The Law Firm of Blanchard, Merriam & Adel, PA, Attorneys at Law serving Ocala, Florida Since 1974

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Practice Areas


Administrative Law

Administrative law concerns itself with the administration of city, county, state and federal government agencies’ rules, regulations, applications, licenses, permits, hearings, appeals and decision-making. Examples of administrative agencies include the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR), the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Department of Children and Families (DCF). The attorneys at BMAK, although operating out of our offices in Ocala, Marion County, are well versed not only in Ocala, Marion County administrative law, but also those of other cities, counties and agencies throughout the state; and we have worked with those agencies. Administrative law may be proactive or defensive. In other words it may be a situation where a client seeks a change to an Ocala (or another city in Marion County) or State ordinance, regulation or law. Our attorneys often appear before boards in Ocala and Marion County dealing with zoning issues and code violations. Conversely, it may be a defensive issue. Such an issue occurs when some administrative body alleges a violation of an ordinance, code or regulation. Some examples, of this are where Ocala or some other city alleges a violation of its codes relative to the operation of a business or zoning. Both at the Marion County level and the Florida state level it may involve an allegation of violations of certain environmental regulations, occupational safety regulations, or a host of other codes, regulations or ordinances; we have handled a broad range of these issues. Whatever the administrative question, our staff of attorneys, paralegals and investigators will work diligently to resolve the dispute. This is true whether the question arises in Ocala, Marion County or any other city or county in the state of Florida.

Appellate Practice

Although a number of BMAK’s lawyers have extensive experience with appeals, our appellate practice is headed by Mr. Blanchard, who has earned board certification from the Florida Bar as an appellate practitioner. Mr. Blanchard is extremely proud of his recognition by the Florida Bar by being honored with two board certifications – in civil trial law and appeals. Mr. Blanchard has handled appeals throughout Florida, and has argued before the Idaho Supreme Court. This experience assures you that whether successful or unsuccessful at trial you will have a recognized expert on any appeal; only a board certified attorney may be designated an “expert.” If you have been involved in litigation whether in Ocala, another city in Florida, in State or Federal Court and seek the services of an expert appellate practitioner we welcome your consideration. If you already have an attorney you may discuss with them whether they should consider an appellate expert for any appellate review. If you are already our client then you have the assurance that on appeal we can aggressively defend any successful decision or seek to overturn any adverse one.

In the cities of Florida such as Ocala there are different levels of appeals. In State Court there is County Court which is broken into two levels. These two levels are Marion County Small Claims Court (adjudicating claims up to $5,000), and Marion County Court of General Jurisdiction (handling claims involving disputes up to $15,000 dollars). Appeals from County Court go to the Circuit Court. This is also a trial court (for claims exceeding $15,000) but acts in an appellate capacity for the decisions of the County Court. In Ocala, decisions of the Circuit Court are appealed to the Fifth District Court of Appeals which is located in Daytona Beach, Florida. Appeals from the District Court go to the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee.

In the Federal system the trial Court is called the District Court, and Ocala has its own Court as a division of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida. Appeals from this District Court go to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. Appeals from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals go to the United States Supreme Court.

Civil Litigation

Civil litigation is a legal dispute between two or more parties that seeks money damages, specific performance of some duty or some declaration of rights rather than criminal sanctions. Our trial attorneys at BMAK specialize in civil litigation and represent parties, both plaintiffs (those who seek a recovery) and defendants (those being sued), in trials, hearings, arbitrations and mediations before administrative agencies, foreign tribunals and all state, federal, and appellate Courts. Our civil litigation practice enacompasses a broad range of legal disputes, including personal injury and wrongful death claims, product liability claims, actions against insurance companies, employment disputes, construction disputes, real estate transactions, commercial and residential landlord/tenant disputes, contract disputes, collections, banking, civil rights claims and defense, and class actions. Our trial attorneys also know that litigation should be a last resort. In that regard we have found that our experience and reputation aids our clients in avoiding litigation by properly exhausting settlement opportunities prior to resorting to Court action whether in the Courts of Marion County or any other county in the state of Florida or in the Federal Courts. Administrative actions can also often be settled when properly presented and explained. If your case cannot be settled, you can take comfort knowing that the lawyers of BMAK have tried scores of jury trials to verdict, as well as hundreds of non-jury trials. In the cities of Florida, such as Ocala there are different levels of civil trial Courts. County Courts deal with disputes up to $15,000, while disputes in excess of $15,000 are resolved in Circuit Court. For Federal claims here in Ocala we have our own division of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, which is the trial Court in the federal system. Our senior trial and appellate attorney, Dock Blanchard is proud to be one of only five attorneys in the state of Florida to be board certified both as a civil trial attorney and appellate practitioner. As a board certified civil trial lawyer, Mr. Blanchard handles cases not only in Ocala Courts but in State and Federal Courts throughout not only Florida but in other states. Mr. Blanchard has tried Federal cases in New York and Texas, and State cases in Idaho and Arizona.

