Disgraced Pharmacist And Convicted Drug Trafficker Julius Seiler And His Attorney Terrorize 47 South Florida Businesses
Convicted drug trafficker Julius Seiler and his lawyers have had a busy three months filing Americans with Disabilities Act lawsuits.
Seiler’s lawyers Marc D. Cohen and Jessica Kerr from J&M Advocacy Group have filed 47 lawsuits since February 1st. Seiler alleges businesses in and around Broward County discriminated against him under the ADA.
Marc Cohen is one of Florida’s most prolific serial filers of bogus ADA lawsuits. He and his law firm have filed almost 900 ADA suits against Florida businesses in the past 3 years. Cohen also appears to be proud of the fact that 90% of the businesses he sues settle out of court. As a result of Cohen’s success, businesses would rather settle than spending tens of thousands of dollars on litigation to fight him.
Plaintiff attorneys get paid as part of an ADA settlement. Consequently, this is how Cohen and other serial ADA filers make their money.
Key West attorney Darren Horan has represented clients against Cohen’s ADA lawsuits and has advised many of his clients to settle the suits:
“We all know this guy, the plaintiff, didn’t set foot on all these properties. But to get through the litigation, to put that guy on the stand, you’re going to cost your client $30,000. And the right thing to do is to install whatever is possible for access for people with disabilities. So any attorney will advise their client to take these on the chin. It’s the cost of doing business. Plus, removing barriers to access will help the business in the long run. If you’re not in compliance with the law, you’re not in compliance. And the way the law is written, there is no remedy for this type of serial filing.”
Two Businesses Decide To Fight
Two businesses in the Florida Keys decided to take on Cohen and Kerr. They sent Cohen and his client Howard Cohan back to Broward County with their tails tucked between their legs.
Marc Cohen filed an ADA lawsuit against the Marquesa Hotel in Old Town Key West and another against the Bluewater Key RV Resort. Cohen claimed his client Howard Cohan was the victim of discrimination. Cohan also claimed that the Marquesa Hotel, “does not have a pool lift or other method for disabled guests to enter the hotel pool.”
The two alleged the absence of a pool lift violated the ADA. Cohen also asked the judge to “award reasonable attorney’s fees, all costs (including, but not limited to court costs and expert fees) and other expenses of the lawsuit to the Plaintiff…and such other and further relief as it may deem necessary, just and proper.”
Two Hotel Owners Give Mark Cohen A Smackdown
The two properties retained Fort Lauderdale attorney Bill Salim. Salim brought in Americans with Disabilities Act expert Bill Norkunas. Norkunas, who himself is disabled as a result of polio as a child, owns ADA Help. ADA Help is a consulting business that provides expert assistance to businesses facing such lawsuits.
In his response, Salim wrote:
“The property at issue does not contain a public pool and all amenities are available for use only by registered guests. At no time did the Plaintiff ever register as a guest at the property and could not have accessed the same.”
Cohen’s lawsuit against Bluewater RV Resort claimed the same violations. Therefore, Salim’s response was a similar denial of the allegations:
“At no time did the Plaintiff ever register as a guest at [Bluewater Key] and could not have accessed the same except by trespassing through the front gate by tailgating when opened by an authorized guest or owner.”
As a result, both lawsuits were dismissed with prejudice. Marc Cohen received no attorney fees. As a result, Howard Cohan also received nothing.
Most noteworthy was what Norkunas emphasized to Key News about the dismissals:
Enter Convicted Drug Trafficker Julius Seiler
Cohen teamed up with Attorney Jessica Kerr to form J&M Advocacy Group, LLC in December of 2015.
The Bluewater RV Resort and Marquesa Hotel lawsuits destroyed Howard Cohan’s credibility. Therefore, he was now useless to Marc Cohen. As a result, Cohen kicked Howard Cohan to the curb and the search was on for another patsy client.
Marc Cohen and his new partner recruited Kerr’s former client Julius Seiler.
Seiler and his wife had been previous clients of Jessica Kerr. Kerr had successfully stopped both Wells Fargo and Citibank from foreclosing on the Seiler home in Coral Springs.
Julius Seiler is a former pharmacist who had been convicted on three counts of trafficking Oxycodone in August 2006. Seiler took a plea deal. A deal that included four months in jail and two years of house arrest. Seiler had to also surrender his pharmacy license.
Seiler was sued in 2004 in federal court for copyright infringement. He was sued by Warner Brothers Music, Virgin Records America, and others for illegally downloading hundreds of music tracks.