Fall 2015

Volume XVII, Issue 3   


Inside this issue:
President's Column
Member Profile
FDLA New Members
Defense Verdicts
Committee News
Case Notes
FDLA Board of Directors 2015-2016
FDLA Advanced Litigation Boot Camp
FDLA 2016 Winter Seminar
2016 Annual Meeting
FDLA Lunch & Learn Webinar Series
FDLA and DRI Network Hosting Event!
deFENSE POST Information
Attention Members!

Take advantage of the deFENSE POST to share your verdicts, accomplishments,

recognitions and special achievements with FDLA members. Send your press releases, office relocation notices, defense verdicts and any other items of interest to the FDLA

office via email to ljude@fdla.org The content of deFENSE POST depends on

information from

 FDLA members.


The date to remember to submit your "news" for the Winter 2015 issue of deFENSE POST is November 1, 2015 - send your news in NOW!

Dates to Remeber
October 30, 2015
Protegrity Conference Center 
Longwood, Florida
January 13-18, 2016 
Martin Luther King  
Big Sky, Montana 
June 8-11, 2016
Disney's Contemporary
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
September 22-25, 2016
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort
Naples, Florida

June 7-10, 2017
Disney's Contemporary
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

June 6-9, 2018
Disney's Contemporary
Lake Buena Vista, Florida


FDLA Lunch & Learn Webinar Series
   Tuesday, November 10, 2015 
      Construction Law Committee
   Thursday, February 11, 2016 
      Auto/Transportation Law 
   Wednesday, May 11, 2016 
   Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Watch your emails for notices/ information on how to register for upcoming FDLA webinars!

Board of Directors

The FDLA Board of Directors meets on a quarterly basis. If any member has items/ issues he or she would like the Board to address, please use the contact information below: 


Andrew S. Bolin   

P: 813-226-3000

E: asb@law-fla.com

FDLA Office
P: 813-885-9888



The next  

Board Meeting is  

Thursday, October 29, 2015.

Andrew S. Bolin 
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara & Bolin
201 N. Franklin Street
Suite 2900
Tampa, FL 33602
P: 813-226-3000
F: 813-226-3001 

Robert E. Bonner 
Meier Bonner Muszynski O'Dell & Harvey PA
260 Wekiva Springs Rd 
Longwood, FL 32779
P: 407-872-7774 
F: 407-872-7997 

Jeffrey W. Johnson 
Johnson Law Group
1900 NW Corporate Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33431
P: 561-994-9433 
F: 561-994-9099 

Dale J. Paleschic 
Immediate Past President
Luks Santaniello Petrillo
& Jones 
301 West Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
P: 904-791-9191
F: 904-791-9196
Enjoy the Fall 2015 Electronic Edition of 
President's Column
Andrew S. Bolin
FDLA President
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin 
O'Hara & Bolin  
Tampa, FL
The Work We Do 

I recently received The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's annual survey that ranks the States by which have the most favorable and unfavorable litigation climates for businesses. Unfortunately, Florida turned in its worst survey score ever, ranking 44th. With only six states scoring lower, it seems that our State has a lot to correct in order to promote healthy economic growth and provide a reliable environment for health care providers, business owners and other professionals to work without the fear of frivolous litigation. The U.S. chamber noted some positive steps being taken by our Legislature but noted that much of the tort reform efforts are undone by our Supreme Court like the recent opinions invalidating caps on non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases. 
With the continuously mounting pressures of our chosen profession, it can be easy to forget the significance of the responsibility each of us has been given. The allegations placed in a complaint accuse our clients of wrongdoing in connection with some of the important and personal parts of their lives: businesses they have spent decades building, professions they have dedicated their lives to and their reputations in the communities where they live and work. Plaintiff's attorneys have done a good job of removing the "face" of the defendant in our cases. The commercials the public sees on TV seemingly during every break in programming speaks only to the "insurance companies" involved in claims and never the individual who must face the uncertainly and stress a lawsuit against them brings. This tactic has successfully allowed Plaintiffs, and no doubt, some juries, to presume that awards and settlements that come from lawsuits don't truly impact the defendant. Those of us who have sat at counsel table with a client during trial know that could not be further from the truth. Our clients rely on their professions; their reputations in the community are vital and they are understandably worried about the impact the suits will have on their ability to provide for their families and to continue doing what they have done their entire professional lives. 
Even a defense verdict does not always erase the questions some in the community may have about what a lawsuit against their doctor or local hospital might mean. The costs of a lawsuit, even when the allegations are frivolous, does not prevent the stores in our neighborhoods from being forced to raise prices to cover them. The concern over lawsuits causes businesses and professionals to change the way they provide goods and services to the community creating more costs and causing efficiency and productivity to plunge. Defendants go home at night and wonder what will happen if they personally must pay for an award by a jury.  
As defense lawyers we have the awesome responsibility of helping our clients navigate this uncertain legal landscape. We must tell our client's stories in a system that seems to all too often forget the cost of lawsuits that are unfounded from the outset or that are much later proven to be unsupported by the law. In cases where errors were made and the Plaintiff does deserve compensation, defense attorneys ensure that the compensation is reasonable, just as the law requires that it be. Without that much needed check and balance, injustice would occur in even the most legitimate of cases.  
We must never lose sight of the importance of the work we do to each of our clients individually and the community. The FDLA provides a number of great opportunities every quarter to enhance our knowledge and skills as defense attorneys so that we can fairly meet the challenges and responsibilities of our profession. In this edition of the deFENSE POST several of those opportunities are highlighted and I hope that each of you can attend at least one of our programs in the coming months. If you need more information on how you can become more involved in the FDLA or on future educational opportunities please contact me directly. 
Keep fighting the good fight,
Andy Bolin
FDLA President 

Member Profile
 Francis E. Pierce, IV

         In the wee morning hours of April 10 in Orlando (sometime in the mid-80s) my parents were stricken with the same bout of repetition that has plagued my family for (at least) three generations. Thus, "The Fourth" came into being.  On top of adding to the growing collection of "Franks" being called to dinner on Thanksgiving, I was also born to a family of Central Floridians (on the Frank side). The Becky side, on the other hand, involves more banjos and moonshine still explosions than this article has room for.  Being born a multi-generational Floridian is a facet of one's life that not many get to share.  Even I remember orange groves within a few blocks of interstate!