Commercial Litigation

Commercial litigation encompasses any type of controversy related to business. Commercial litigation matters can range from relatively simple, uncomplicated contract disputes, to highly complex matters. Examples of these issues included under the general heading of commercial litigation are contract disputes, tortuous interference with contracts or business relationships, shareholder and partnership disputes, breach of fiduciary duty cases, disputes over corporate management and control, business dissolutions, disputes over non-compete agreements, unfair competition and collection issues. The attorneys at BMAK have found that commercial litigation disputes here in Ocala and Marion County can be as complex as those in any of the larger cities. These can involve trademark, patent and anti-trust or restraint of trade issues. We are confident that we have the resources to compete with any other firm no matter how large in commercial litigation here in Ocala and Marion County, and throughout the state. Any litigation matter can have a serious impact on your business. It is vital that you have capable and experienced legal counsel on your side so your interests are protected. The attorneys at BMAK can provide that experience and strong legal representation your company needs.

Community Association Law

Community association law deals with legal issues related to homeowners and condominium associations. Our attorneys assist associations with a variety of issues including drafting, amending and interpreting association documents such as declarations and covenants, bylaws, rules and regulations, filing and enforcing liens, enforcement of covenants and restrictions, interpreting relevant statutes governing associations, advising the board of directors or management company on day to day issues, and drafting or reviewing contracts for management and operation of the association. Our attorneys also represent homeowners and unit owners if they are sued by their association and assist them with issues they face such as election disputes, imposition of fines, and unfair treatment by the association board of directors. Given the current situation in the real estate market, the issues involving homeowner association rights and obligations have become more and more complex. The attorneys at BMAK have broad experience in handling all community association issues.

Corporate and Business Law

Corporate and business law involves the relationship between the members of the business entity, the creation of that entity and the operation of the entity. Often this involves complex negotiations and considerations of tax and accounting matters and employment law. We have developed strong relationships with professionals in each of these areas. We are prepared to work as a team to ensure that our clients are properly represented in such negotiations and resulting agreements. Ocala and Marion County enjoy a reputation of being a business friendly environment and have attracted businesses of national and international significance; we work with many of them. Our attorneys have the experience and professional dedication to resolve any of these issues whether large or small.

  • Corporation (Inc)
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Professional Association (PA)
  • Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)
  • Partnership
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Limited Partnership (LP)

Criminal Defense

Criminal law differs from civil law in that, while only money or property is at stake in a civil case, severe fines as well as your liberty or even your life can be at risk in a criminal case. The violation of a criminal statute can result in the assessment of fines and the imposition of probation and/or incarceration. This firm has represented clients charged with offenses ranging from misdemeanors to first degree murder. While most criminal charges are resolved by negotiated plea agreements, the lawyers of BMAK have tried dozens of cases to jury verdict. With extensive experience in this area of the law, our attorneys are well equipped to resolve your criminal matter. We have been successful in having charges dismissed in hundreds of cases. If your case doesn’t result in a dismissal, our lawyers are skilled at negotiating satisfactory plea agreements. If you are not satisfied with a plea offer, we are ready to try your case. If arrested, it is imperative that you speak with legal counsel immediately to protect your constitutional rights. Our attorneys stand ready and qualified to defend you in any criminal matter.

State and Federal:

  • Misdemeanor
  • Felony
  • DUI
  • Assault & Battery
  • Sexual Crimes
  • Juvenile Crimes
  • Violations of Probation

Employment Law

Employment law encompasses a wide variety of legal issues such as family medical leave, minimum wage violations, wrongful termination, harassment, wages and salaries and workplace discrimination. Many employment issues are covered by State, Federal, statutory and case law. Our lawyers have represented both employers and employees in State and Federal Court on employment claims. We are prepared to navigate your employment claims through negotiation, trial, and any appeal.

  • Sexual Discrimination
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Age Discrimination
  • Discrimination based upon disability
  • Whistle-Blower

Equine & Horse Law

Ocala and Marion County is proud to call itself the Thoroughbred Horse Capital of the World. The equine industry generates many legal issues from purchase, to boarding, training, and racing, through sale or syndication. The attorneys at BMAK are proud to have had a long and active role in all aspects of equine legal practice. We have attended seminars both in Florida and Kentucky dealing with syndications, breading, boarding, purchase and sale, training contracts and disputes between owners of thoroughbred, arabian, quarter and show horses. We are proud to represent some of the largest thoroughbred horse auction companies in the country and have handled litigation matters involving horses in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and New York. If you are in the equine industry or desire to be a part of it we welcome your consideration for legal representation.

