Overview

Brett D. Carroll is an attorney in Holland & Knight's Boston office and a member of the firm's Litigation Section. Mr. Carroll represents clients in complex business litigation matters in state and federal courts across the country, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware and Florida . His practice emphasizes consumer class action matters; real property disputes, including complex commercial landlord/tenant disputes, challenging holdover guest disputes in the hotel context, and residential and commercial title disputes; product liability, including medical device, drug, automobile part and food litigation; high-stakes medical malpractice claims and wrongful death claims in the manufacturing, medical services, long-term care and food industries; commercial contract disputes in the hotel, product manufacturing, multifamily housing industries; insurance coverage and broker negligence matters; and a variety of business torts disputes, including unfair trade practices, fraud, tortious interference and noncompete violations.

In addition to managing active litigation matters, Mr. Carroll frequently counsels clients on the legal implications of proposed transactions in the consumer retail, landlord/tenant, and real estate contexts. Clients in several industries rely on Mr. Carroll to analyze issues across the country to resolve conflict short of litigation whenever possible and, equally, to oversee litigation counsel, including insurance defense counsel, in critical, ongoing disputes. 

Mr. Carroll has comprehensive experience in arguing substantive motions to resolve disputes before arbitrators and arbitration panels, and he has prepared and tried cases for jury and non-jury trials. Mr. Carroll has a strong appellate practice, including arguments before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Rhode Island Supreme Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, the latter including an appellate victory concerning a challenge to personal jurisdiction. He has obtained several appellate court decisions in his clients' favor on real property and jurisdictional matters, and recently argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court to establish new, favorable law affecting national retailers and businesses in the class context regarding class consumer contract claims.

Within the firm and community, Mr. Carroll currently serves on the Boston Hiring and Diversity Committees, is the coordinator of the Boston office's 9/11 Day of Service Initiative, and acts as the founding coordinator of the Holland & Knight Boston Alumni Program. He is the Boston Public and Charitable Services Partner, in which he is responsible for overseeing pro bono, charitable giving and community involvement endeavors. He has been named as special counsel to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners to investigate the character and fitness of several bar applicants. In addition, Mr. Carroll is a past planning coordinator for the Holland & Knight Opening Doors for Children program and the 2001 winner of the Holland & Knight Opening Doors for Children Award. Mr. Carroll has an active pro bono practice representing clients in a variety of contexts, including landlord/tenant disputes, asylum, education, and post-conviction relief claims for juvenile offenders. He also is a board member of the Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation and on the national board of Read to a Child.

Experience

  • Working with national clients to defend a wide variety of consumer class claims in various states, including matters involving consumer contract issues, deceptive advertising claims and consumer fee charges
  • In 2018, in representing a retail client in a case before the New Jersey Supreme Court (Spade et al. v. Select Comfort et al.), helped establish a critical blow to the onslaught of consumer class claims filed against almost every national retailer in New Jersey pursuant to the Truth-in-Consumer Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA), which had been used to extract millions of dollars in settlements for alleged consumer contract violations even though consumers had not suffered any adverse consequence, harm or damage; with Mr. Carroll arguing in a successful collaboration with a parallel action and several state and national amicus parties, the New Jersey Supreme Court's unanimous decision in April 2018 established new law whereby a consumer asserting TCCWNA claims must establish that they are adversely affected by the alleged violation in order to substantiate a claim for relief; this win has set precedent for several pending class action matters to be withdrawn or favorably resolved, on dispositive motion, and avoided an alleged claim of more than $70 million for the retail client
  • Obtained dismissal of purported class action involving alleged New Jersey Consumer Fraud claims for national retail client filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey
  • Successfully resolved threatened class action filed, but not served, alleging deceptive advertising and improper imposition of fees and taxes based upon comprehensive pre-suit memorandum and threatened motion for sanctions