         Growing up and maneuvering through high school I tended to think a bit "outside the lines." I certainly remember (more than once) expressing my life goals specifically keeping me very far away from and out of practicing law.  However, my dad kept taking me to these conferences that involved meeting all these grey-haired lawyers constantly reliving victories, defeats, and right-out shenanigans occurring in and out of court rooms. I noticed that these lawyers tended to talk about their profession as something they enjoyed and not as if it was something constantly out of "The Far Side." 

         I then set my sights on the only logical place to attend football games for the next four years: Gainesville, Florida.  I continued to go to these lawyer meetings with my dad intermittently through college and collected some rather interesting stories, including fighting my way out of the middle of a snow drift because Tom Dukes "knew" the way off the mountain, seeing two Clydesdales get stuck in a snow drift (different snow drift), and convincing David Corso that his dad really is cool.

         Going to undergrad at the University of Florida went so well, what with winning seemingly endless national championships over Ohio State, that I needed a plan that would keep me there for a few more years.  With some necessary encouragement from my wife, I fell victim (again) to what is almost certainly something genetically encoded in my DNA.  Thus, this "Frank" was going to be a lawyer too.  When my stint at the University of Florida came to an end in 2010, I began my legal career working with Frank III, back in Orlando.  Growing up and constantly being exposed to civil defense litigators who actually liked their jobs set me on my course: I started litigating insurance defense and medical malpractice cases. 
         I now know that those lawyer conferences I attended as a kid and through college shaped my career path and ultimately helped sway my decision to become a lawyer.  Those meetings (of course) were FDLA meetings.  I have met so many great people through the FDLA and attended countless enlightening presentations.  I find myself frequently utilizing FDLA contacts to get the skinny on a judge, venue, plaintiff lawyer, or get a hold of Raffa's most recent depo transcript. 

        I currently live in Winter Park with my wonderful wife Erica who is not only a multi-generational Floridian but also a multi-generational Saltwater Conch.  I was honored to receive the nomination to be on the FDLA Board of Directors this summer and look forward to serving with David Corso in the Fifth District.   I now litigate across the great state of Florida with Seipp, Flick & Hosley on an array of civil defense matters, including products, utility construction, auto, and premises liability.

Chandler E. Bonanno
Weekley Schulte Valdes LLC
Tampa, FL
Christopher G. Brown
Cooney Trybus Kwavnick Peets PLC
Ft Lauderdale, FL
Renee Gomez
Marlow Adler Abrams Adler Newman & Lewis
Coral Gables, FL
Matthew N. Haldeman
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara & Bolin PA
Maitland, FL  
Shannon R. Hladik
Fast Cat Claims Inc
Palm Harbor, FL
Kyle S. Morat
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara & Bolin PA
Maitland, FL
Elaine J. LaFlamme
Litchfield Cavo LLP
Ft Lauderdale, FL
Scott A. Shelton
Cole Scott & Kissane PA
Orlando, FL 


Defense Verdicts  
Scott M. Sarason and Armando G. Hernandez of the Miami office of Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell, P.A. obtained a defense verdict in favor of their client BRP U.S., Inc. in a product liability lawsuit in Jacksonville, Duval County, Florida, after a week long jury trial.  
The lawsuit, styled Carmon Sullivan v. BRP U.S., Inc., Case No. 2013-CA-000569, involved Plaintiff's allegations of strict liability design defect, negligent design, and failure to warn.  BRP's counsel successfully had Plaintiff's consortium claim dismissed, pursuant to maritime law's prohibition, and Plaintiff's warranty claims dismissed pursuant to Florida's privity requirements. This effectively streamlined the litigation from the outset. BRP filed a proposal for settlement in February 2014. 
On the date of the accident, January 26, 2012, Plaintiff (a 37 year old female) was performing maintenance in the engine compartment of a 2011 Sea Doo Challenger Model 210SP while the jetboat was suspended on a lift in the Plaintiff's backyard.  Instead of closing the engine hatch from the cockpit area, which is the only place a user can open the hatch, the Plaintiff climbed onto the gunnel of the jetboat, jumped onto the dock, and then re-boarded the jetboat from the rear swim platform. Once on the rear platform, the Plaintiff positioned her foot in an open, obvious, and clearly observable semicircular opening underneath the open engine hatch. Without looking down first to see where her foot was, Plaintiff pushed the engine hatch closed on her own foot. Plaintiff's foot was stuck for approximately 30 minutes before someone finally came to her assistance and opened the engine hatch to release her foot.  
Three of Plaintiff's toes were amputated. Plaintiff was diagnosed with neuropathic pain, reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), chronic pain syndrome, an altered gait as well as constant back, hip, knee, leg and foot pain. Plaintiff underwent two surgeries for implantation of a spinal cord stimulator to address her pain symptoms. Plaintiff's life care plan costs were in excess of a million dollars. 