  Family Law

Family law is a legal practice area that encompasses legal issues that families face. We recognize that such issues involve complex emotional, legal and financial considerations. At BMAK, our family law clients work with our attorneys who are experienced in both negotiation and litigation and who fully appreciate the complexity of family law issues. These considerations are essential to a client who is experiencing the very real emotional and financial strain resulting from family dispute in his/her life. Our family law practice provides our clients with skilled and competent legal services in the areas of divorce, custody, child support, spousal support (alimony), modifications, time-sharing, paternity, adoptions, injunctions (including domestic violence, repeat violence and dating injunctions), prenuptial agreements, and other family law related matters. Our experience ranges from simple, uncontested divorces to more complex family law issues that require formal dispute resolution proceedings or trial.

 Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice, otherwise known as medical negligence, involves the failure of a healthcare provider to adhere to the governing standard of care when treating a patient, resulting in injury to the patient. Most physicians are highly skilled and dedicated professionals, however some are not. Medical malpractice covers a wide range of conduct such as misdiagnosis of a medical condition, failure to diagnose a medical condition, failure to provide appropriate treatment for a medical condition, unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed medical condition, or the failure to obtain informed consent. Our firm’s attorneys are well-versed in this area of the law and are prepared to aggressively pursue or defend against such claims.

  • Physicians Malpractice
  • Hospital Malpractice
  • Nursing Home and Assisted Living Facility Malpractice
  • Products Liability
  • Medication or Drug Reactions

View our Ocala Medical Malpractice Attorneys

 Mortgage and Foreclosure Law

Foreclosures are an unfortunate national dilemma creating a major economic impact throughout the country and the world. Our lawyers have extensive experience on both sides of the foreclosure process, representing both lenders and borrowers. This unique perspective gives us the tools to help reduce the financial and emotional impact inherent in a mortgage foreclosure action. In today’s environment, many banks are as interested as is the owner in coming up with a modification, refinancing or other type of negotiated settlements such a resolution may keep the owner in the home and payments flowing to the bank. The attorneys of BMAK can help facilitate this process for either side.

Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys

If you or a loved one suffers a serious personal injury as the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act, it is important that you consult with an attorney before speaking with an insurance company representative. The insurance companies use professionals and so should you. Our attorneys have extensive experience in representing the rights of injured parties. We do not represent insurance companies. We handle a wide range of personal injury claims including car accidents, slip and fall cases, and wrongful death claims. In a wrongful death claim, the surviving relatives or dependents are entitled to damages when a victim dies as a result of another’s negligence or misconduct. Whether negotiating with an insurance company or litigating the matter at trial, our attorneys are prepared to aggressively protect the interests of a personal injury victim or a victim’s loved ones.

View Ocala Accident Attorneys

View Ocala Medical Malpractice Attorneys

View Ocala Auto Accident Attorney

View Ocala Horse & Equine Related Accident Attorney

Products Liability

It is unfortunate that products we buy to use or consume can often cause serious injury or death. This may be because of negligent manufacture, negligent design or improper or insufficient warnings or directions. Such products may range from automobiles, lawnmowers, ladders, motorcycles, airplanes and any other product consumed or used by a consumer which causes harm. Certain products are deemed “dangerous.” It may be that under certain circumstances the sale or distribution of such a dangerous product will by law impose strict liability upon the manufacturer or distributer. Product liability claims also include medications and drugs. Liability for medications and drugs may arise because of negligent manufacture, negligent formulation, negligent testing or improper or inefficient labeling. Our attorneys at BMAK have handled many cases dealing with product liability throughout the State and Federal Courts. If you have a concern or question relative to a product’s effect upon you we would be pleased for you to consider our firm in investigating this matter completely.

Real Estate

Our attorneys handle real estate matters covering the entire range of possible transactions and issues, from contract formation and negotiation to closing, simple residential matters like landlord/tenant and neighbor disputes to complex landlord/tenant litigation, commercial transactions, and zoning and land use disputes. Foreclosures are an unfortunate national dilemma. Our lawyers have extensive experience on both sides of the foreclosure process, representing both lenders and borrowers. This unique perspective gives us the tools to help reduce the financial and emotional impact inherent in a mortgage foreclosure action. In today’s environment many banks are as interested as the owner to come up with a modification, refinance or other types of negotiated settlement. Such a resolution keeps the owner in the home and payments flowing to the bank. The attorneys of BMAK can help facilitate this process for either side.

Wills & Trusts

The services provided by the lawyers of BMAK in the areas of Wills, Trusts and Estates include assisting the client with determining what type of estate plan best suits his or her needs through the preparation of everything from simple Wills to complex estate plans. We can help individuals and families to establish guardianships, draft personalized Wills and Trusts, and prepare designations of healthcare surrogates and powers of attorney. At the same time we will be providing the necessary advice and counsel to ensure that the designated positions are not abused. We help families through the administration of the estate. Advance planning can aid in avoiding estate litigation, but we are also able to help if required due to Will challenges or abuses by those placed in a fiduciary capacity.