John Townsend is an experienced civil trial attorney who has been practicing in Florida since 1981. He is AV rated (the highest level attainable) by Martindale Hubbell. Prior to joining Becker & Poliakoff, he managed his own firm in Fort Walton Beach. John’s varied experience in civil law and litigation includes personal injury and wrongful death, premises and product liability, community association litigation involving board member fiduciary duty claims, contract disputes, insurance claims and covenant enforcement matters, appellate law, and family law matters. He has more than two dozen reported appellate court cases in a number of different areas of law.
- Shores of Panama Resort Community Association, Inc. – February, 2016 – obtained $12 million federal court jury verdict against four former Association board members for breach of fiduciary duty, including punitive damages of $10 million.
- Pastore v. Pastore – Obtained favorable Florida Supreme Court decision for client/wife establishing military retirement as a “marital asset” to be included in division of marital assets as a property right in dissolution of marriage action.
- Roberts v. United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company – Obtained favorable ruling for client/insurance company in Florida First District Court of Appeal decision establishing that “business use exclusion” in automobile insurance policy applied to accident which occurred when automobile as being driven by repairman while he was driving the vehicle for his personal use and without a reasonable belief that he was entitled to use the vehicle for that purpose.
- Lakeview Center, Inc. v. Allis – Obtained favorable ruling for client/psychiatrist in Florida First District Court of Appeal decision in negligence action filed by widow of slain police officer – evidentiary/procedural issues including introduction of expert testimony regarding prediction of violent behavior.
- Hornbuckle v. Hornbuckle – Obtained favorable ruling for client/wife in post-dissolution dispute regarding enforcement of foreign divorce order including determination that trial court improperly interpreted and modified previous order and erroneously failed to address issue of attorney fees.
- Represented numerous community associations as general association counsel.
- Represented parties in numerous family law/dissolution of marriage actions.
- Served as general counsel for Destin Fire Control District for fifteen years.
- Served as assistant town attorney for Town of Shalimar, Florida.
- Served as assistant city attorney for City of Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
John was inducted to membership in the honor societies of Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi while in undergraduate school at the University of Florida and has held the Martindale-Hubbell “AV Preeminent” peer rating for ethical standards and legal ability since 2012.
PROFESSIONAL / COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES
Active in several professional and civic organizations, John has served as a member of the Florida Bar’s Continuing Legal Education Committee, President of the Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association, and as a member of the Board of Directors and President of the North Gulf Coast Chapter of the Community Association Institute.