A month prior to trial, Plaintiff moved for leave to plead punitive damages.  BRP's counsel opposed the motion for punitive damages based on the failure to satisfy the requisite showing under either Florida or maritime law.  Subsequent to an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend. 
Immediately prior to trial, BRP's counsel effectively excluded Plaintiff's liability expert Hector V. Pazos (a naval architect and engineer), pursuant to Daubert.  BRP challenged Mr. Pazos' qualifications regarding warnings, his lack of testing of any proposed alternative designs, and his overall lack of work or methodology. The court ruled that "while Mr. Pazos has general expertise regarding boats and in many respects in other cases could likely testify competently about them, he is not here qualified to testify competently regarding the matters he intends to address." The remaining experts were Gil Spruance (Plaintiff's life care planner), Dr. John Carey (Plaintiff's pain management specialist), Dr. Eric Gabriel (Plaintiff's neurosurgeon), and Robert Taylor, P.E. (BRP's naval architect and marine engineer).
At trial, Plaintiff contended that BRP knew of the foreseeable risk of severe injury with the unreasonably dangerous and defective design of the engine hatch cover and semicircular opening but did nothing.  Plaintiff argued that BRP failed to warn of the foreseeable risk of injury and did not include any information, warnings, or instructions on the jetboat itself, the owner's manual, or the safety video. Plaintiff maintained that BRP's negligence and/or the defect with regard to the jetboat were the cause of Plaintiff's injuries and sought millions of dollars for disfigurement, mental anguish, pain and suffering, past medical expenses, and noteworthy future medical care needs. 
BRP contended that the 2011 Sea Doo Challenger Model 210SP was not defective, unreasonably dangerous, or responsible for this entirely avoidable accident. BRP explained the evaluation, development, and hundreds of hours of testing that went into designing the jetboat and all its parts. BRP also emphasized that 2,413 jetboats with the identical engine hatch design had been produced without a single other person ever being injured while using the engine hatch cover. Despite Plaintiff's attempts to exclude such evidence BRP's counsel effectively and successfully argued for the admissibility, relevance, and probative value pertaining to the lack of other accidents in a product liability case. BRP maintained that because the semicircular opening underneath the engine hatch was so open, obvious, and clearly observable, there was no duty to warn. BRP informed the jury that Plaintiff had opened and closed the same engine hatch on the jetboat at least 50 times in the 10 month period prior to the date of the accident without any injury or accident. BRP had Plaintiff concede that she had seen the open and obvious semicircular opening prior to the DOA. As such, BRP argued that Plaintiff was solely responsible for her own injuries.  BRP further argued that in the three and a half years since the date of the accident, the Plaintiff continued to regularly use the jetboat (including opening and closing the very same engine hatch cover without any changes or modifications) without any accident or injury. 
The jury returned a verdict finding no negligence on the part of BRP and no defect with the 2011 Sea Doo Challenger Model 210SP. BRP will pursue attorney's fees and costs. The Plaintiff may appeal the jury's verdict. 



Jeffrey W. Johnson and Timothy Malin of the Johnson Law Group obtained a defense verdict in Waddell v Shannon (Circuit Court of Monroe County) before the Honorable Luis Garcia. 
This case involved an independent contractor who was injured when he fell from a scaffold while preforming plastering work at the Defendant's home. Plaintiff's medical records from Mariner's Hospital immediately following the incident attempted to document the injuries. It was not until later in the litigation process that his ongoing complaints indicated significant spinal injury. The Defendant's interjected the independent contractor's defense and also argued that the injuries were old and degenerative.
The jury returned a defense verdict for the Defendant on February 18, 2015. Final Judgment was entered February 23, 2015. Post verdict, the client was awarded fees and costs pursuant to a Proposal for Settlement in the amount for $50,044.71.  



Jeffrey W. Johnson and a colleague of the Johnson Law Group obtained a defense verdict in Oppenheim v Scotti Auto Repair (Circuit Court of Palm Beach County) before the Honorable Jamie Goodman. 
This case arose from a slip and fall occurring on January 10, 2014, at the Defendant shop. The Plaintiff, Eileen Oppenheim, age 61 at the time of the incident, parked her husband's vehicle outside the premises blocking the bay door and walked directly into Bay 8, took a few steps and fell. The Defendant had a sign posted at the front of the premises which stated, "Do not block bay doors - Due to insurance purposes customers are not allowed in work area".
The Plaintiff suffered a closed displaced fracture of the right femoral neck (hip fracture) and a comminuted extra-articular fracture of the right distal radius (wrist fracture). She was taken by Palm Beach County Fire Rescue to West Boca Medical Center. The Plaintiff underwent open reduction and pin fixation of the right wrist as well as right total hip arthroplasty for a displaced femoral neck fracture. She continued to have pain and limited range of motion in the wrist. The defense orthopedic surgeon was of the opinion she would not require future surgery to her either hip or wrist.
The jury returned a defense verdict for the Defendant on August 19, 2015. Final Judgment was entered August 24, 2015.   

John A. Chiocca of Chiocca & Chiocca PA in Wellington FL, recently obtained summary judgment for his client in a premises liability case. The Defendant was the landlord for a residential property in Okeechobee, Florida. Plaintiffs were tenants at that property. The minor Plaintiff caught her finger between the dwelling's front door and the door frame, amputating a portion of her finger. As a result of the injury, the child appeared to suffer lasting emotional and psychological issues. The Plaintiffs sued for negligence in the Defendant's pre-tenancy inspection of the property, and for negligently maintaining the property after Plaintiffs' tenancy commenced. From a factual standpoint, Plaintiffs claimed that the door was unusually heavy and that the Defendant knew that the door was prone to forcefully slamming. The defense obtained admissions from the child's mother concerning her knowledge of the claimed problems with the door and the lack of notice to the Defendant. These admissions contradicted aspects of Plaintiffs' Complaint. Despite the presence of the injured child and her mother at the summary judgment hearing, the Court granted final summary judgment in favor of the Defendant.  



Susan S. Erdelyi and Meagan Logan of Marks Gray in Jacksonville obtained a defense defense verdict in Hughes vs.City of Lake City, Case No.3:12-cv-158-J-32-JBT, filed U.S.District Court for the Middle District of Florida Jacksonville Division. 

The plaintiff, a former Lake City police officer, claims he was retaliated against and wrongfully fired for filing a charge of employment discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The plaintiff, 44 at trial, contended he was targeted for harassment and discriminated against during his employment as a Lake City police officer. The plaintiff states that as a result of his complaints of discrimination, including filing a complaint with the EEOC, he was wrongfully terminated by the police chief.

The defendant, the City of Lake City, contended the cause of the officer's dismissal was predicated by an internal affairs investigation finding that the police officer gave false information and neglected his duties. The defendant argued the plaintiff lied to his supervisor over the status of his police car. The defendant states the plaintiff was aware of an internal investigation days before he complained of discrimination.

The first trial, held in April 2015, resulted in a hung jury. The second trial was held in June, 2015. The defense successfully proved that Plaintiff was not subject to an Internal Affairs Investigation or termination because of his complaints of discrimination.

The jury deliberated for approximately three hours and found for the defendant.