  • Represent national retail companies in multiple arbitrations involving complex commercial landlord/tenant disputes, including successful arbitration awards confirming client's rights to remain under favorable terms of lease, lack of obligation to contribute to multimillion dollar betterment and confirmation of right to terminate tenancy without any further obligations
  • Represent hotel development company in commercial dispute with commercial broker, including obtaining successful dismissal on motion to dismiss in federal court of all fraud, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and unfair competition claims
  • Advise national utility company regarding complex residential landlord/tenant issues in a variety of context, including hotel, temporary trailer, short-term rentals and residential rentals, as implicated by displacement of thousands of residents affected by service and related issues
  • Represent university in challenge to ownership of property after sale based upon various title disputes resulting in successful victory on summary judgment allowing property to be transformed into residential living use
  • Work with national multifamily housing client managing day-to-day pre-litigation claims across the country, including successful avoidance of multiple litigations based upon pre-suit investigations and dispositive responses

  • Lead trial counsel for international medical device manufacturer resolving complex wrongful death claim for a nominal settlement based upon the filing of a preemptive motion for summary judgment confirming that plaintiff's theory had no factual basis
  • Represented international tire manufacturer in multiple litigation disputes in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Florida, including obtaining successful dismissal of high-profile litigation claim asserting in excess of $20 million in damages based upon jurisdiction deficiencies
  • Defended medical device manufacturer and medical provider in wrongful death suit in New Hampshire resulting in dismissal of all product liability claims and successful resolution

  • Successfully defended national food manufacturer in high-profile wrongful death claim to avoid products manufacturer liability claims and enforcement of workers' compensation bar
  • Defended medical care provider in multiple wrongful death and substantial personal injury claims arising in the context of medical care and/or premises liability throughout the country, including obtaining successful dismissal of claims at summary judgment based upon lack of proximate cause
  • Represent logistics provider in challenging wrongful death suit involving public utility worker resulting in resolution of dispute for nominal result based upon filing of summary judgment motion outlining proximate cause and comparative fault arguments

  • Defended international hotel chain in complex business dispute claim involving allegations of fraud and various breaches of contract including obtained successful dismissal with prejudice in federal court, as confirmed on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, that client not subject to jurisdiction
  • Represented national insurer relative to multiple coverage claim litigations in Massachusetts and Florida, including successful avoiding of coverage on motions to dismiss and motions for summary judgment
  • Defended national manufacturer and retailer in commercial litigation involving distributor asserting various contractual and unfair trade practices claims, which resulted in nominal settlement after successful grant of motion for summary judgment on all claims other than ongoing distribution rights
  • Represented national insurance broker in complex insurance malpractice claim involving alleged catastrophic business loss as a result of food contamination

  • Represent a variety of national clients in complex unclaimed property/escheat matters across the country, including defending clients with respect to government-initiated investigations, conducting significant internal investigation and compliance programs, challenging the Delaware escheat statute and practices as unconstitutional, counseling clients on compliance issues in the rebate, foreign property and gift card contexts, and negotiating resolutions of complex, multiyear audits before various state escheators, including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware and Florida
  • Conduct internal investigations involving areas of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliance, diversity compliance and healthcare regulatory compliance in a variety of commercial, employment and healthcare contexts

Credentials

Education
  • Syracuse University College of Law, J.D.
  • McGill University, B.A., Political Science, summa cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Florida
  • Massachusetts
Court Admissions
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
Memberships
  • Read to a Child, National Board of Directors, March 2020-present
  • Academy of the Pacific Rim Charter School, Board of Directors, 2017-2019
  • YW Boston, Lead Boston Program Class of 2018 
  • Camp Fire USA Eastern Massachusetts Council, Chair, Board of Directors, 2006-2011
  • Syracuse University College of Law Alumni Association, Board of Directors, 2006-2009
  • Leadership Fort Lauderdale, Class of 2002
  • The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Workforce Development Committee, 2012
  • Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, Mentor, 2012
  • Unclaimed Property Professionals Organization
Honors & Awards
  • Rising Star, Massachusetts Super Lawyers magazine, 2011-2013
  • Boston Future Business Leader, The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 2011
  • Holland & Knight Public and Charitable Service All-Star, 2014
  • Pro Bono All-Star, Holland & Knight, 2005-2008, 2010-2019
  • The Digest, The National Italian American Bar Association Journal, Survey Editor

Publications

Speaking Engagements

News