also testified as an expert on investment matters as well as matters relating to FINRA arbitration. Submit an inquiry for Chris to be an expert witness for your case here!
- United States Supreme Court
- United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
- U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- Private practice in Naples and Orlando, Florida
- Prosecution intern, Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office
- Law: J.D., Stetson University College of Law
- Undergraduate: B.S., cum laude, Finance, Florida State University
High-Profile and Noteworthy Cases:
- A precedent-setting favorable ruling for our client before the Florida Supreme Court which 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.
- 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 $13 million of claims against UBS.
- Pre-filing demand to protect the interests of minority investors. Results were achieved without the need to file a formal complaint.
- 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.
- A case in which a multi-million dollar arbitration award was secured 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.
- Civil court case alleging fraud and mismanagement of land trusts. Claims were brought on behalf of the land trust beneficiaries and the successor trustee against the former trustee.
- Pre-filing demand to protect a small business owner from theft of trade secrets by a competitor. No formal complaint was required to be filed.
- Litigation pursuant to Florida’s Complex Case Rule involving investors victimized by the operator of a Jackson Hewitt franchise. Clients included an athlete recruited out of high school by a major league team, who lost his signing bonus in this scam.
- Representation of small business owners who were victims of investment programs and employee benefit programs that turned out to be unlawful tax shelters, leaving them with not only the loss of their investments but also IRS audits, bills for unpaid taxes and penalties.
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. In addition, Mr. Vernon has been retained and has testified as an expert on investment issues.