Jennings L. Hurt III of the Orlando, Florida, office of Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McLain, P.A., assisted by colleagues from the firm and attorneys from a West Palm Beach firm, obtained a defense verdict on March 31, 2015 on behalf of Dr. Sam Kaufman and Women's Healthcare Associates in Palm Beach County, Florida. 
Plaintiffs claimed Jordan MacDonald suffered cerebral palsy and brain damage as a result of Dr. Kaufman's use of a vacuum during Mrs. MacDonald's March 6, 1998 delivery.  The trial began on February 24, 2015 and ended on March 31, 2015.  Plaintiffs were represented by Gary Cohen and Andrew Yaffa of Grossman Roth, P.A.
Plaintiffs claimed that Dr. Kaufman's use of a vacuum to assist in the delivery of Jordan MacDonald on March 6, 1998, caused Jordan's significant brain damage and cerebral palsy. They claimed that Dr. Kaufman had been negligent for deciding to use the vacuum and that he had not obtained informed consent before using the vacuum. They argued that the vacuum was not indicated and that Dr. Kaufman should have allowed Ms. MacDonald to continue pushing. They also argued that Dr. Kaufman was in a rush to deliver the baby because he was more concerned with taking care of his car trouble than with Ms. MacDonald or the baby.
The defense argued that using the vacuum in these circumstances was indicated because the baby's head was essentially crowning (low outlet presentation) and Ms. MacDonald was not pushing effectively enough to deliver the baby. She was in pain, tired, and was requesting further epidural.
Dr. Kaufman had no independent recollection of the delivery but testified that he had never used a vacuum to deliver a baby without first discussing it with the patient and obtaining her consent. He had no reason to believe that he did not follow his routine practice with this delivery.
Causation was a significant issue. Plaintiffs claimed that the vacuum had placed negative pressure on the baby's brain, resulting in a derangement of the brain's internal blood flow and thereby causing a hypoxic brain injury and CP. The defense presented expert opinions showing that this theory had no scientific basis and was not accepted in the medical community. The defense also showed how there was no evidence of a hypoxic ischemic injury to the baby's brain, both clinically and on MRI scans.
Specifically, there was no evidence of any intracranial bleed or hypoxic brain injury on any radiology studies, including an ultrasound of the head performed at four days of life and an MRI done when the child was 17 months old. Further, the neonatologist who treated the child after delivery testified that there was no clinical sign of a hypoxic brain injury during the first week of life. In fact, it was undisputed that the child appeared normal until he began to miss developmental milestones at around eight months of age.
The defense evidence was that about 80-90 percent of CP occurs in utero, well before labor and delivery, and that approximately 50 percent of those cases are likely caused by a subclinical infection which is not apparent to the patient or her physicians. Jordan's MRIs showed a white matter only damage pattern typical of an in-utero infection.
The jury deliberated six and a half hours. Plaintiffs have agreed to not pursue a motion for new trial or an appeal in exchange for the defense's agreement to waive all claims for attorneys' fees and costs.
This was the third time the case was tried. The first trial in August 2011 ended in a mistrial on August 18, 2011 after two weeks. The second trial began September 12, 2011 and ended with a defense verdict on October 13, 2011. The trial court granted a new trial. The 4th DCA affirmed the order in a per curiam decision without opinion. Florida law provides that an appellate court must give great deference to the trial court when reviewing an order granting a new trial.

Jennings L. Hurt III of Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue & McLain, P.A. in Orlando, Florida, teamed with one of his partners to obtain a defense verdict on April 10, 2015 in a medical malpractice jury trial in Orlando. Plaintiff Charles Krazit, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Dale Krazit, alleged that his wife, Dale Krazit, suffered a deep venous thrombosis (DVT) that led to a pulmonary embolus as a result of Dr. Cole's alleged failure to provide chemical DVT prophylaxis following a September 17, 2009, surgery on her left elbow.
Plaintiff alleged that Dr. Cole failed to prescribe Lovenox, an anti-coagulant, upon Ms. Krazit's discharge from Florida Hospital Orlando on Friday, September 18, 2009. Ms. Krazit had undergone a fifth elbow surgery on September 17, 2009 in a continued attempt to repair damage Ms. Krazit had sustained following a fracture in August of 2007. Plaintiff's experts argued that given Ms. Krazit's age, body habitus, and the fact that she was on hormone replacement therapy mandated that Dr. Cole provide prophylactic anti-coagulation to prevent deep venous thrombosis.
The defense countered, arguing that upper extremity surgery did not require prophylactic anti-coagulation. The defense argued that mobilization (walking) was sufficient to serve as DVT prophylaxis.
The evidence at trial indicated that Ms. Krazit's husband, Charles Krazit, failed to take his wife to the emergency room following her discharge when it was apparent that his wife was suffering from nausea and vomiting.  Instead, Mr. Krazit allowed his wife to remain immobile throughout the weekend, thereby contributing to the formation of deep venous thrombosis and the resulting pulmonary embolus which ultimately caused her death on September 21, 2009 at approximately 6:30 p.m. 
In closing, plaintiff demanded $411,106 in economic damages and $3.9 million in intangible damages for total damages of $4,311,106. The trial lasted two weeks and the jury returned a defense verdict in three hours, 56 minutes.



Caryn L. Bellus
Kubicki Draper
Phone: 305-982-6634 
The Amicus Committee is seeking FDLA members ready, willing
and able to author amicus briefs.

