You’ve put your life into building your business. Carlos understands and respects that. That’s why he is a passionate advocate for his clients’ business and real estate interests when they must be protected in court, in arbitration, or before any other tribunal.
Carlos represents his business clients in the areas of partner/shareholder claims, creditors’ rights, and other contract-based claims. He represents his real estate clients in the areas of eminent domain, inverse condemnation, Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act claims, purchase and sale disputes, real estate broker/agent defense and landlord/tenant claims. Naples Illustrated has named Carlos a “Top Lawyer” in the practice areas of business litigation, eminent domain and condemnation law (2018-2021). Florida Super Lawyers® magazine named Carlos to their list in 2021.
Carlos is a sought-after speaker on a multitude of eminent domain aspects, including best practices to prepare an appraiser witness for trial in condemnation cases. He has presented for The Florida Bar’s Eminent Domain Committee, The Florida Bar’s City, County & Local Government Section, the Florida Association of County Engineers & Road Superintendents, Half Moon Education, Inc., and the West Coast Florida Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.
Carlos also writes frequently on these issues. His writings have been published by the American Bar Association and The Florida Bar Journal. One of his articles has been cited by The Supreme Court of Florida and the Cardozo Law Review. Carlos is also an author for the firm’s Legal Scoop on Southwest Florida Real Estate blog and Southwest Florida Business and IP Blog.
Carlos joined Henderson Franklin in 1997. He serves as chair of the Business Litigation Department and as a member of the Pro Bono Committee and the Marketing Committee, and served as chair of the Summer Associate Program for many years. In addition to being admitted to all Florida state courts, Carlos is admitted to practice in the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida. When he’s not practicing law, Carlos enjoys physical training, cheering for the ‘Noles on the gridiron, and watching black and white detective movies from the 1940s and ’50s.
Professional And Civic Affiliations
Carlos volunteers in the community, serving as the Board Chair of The IMAG History & Science Center for three years, and serving on SalusCare, Inc.’s Finance Committee. Carlos is the co-founder of P.E.A.K., a business roundtable made up of members of the accounting, banking, construction, education, financial advising, health, information technology, insurance, legal, mortgage brokering, non-profit, public relations, and real estate professions.
Carlos served for six years as one of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit’s representatives to the Board of Governors of the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar. At the local level, Carlos served on the Twentieth Judicial Circuit’s Grievance Committee “D,” ending his term by serving as vice-chair. He has served the Lee County Bar Association in many capacities and currently is co-chair of General Civil and Business Litigation Practice Section.
- Represented condemning authority in acquiring approximately 4.5 acres of fee simple and easement interests in state court. Tried case as lead counsel in six-day jury trial in which owner’s two appraisers had prepared reports claiming damages of $5,073,600 and $6,331,700, respectively. After five days of trial, culminating in cross-examination of owner’s second/final appraiser witness, owner’s counsel requested a settlement conference. Despite condemning authority also having potential exposure to owner’s attorneys’ fees of at least $1,061,000 and costs of $210,000 (for a total potential exposure of over $6.5 million in damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs), case settled for $2.4 million, which included all of owner’s attorneys’ fees and costs. In addition, as part of settlement, owner conveyed the fee simple interest for the remaining approximately 15.7 acres to the condemning authority.
- Represented real estate brokerage and agent in defending lawsuit alleging a variety of claims, including negligence. Obtained favorable testimony from a non-party deponent, causing the opposing parties to request a settlement conference. Opposing parties ultimately accepted less than 3.5% of their claimed damages to dismiss and settle all claims with prejudice.
- Represented condemning authorities in acquiring parcels for electric transmission facilities, electric substation, and road construction.
- Represented business owner in defending against proposed road widening. Condemning authority changed plans to minimize impact to client property.
- Represented property owner in negotiating a settlement of the taking of property for a governmental facility. Negotiated sale price to condemning authority that was $600,000 (or 50%) more than condemning authority’s highest appraisal.
- Represented owner of agricultural property in defending against proposed taking for drainage facilities. Condemning authority decided not to seek client property and did not file condemnation action.
- Represented owner of income property in defending against proposed taking to widen road. Condemning authority decided to alter plans to avoid taking client property.
- Represented (as co-counsel) local government in successfully defending against a claim under the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act and a claim for a regulatory taking. Plaintiff sought $10,900,000.00. Local government obtained summary judgment, which was upheld on appeal.
- Represented (as co-counsel) owners of trade secrets against former colleagues who claimed no trade secrets existed. Obtained favorable settlement after favorable rulings on client’s motion to amend to seek punitive damages.
- Represented business and its owner sued by a plaintiff who claimed an ownership interest in the entity. Raised various formation defenses and ultimately obtained favorable settlement.
- Represented business owners in dispute with co-owner over multi-million dollar commercial property; obtain settlement retaining ownership of property for clients and ousting co-owner.
- Obtained dismissal with prejudice of ethics complaint against real estate broker; upheld on appeal.
- Represented buyer of a business. Before any payment was due, negotiated favorable settlement resulting in satisfaction of promissory note given by the buyer to seller in purchasing the business.
News & Insights
- 21 Henderson Franklin Attorneys Recognized as 2022 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
- Naples Illustrated Magazine Recognizes 39 Henderson Franklin Attorneys as “Top Lawyers”
- 20 Henderson Franklin Attorneys Recognized as 2021 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars
- Carlos Kelly Named Chair of Henderson Franklin’s Business Litigation Department
- Kelly Presented “Condemnation Blight Damages in Florida” to The Florida Bar’s City, County, Local Government Law Section
- Henderson Franklin Named “Best Intellectual Property Law Firm” By Gulfshore Business Magazine
- Naples Illustrated Magazine Recognizes 28 Henderson Franklin Attorneys as “Top Lawyers”
- Henderson Franklin Names Mark Nieds Chair and Launches Intellectual Property Group
- Kelly Continues Service as Chairman of the IMAG Board of Directors
- Fort Myers Litigation Attorney Carlos Kelly Continues Service on The Florida Bar Eminent Domain Committee