Kelley Uustal Trial Attorney
March 5, 2024

Federal Judge Upholds $63.5 Million Civil Rights Judgment Against Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo

In a significant victory for justice and civil liberties, a federal judge has firmly rejected Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo’s attempts to evade accountability for his actions. The ruling represents a triumph for Courtney Caprio and Amanda Suarez of Kelley | Uustal, who have tirelessly fought against the misuse of power and violation of constitutional rights.

“In this case, the American system of law protected our most sacred of rights as citizens of this great country: our First Amendment right to oppose our government officials without fear of punishment. It was a privilege and honor to secure this tremendous result for our clients and for all Americans,” said Courtney Caprio. 

Last year, a landmark civil rights judgment of $63.5 million was entered against Commissioner Carollo. This ruling stemmed from egregious attempts by Carollo to suppress the voices of dissent by targeting those who dared to exercise their First Amendment rights. The court’s decision not only upholds the monumental judgment but also delivers a powerful message that those in positions of authority cannot abuse their power to silence opposition.

In the words of the presiding judge in upholding the federal jury’s damages award, “The only shock to the conscience here is that Defendant used his position and power to weaponize the city government against Plaintiffs because Plaintiffs chose to exercise their First Amendment rights by supporting Defendant’s political opponent.” This statement encapsulates the egregious nature of Carollo’s actions and underscores the importance of safeguarding fundamental freedoms in a democratic society.

The case garnered widespread attention and exemplifies the tireless efforts of Caprio, Suarez, and their legal team. “The way these female lawyers outperformed the defense team in front of the jury both with major witnesses, like the police chiefs and in closing, really had an impact on both the judge and the jury,” said Jeff Gutchess, a partner at the AXS Law Group.

Their dedication to upholding the principles of justice and defending the rights of their clients has resulted in a significant legal precedent. By holding Commissioner Carollo accountable for his actions, the court has reaffirmed the core tenets of democracy and reinforced the notion that no one is above the law.

“Our First Amendment rights are essential to our democracy. The jury’s finding in this case solidified that a government official cannot abuse their power to retaliate against citizens who oppose them. It is a great honor to have been a part of this incredible result,” said Amanda Suarez. 

For more information on this groundbreaking case and its implications, please visit:

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