Benjamin A. Kashi, Esq.
Cooney Trybus Kwavnick Peets PLC
Phone: 954-568-5091

The Auto Transportation Committee is looking to coordinate bands of happy hour/social events from county to county (in which there is membership) throughout the entire state.  If a particular auto law committee member is interested in taking the lead for his or her own county, please email the Auto Law Chair, Benny Kashi, at bkashi@ctkplaw.com. Benny will then forward the list of volunteers to the Committee as a whole to facilitate in person auto law social gatherings statewide. Let's start putting a face to the names.
The Auto Transportation Committee will present an auto webinar for the FDLA Lunch & Learn Webinar Series on February 11, 2016.
The Auto Committee is looking for members who are interested in preparing an article for the Spring issue of the Trial Advocate Quarterly. Please let Benny know if you are interested.
Please feel free to circulate ideas (email is great) to help the Auto Committee address your practice needs and to make this Committee as effective as possible. The stronger the participation, the better the result will be. Thank you for your membership.
The Auto Transportation Committee submitted Case Notes for this issue of deFENSE POST.  
J. Charles Ingram, Esq. 
Estes Ingram Foels & Gibbs PA
Phone: 407-481-9449

David A Corso, Esq.
Fisher Rushmer
Phone: 407-843-2111

FDLA's Advanced Litigation Boot Camp 
Goes for Another 10!
On 10/30/15, we will convene in Longwood for our 6th annual Advanced Litigation Boot Camp.  11 CLE (including 2.5 ethics) and Certification credits requested from The Florida Bar.
We'll have 10+ great FDLA speakers and brave registrants committed to the challenge. 
For additional information on the 2015 FDLA Advanced Litigation Boot Camp, click on the link below to download the registration brochure:

If anyone has any suggestions regarding topics for future seminars or webinars, please contact either of the CLE Committee co-chairs: Chuck Ingram or David Corso.

Michael B. Bittner, Esq.
Marks Gray
Phone: 904-398-0900

The Construction Law Committee will present a webinar kicking off the FDLA Lunch & Learn Webinar Series on Tuesday, November 10, 2015.  Please plan to join us.

Meagan L. Logan, Esq.
Marks Gray PA
Phone: 904-807-2145
FDLA Welcomes the new chair of the Government Law Committee!  If any FDLA member has an interest in participating in this committee, please contact the chair.

Christienne H. Sherouse, Esq.
Gaebe Mullen Antonelli & DiMatteo
Phone: 305-667-0223

Alva Cross Crawford, Esq.
Cross HR Law
Phone: 813-727-4574

FDLA Welcomes the new chair of the Labor/Employment Law Committee!  If any FDLA member has an interest in participating in this committee, please contact the chair.
FDLA extends its thanks and appreciation to Michael Spellman for serving as the chair of this committee for many years!

John A. Chiocca, Esq.
Chiocca & Chiocca PA
Phone: 561-253-0230

Heath L. Vickers, Esq.
Marks Gray
Phone: 904-807-2163

As the new co-chairs of the Premises Liability Committee, we sent an email to the Committee Members wherein we introduced ourselves and provided some thoughts as to how we could accomplish the FDLA's stated goal, and we intend to set up an email discussion group amongst our committee.
We are open to any suggestions that you might have as to how we 
can improve this Committee. Please feel free to contact us by 
email or telephone.

Mark C. Greene, Esq.
Banker Lopez Gassler PA
Phone: 813-221-1500

Larry D. Smith
Southern Trial Counsel PLC
Phone: 407-422-6100

Carrie M. Roane, Esq.
Guilday Schwartz Simpson West Hatch & Lowe PA   
Phone: 850-224-7091

Renee F Knaust, Esq.
Beytin McLaughlin
Phone: 813-226-3000
Matthew J. Lavisky, Esq.
Butler Pappas Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP
Phone: 813-281-1900

The TAQ committee continues to publish articles of interest
to the membership.

Reinaldo Alvarez
Luks Santaniello Petrillo & Jones
Phone: 305-377-8900

John M. Miller, Esq.
Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt PA
Phone: 239-344-1310

Brett M. Henson, Esq.
Dickinson & Gibbons PA
Phone: 941-336-4680

Miguel R. Roura, Esq.
Roig Lawyers
Phone: 813-514-1865

FDLA Welcomes the new vice-chairs of the Young Lawyer Committee!
The Young Lawyers Committee will be holding its first quarterly conference call on 9/30/15 at 12 p.m..  Please be on the lookout for more information via email or contact Brett Henson at bhenson@dglawyers.com.

If you are interested in joining-or becoming active in any of FDLA's committees, please contact either the Committee Chair or the FDLA office (ljude@fdla.org).

Join a Committee TODAY!!

Case Notes
Submitted by the Auto/Transportation Committee 

  • Last month, in Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange v. Clark, 40 Fla. L. Weekly D1810 (Fla. 5th DCA 2015), an adverse judgment against an excess insurer in its declaratory judgment action was reversed, with directions to the trial court to enter judgment in favor of the insurer. At issue was whether the insureds, through their agent, made a material misrepresentation during the application process by failing to tell the insurer that their son, a known high risk driver, was a licensed family member. The insurer sought not only a declaration of no coverage, but also rescission from the policy. The insureds argued that there was no showing that they intentionally failed to disclose their son as a licensed family member; however, the appellate court held that no such showing was required under the policy or s. 627.409(1), Florida Statutes. The misrepresentation need only affect the insurer's risk or be a fact which, if known, would have caused the insurer not to issue the policy or not to issue it in so large an amount. The reversal was based upon the fact there was no record evidence to show that the insurer was not misled.

  • In Krisztian v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 40 Fla. L. Weekly D1689 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015), an insurer brought a subrogation action that arose out of an auto accident. The insurer tried to serve process personally on the defendant at multiple different addresses over the course of three years and finally opted to effect substitute service on the defendant by private mailbox within the ambit of s. 48.031(6), Florida Statutes. Although the appellate court was sympathetic to the insurer, as it appeared that the defendant was evading service, it held that the substitute service was insufficient and that the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction to impose a default final judgment against the defendant. The appellate court reasoned that the substitute service statutes must be interpreted strictly to protect a defendant's due process rights and that the statutory provision regarding service by private mailbox requires as a precondition that the private mailbox address be the only address discoverable through the public records for the person to be served. Unfortunately, the insurer was able to find more than one address through the public records, which precluded service by this particular method of substitute service.


FDLA Invites All Members in Southwest to 
Brown Bag Lunch 

The FDLA invites all members in the Southwest Florida area to attend a brown bag lunch to discuss recent trends, experts, and recent verdicts/decisions confronting defense lawyers in Southwest Florida. We also highly encourage FDLA members to invite other defense lawyers who are not currently FDLA members to this event. The brown bag lunch will take place at Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., 1715 Monroe Street, Fort Myers from noon to 1pm on Thursday, September 24, 2015. Please RSVP to Traci McKee at traci.mckee@henlaw.com.


 Kimberly Kanoff Berman elected President of the Third District Court of Appeal Historical Society
Senior Associate Kimberly Kanoff Berman of McIntosh Sawran & Cartaya, P.A., has been elected President of the Third District Court of Appeal Historical Society for the 2015-2016 term. Ms. Berman heads the firm's appellate/litigation support division and is resident in the firm's Fort Lauderdale office.
In addition to its Fort Lauderdale headquarters, the firm also maintains offices in Miami, West Palm Beach and Orlando.


Ed Carbone to Speak at The Florida Bar's 7th Annual FUNdamentals: 
Lawyers at the Bedside: The Intersection of Legal and 
Medical Ethics CLE Program

Roig Lawyers is pleased to announce that Ed Carbone spoke at The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Committee and the Health Law Section's 7th Annual FUNdamentals:  Lawyers at the Bedside: The Intersection of Legal and Medical Ethics CLE program on September 18, 2015 at the Orlando Airport Marriott.
Carbone discussed the intersection of legal principles and medical ethics primarily in the context of hospital ethics committees. The discussion included issues when what is legally permissible or legally required diverges from what is medically ethical, as well as situations where interests of patients, providers and facilities conflict.
Back by popular demand, the annual don't miss FUNdamentals of Florida healthcare law CLE program focused this year on lawyers at the bedside - the intersection of legal and medical ethics.This lively and fast-paced program featured 4.5 hours of legal ethics credit and was designed to be immediately useful to attorneys, medical professionals and healthcare consultants needing to better understand legal and medical ethics issues that arise when interests of the legal profession, the medical profession, patients and patients' families collide.
Carbone is the head of the firm's healthcare practice and primarily represents hospitals, physicians, hospices, and other healthcare providers. He defends providers against claims for medical malpractice, general negligence, billing and collections issues, and other claims, both at trial and on appeal. He has significant experience handling birth injury claims, including disputes over the applicability of Florida's Neurological Injury Compensation Association (NICA) no-fault compensation program for birth-related neurological injuries. He is a graduate of Boston College (B.A., 1991) and Boston College Law School (J.D., 1994).


Roig Lawyers Managing Partner of the Miami office, 
Nelson C. Bellido, Recognized as Florida Legal Elite
Roig Lawyers, a minority-owned multi-practice litigation law firm dedicated to serving clients across six offices throughout Florida, is pleased to announce that Nelson C. Bellido was recently recognized in the 2015 edition of Florida Trend's Florida Legal Elite™. 
The list of 1,131 honorees, published in the July issue of Florida Trend magazine, includes attorneys in private practice as well as top government and non-profit attorneys. Actively practicing Florida attorneys were asked to name the attorneys that they hold in highest regard as professionals - lawyers with whom they have personally worked and would recommend to others. "Florida Trend has grown into one of the state's most trusted media resources and its Legal Elite special report has become the standard for identifying peer-rated attorneys who are among the top legal talent in Florida," notes Florida Bar President Ramón A. Abadin.
Nelson's main areas of practice are in complex commercial litigation, insurance defense litigation, insurance fraud special investigations, finance law, products liability and shareholder and partnership disputes. He also has experience in shipping and trade laws, construction litigation, real estate litigation, employment litigation, complex asset recovery and creation of business documents. He has experience litigating cases in state and federal court as well as arbitration proceedings.
Nelson is a graduate of Duke University (A.B., 1989) and the University of Florida College of Law (J.D., 1992).

Roig Lawyers Managing Partner of the Miami Office, Nelson C. Bellido, Appointed Chairperson of Duke University Alumni Association
Advisory Council

Roig Lawyers, is pleased to announce that Nelson C. Bellido has been appointed Chairperson of the Duke Alumni Association Advisory Council.
The Duke Alumni Association Advisory Council (DAAAC), made up of former Duke Alumni Association (DAA) board members, was created in 2012 to help former board members continue in their work of helping to engage, connect, and celebrate Duke's alumni. Members contribute to the mission and goals of the DAA Board by providing support in several areas: recognition of leaders, interface with regional volunteers, coordination with DAA initiatives, service in an advisory capacity, and attendance at DAA events.
Nelson is heavily involved with Duke University. He formerly served as President of the Duke Alumni Association of Miami & Ft. Lauderdale from 1999 to 2011.  He presently serves as National Chairperson of the Duke Hispanic/Latino Alumni Association, whose objectives are to promote and provide communication among and services for the Duke Hispanic community and its alumni, to assist in recruitment of Latino students, faculty and administration into the University and to support the University in its efforts to increase sensitivity toward the shared culture and interests of its Hispanic community and alumni.  In addition, Nelson serves as Chairperson of the Duke Alums Engage Community Service Program in South Florida which has partnered with organizations such as the Overtown Youth Center, Children's Home Society, Miami Children's Museum, and Missionaries of Charity to serve less fortunate individuals in our community.


 Andrew S. Bolin, Esq.
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara Bocchino & Bolin
201 N Franklin St #2900
Tampa FL 33602
Phone: 813-226-3000
Fax: 813-226-3001

Robert E. Bonner, Esq.
Meier Bonner Muszynski  O'Dell & Harvey PA
260 Wekiva Springs Road #2000
Longwood FL 32779
Phone: 407-872-7774
Fax: 407-872-7997

Jeffrey W. Johnson, Esq.
Johnson Law Group
1900 NW Corporate Blvd #450W
Boca Raton FL 33431
Phone: 561-994-9433
Fax: 561-994-9099

Immediate Past President
Dale J. Paleschic, Esq.
Luks Santaniello Petrillo & Jones
301 West Bay Street #1050
Jacksonville  FL 32202
Phone: 904-791-9191
Fax: 904-791-9196

Directors-District 1
 Douglas P. Jones, Esq.
Carr Allison Pugh Howard Oliver & Sisson
305 S Gadsden St
Tallahassee  FL 32301
Phone: 850-222-2107
Fax: 850-222-8475
Carrie M Roane, Esq.
Guilday Schwartz Simpson West Hatch & Lowe PA
1986 Centre Pointe Blvd #200
Tallahassee FL 32308
Phone: 850-224-7091
Fax: 850-222-2593

Directors-District 2
Traci T. McKee, Esq.
Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt PA
PO Box 280
Ft Myers, FL 33902-0280
Phone: 239-344-1100
Fax: 239-344-1539
Edward J Carbone, Esq.
Roig Lawyers
100 S Ashley Dr #1350
Tampa FL 33602
Phone: 813-514-1865

Directors-District 3
Aaron P. Davis, Esq.
Thornton Davis & Fein PA
80 SW 8th St #2900
Miami FL 33130
Phone: 305-446-2646
Fax: 305-441-2374
Devang Desai, Esq.
Gaebe Mullen Antonelli & DiMatteo
420 So Dixie Hwy 3rd Flr
Coral Gables   FL 33146 
Phone: 305-667-0223
Directors-District 4
 Mark J. Rose, Esq.
Roig Lawyers
1255 S Military Trail #100
Deerfield Beach FL 33442
Phone: 954-462-0330
Fax: 954-462-7798
Bruce M. Trybus, Esq.
Cooney Trybus Kwavnick Peets PLC
1600 W Commercial Blvd #200
Ft Lauderdale FL 33309
Phone: 954-568-6669
Fax: 954-568-0085
Directors-District 5
David A Corso, Esq.
Fisher Rushmer
PO Box 3753
Orlando FL 32802-3753
Phone: 407-843-2111
  Fax: 407-422-1080
Francis E. Pierce IV, Esq.
Seipp Flick & Hosley
1064 Greenwood Blvd #212
Lake Mary FL 32746
Phone: 407-585-7600
Fax: 407-585-7610

Young Lawyer
John M. Miller, Esq.
Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt PA
PO Box 280
Ft Myers, FL 33902-0280
Phone: 239-344-1310
Fax: 239-344-1591


2015 FDLA Annual Meeting 

Attendees of the 2015 FDLA Annual Meeting treated themselves to an undeniably luxurious experience at The Vinoy® Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club-the site for this year's meeting.  For over For 85 years, this St. Petersburg luxury hotel has been a place to relax, play, indulge, and savor the good life.
From the opening reception on Thursday evening to the Dinner-Dance on Saturday, the 2015 FDLA Annual meeting was an opportunity to renew old friendships and make new ones with other lawyers and their families from around the state. 

A variety of topics were presented during the educational portion of the meeting on Friday and Saturday mornings.  Topics/speakers included:

E-Discovery in State Court (Peter L. Wechsler-Wechsler Law Group-Pinecrest, FL); 
Life Care Plans and the Affordable Care Act (Ralph F. Valitutti-Kitch Drutchas Wagner Valitutti & Sherbrook-Mt. Clemens, MI);  Settlement Agreements that Stick (Traci McKee and Michael J. Corso (stepping in for Richard Akin)-Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt-Ft. Myers, FL);Bad Faith in Property Loss Claims in Florida (Robert C. Groelle-Groelle and Salmon PA-Palm Beach, FL); Social Media Discovery (Glenn P. Falk Jr.-Falk Waas Hernandez Cortina Solomon Bonner PA-Coral Gables, FL); and Derailing the Reptile Safety Rule Attack: A Neurocognitive Analysis and Solution (Bill Kanasky Jr.-Courtroom Sciences-Orlando, FL).
The seminar was approved for 6.5 credits, including 1.0 ethics and 6.50 Civil Trial Certification and 6.5 Business Litigation Certification by The Florida Bar. 

On Friday evening, FDLA experienced a unique event at the Dalí Museum when FDLA took over the museum. There was food for all ages and a scavenger hunt for those who wanted to see and learn about Salvador Dali.
at the Annual Business meeting on Saturday morning (August 8) FDLA elected officers and directors for the upcoming year. Dale J. Paleschic (Luks Santaniello, Jacksonville) handed the presidential gavel to Andrew S. Bolin (Beytin, McLaughlin, McLaughlin, O'Hara, Bocchino & Bolin, Tampa) FDLA's new president. Joining Andy as officers of the Association are Robert E. Bonner (Meier Bonner Muszynski  O'Dell & Harvey PA, Longwood) president-elect and Jeffrey W. Johnson (Johnson Law Group, Boca Raton) secretary-treasurer. 
Newly elected Directors are Carrie M. Roane (Guilday Schwartz Simpson West Hatch & Lowe PAfrom District 1, Aaron P. Davis  (Thornton Davis & Fein PA) from District 3, Mark J. Rose  (Roig Lawyers (District 4) and Francis E. Pierce IV (Seipp Flick & Hosley)  from District 5. Devang Desai, Gaebe Mullen Antonelli & DiMatteo, (District 3) and Bruce M. Trybus, Cooney Trybus Kwavnick Peets PLC (District 4), were re-elected.
The other FDLA directors are. Douglas P. Jones, Carr Allison Pugh Howard Oliver & Sisson  (District 1); Traci T. McKee, Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt PA (District 2); Edward J. Carbone, Roig Lawyers  (District 2); David A. Corso, Fisher Rushmer PA  (District 5), and John M. Miller, Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt PA (Young Lawyer Director).
FDLA expresses its thanks to Michel D. McCoy, Cole Scott & Kissane PA (District 1), Sally Seltzer, Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer PA (District 3) and J. Charles Ingram, Estes Ingram Foels & Gibbs PA (District 5), for their efforts on behalf of the Association. Their dedication to FDLA while serving as directors is greatly appreciated.
A highlight of each Annual Meeting is the FDLA awards presentation and this year was no exception. FDLA extends its congratulations and appreciation to those receiving awards.  
This year FDLA held a 50/50 Raffle to benefit Shands Children's Hospital. Shands Children's Hospital offers some of the most specialized pediatric programs for the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of complex conditions. Thanks to all who took part!
A "special thanks" to Dale J. Paleshic for putting together this year's FDLA Annual Meeting! 
Mark your calendars for the 2016 FDLA Annual Meeting at LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort in Naples FL, September 22-25, 2016--make your plans NOW to attend!!




In recognition of superlative members' dedication to FDLA and all its goals
Daniel J. Santaniello
(Luks Santaniello Petrillo & Jones in Ft Lauderdale)

J. Charles Ingram 
(Estes Ingram Foels & Gibbs PA in Orlando)

In recognition for exceeding the standards of excellence, dedication and commitment to FDLA 
and its goals
C. Ryan Jones
(Traub Lieberman Straus Shrewsberry LLP in St. Petersburg)

Kansas R. Gooden
(Boyd & Jenerette PA in Jacksonville)  

Matthew J. Lavisky 
(Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP in Tampa)

Douglas P. Jones 
(Carr Allison Pugh Howard Oliver & Sisson in Tallahassee)

In appreciation for your leadership
Daniel J. Santaniello 
(Luks Santaniello Petrillo & Jones in Ft Lauderdale)

Dale J. Paleschic 
(Luks Santaniello Petrillo & Jones in Jacksonville)

Awards were presented to each officer and director for 2014-2015 
recognizing his/her contribution to FDLA.

Andy Bolin presented out-going FDLA president Dale Paleschic with the traditional gift. 
Dale received an autographed Gators football.

Advanced Litigation 
"Boot Camp"
October 30, 2015
FDLA Goes for another 10!
Great Speakers!
10 CLE Hours!*
All In One Day!
All for only $225.00
Protegrity Conference Center
280 Wekiva Springs Road
Longwood, FL 32779
*11 CLER (including 2.5 ethics) Requested from The Florida Bar
Civil Trial Certification credits also requisted
This seminar is for every defense attorney serious about improving his/her litigation skills.
  • Do you want to develop a more effective litigation practice?
  • Do you wonder if you need to perfect your jury selection and video deposition skills? You will learn critical skills to be more effective in both these area.
  • You will learn how to preserve the record for appeal.
  • You will learn what Daubert means to the defense practice.
  • You will learn how to "slay the reptile theory".
  • You will learn about motions to dismiss based on fraud on the court.
  • You will learn how to handle cases dealing with negligent security.
  • You will learn new developments in the case law update.
  • You will learn the "top ten ways to avoid malpractice".
  • You should attend!
Plan to join FDLA on Friday, 
October 30, 2015
Click on the link below to download 
the registration brochure:


January 13-18, 2016

FDLA is thrilled to return to Big Sky, Montana for the 2016 Winter Seminar!! Those of you who have been with us in Big Sky for past Winter Seminars know how fantastic a place it is. Please plan to join us for the 2016 event, January 13-18, 2016. 
In keeping with FDLA Winter Seminar tradition, CLE programs are exceptional and 2013 will be no different. The program has become known for lively discussions and exchange of cutting-edge ideas.
The mountain at Big Sky is massive, with plenty of trails for all ski levels, and even on the holiday weekend, even at the main lift area at the bottom of the mountain, there are no lift lines. The resort is very accommodating, welcoming, and eager to have us back. 
A limited number of rooms remain in the block. Don't wait any longer--
Reserve your room now by contacting Nell McInnish at 800-365-1224 or nell.mcinnish@andavotravel.com
Contact Nell TODAY and join FDLA in Big Sky, Montana for 
The 2016 Winter Seminar!

The seminar brochure is available on the FDLA website. Click on the link below to download the PDF brochure:

---Hold these dates---
Mark your calendar now
20th Annual
Florida Liability Claims
Conference 2016
-June 8-11, 2016-
Disney's Contemporary Resort
4600 North World Drive
Lake Buena Vista, Florida
September 22-25, 2016
LaPlaya Beach 
& Golf Resort
Naples, FL

Be sure to mark your calendars and plan to attend the 2016 FDLA Annual Meeting at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort! Join FDLA as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary!
The unmatched calm waters of the Gulf are a focal point of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort. As the only true beachfront resort in Naples, attendees will learn, dine, relax, and sleep all while listening to the gentle sounds of the waves hitting the beach.

Like all FDLA events, the seminar topics will be outstanding!
Learn more about LaPlaya and to see all that this location has to offer,
The LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort offers white sand beaches, elegant rooms, fitness center, rejuvenating spa and a private golf course.
Come stay with FDLA at one of the best Naples, Florida hotels!
Watch for room reservation and registration information-you will want to attend the 2016 FDLA Annual Meeting!




Tuesday, November 10, 2015

11:30 am - 12:45 pm EDT

FDLA is pleased to announce the first in a series of LUNCH & LEARN WEBINARS!
Electronic Discovery: Understanding the Framework of Florida Electronic Discovery Law and Practical Tips for Management

E-discovery has become a necessary piece of virtually all litigation. The presentation will discuss the current state of 
E-discovery law and tips for streamlined and cost-effective methods of management. 
Course Instructor:
Michael B. Bittner, Esq.
Marks Gray PA
Jacksonville, FL
CLER:1.50 CLER Requested from The Florida Bar 
Registration Fee: $109.00
Register NOW by clicking on the secure link below
Join us on November 10, 2015 

FDLA and DRI to 
Host Networking Event!

Please join
 for a special networking event!
Thursday, October 15, 2015
6:00pm to 8:00 pm
Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig
3600 McClay Blvd #101
Tallahassee Florida
RSVP to Linda Jude at ljude@fdla.org.
Bring a non-DRI member to the networking reception and 
your guest will receive a FREE One-Year DRI Membership!
Hope to see you there!

Copyright © 2015


deFENSE POST is published four times a year by the Florida Defense Lawyers Association.


While information in deFENSE POST is believed to be accurate, it is recommended that interested parties telephone or write to the submitting attorney named in each case report or article before incorporating the information into their work product.


Items of interest to the membership are welcome and may be sent to the Association office for inclusion in deFENSE POST.


Linda L. Jude, Executive Director

Florida Defense Lawyers Association

6105 M Memorial Highway

PO Box 260037

Tampa, Florida 33685

Phone:(813) 885-9888

Fax:(813) 885-5547

E-mail: ljude@fdla.org