Summer 2016

Volume XVIII, Issue 2   


Inside this issue:
President's Column
Member Profile
FDLA New Members
Defense Verdicts
Committee News
Civil Trial Law Board Certification Rules Tweaked!
FDLA's NEW Website!
Election Notice!
FDLA Lunch & Learn: Limiting Damages in Premises Liability Cases
2016 Annual Meeting
FDLA 3rd Lunch & Learn
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 The content of deFENSE POST depends on

information from

 FDLA members.


The date to remember to submit your "news" for the Fall 2016 issue of deFENSE POST is August 1, 2016 - send your news in NOW!

Dates to Remeber
August 9, 2016
Limiting Damages in Premises
Liability Cases
September 22-25, 2016 
LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort
Naples, Florida 
October 2016 
Watch for details 
January 11-16, 2017
Big Sky Mountain
June 7-10, 2017

Disney's Contemporary
Lake Buena Vista, Florida

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


Watch your emails for notices/information on 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
FDLA Office
P: 813-885-9888

The next  
Board Meeting is  
Thursday, September 22, 2016.
Andrew S. Bolin 
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara Bocchino & 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 Summer 2016 Electronic Edition of 
President's Column
Andrew S. Bolin
FDLA President
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara 
Bocchino & Bolin 
Tampa, FL

Looking Towards the Future 

It has been an honor to serve as President of FDLA this year. This has been a very rewarding fulfillment of a personal professional goal and I have appreciated this opportunity greatly. It was our goal this year to honor our past by continuing our rich traditions while positioning our organization to be a viable and valuable asset to the defense community in future years. I am pleased to report that we have accomplished our goals. 
We held more CLE programs than in any year of our 50-year history. We are excited at the success of our lunch and learn webinars that hundreds of our members enjoyed throughout this year. These CLE opportunities will continue in coming years. They are not only a great way to stay current on the law, but a great opportunity to distinguish yourself as an attorney by presenting during this series. If you have an idea for a topic that you think might be useful to our members, please make sure you reach out to someone in leadership. Once the webinar is scheduled, don't forget to notify your clients and post the webinar on your website for marketing. 
We launched our new website this year, which is a more dynamic and interactive tool for our membership. It allows members to research opposing experts and obtain impeachment materials, identify specialists for their cases, and exchange ideas on our message boards. The website also allows defense attorneys to join FDLA, pay dues, and register for our conferences online. We have already begun to see new members join our ranks for the first time through contact with our website. As with any new venture, it will have some errors and bugs. If you see something that needs to be changed or a modification that might allow the site to operate more efficiently, let us know. Remember, this is your website and we want it to serve you!
We have also seen more new first time members join this year than we have in years. FDLA must continue to evolve to make sure we are serving these members to the best of our ability while being innovative in finding ways to continue to attract more new members. Our strength as an organization truly comes from the collective ideas of our membership. I encourage each of you to continue to make FDLA a priority in your personal practices and in the practice of your law firms. 
I look forward to watching the things we implemented this year continue to grow and improve under future leadership. The FDLA has always been as important to my law practice as anything else I am involved in and you won't have to look far at conferences or within the organization to find me, but as I bring this year to a close I truly want to thank everyone I have worked with this year that has helped to make this year a success. 
First, FDLA's executive director Linda Jude. Most of our membership has no idea the hours of hard work and the countless issues that arise during our conferences and the day to day operations, because Linda does such a great job with the logistics of the organization that it looks easy! I assure you it is not, but for the President of FDLA life is much easier because of her efforts. At the next conference you attend, make sure you find Linda and thank her for her efforts. The FDLA would not be the organization it is without her. 

Also, the Board of Directors has been outstanding. (District 1:  Douglas P. Jones and Carrie M. Roane;  District 2: Traci T. McKee and Edward J. Carbone;  District 3: Devang Desai and Aaron P. Davis;  District 4: Bruce M. Trybus and Mark J. Rose; District 5: David A. Corso and Francis E. Pierce IV; Young Lawyer Director: John M. Miller; President Elect: Robert E. Bonner; Secretary/Treasurer: Jeffrey W. Johnson). I have asked more of them this year than was probably fair and they have responded with the hard work and professionalism we have come to expect of our leadership. The fine people who serve on the FDLA board do so voluntarily, simply because they see the importance of our organization. They are all excellent lawyers, and more importantly excellent people. It has become a bit of an inside joke that I try to keep our board meetings on an efficient and short schedule, but it certainly is not because I mind spending time with this great group. The success of FDLA is directly tied to the efforts of this Board and the organization is in great hands. 
All that said, I'M NOT DONE YET! The annual meeting will be on September 22-25 at La Playa resort in Naples. Please make plans to join us! Each session of our program is going to have applicability to any lawyer who tries cases in Florida. You will not want to miss it. More importantly, we will have some great opportunities to spend time with your family and to socialize with the other FDLA families. All of our conference social events this year will be family-friendly, including a welcome reception open to all members where we will recognize and honor our past presidents. Our Saturday night event will be a family dinner overlooking the beach. We will present awards and have a great time celebrating another successful year. There will also be a number of optional activities that you and your family can choose from. I look forward to seeing you all there!
Andy Bolin

Member Profile
 Robert J. Cousins

    Music has always been a big part of my life.  Although I played sports in High School and College, I also enjoyed sitting down to the piano for my practice and music lessons.  After college I became a piano and organ salesman and then a manager for music stores.
    My first glimpse at trial law was through my wife Nancy, who was attending law school at the University of Buffalo.  During the early 70's, she was in the forefront of women entering law and was happy to have me sit in at classes where she was one of the few women attending.  I realized that trial law could be fun and it seemed only logical that I could use my skills as a salesman to persuade a jury in the courtroom. 
    When Nancy and I moved to Florida in 1976, I attended Nova Southeastern Law School. My first clerking job was with a prominent defense firm and focused on medical malpractice.  My career has remained in that area.
    In the early 1980's, before DRI became the unifying force that it is today,  FDLA participated in an organization known as the "Quad-States Defense Lawyers."  It brought together the defense organizations of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.  My first exposure to the leadership of these state organizations was when I was asked to tend bar at the infamous "hospitality suite" for one of the meetings.  I was so impressed with the experience and collegiality among the many outstanding lawyers in attendance that I decided to make it a personal goal to become involved in the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. It was the ideal way to continue learning and then to apply those skills in the courtroom.  After becoming active in the organization and eventually becoming Chairman of the annual meeting held in Pensacola, under then President Dick Collins, I moved on to the Board of Directors and had the privilege to eventually become President of the FDLA. 
    One of the most rewarding experiences during my service to the FDLA was to serve as the Chairman of the Inaugural Liability Claims Institute held in July 1998 at Walt Disney World in Orlando.  It was decided by the FDLA that we should sponsor a statewide conference in the hopes it would rival the then-popular workers' compensation event held every year in Orlando.  During that first year the event was considered an overwhelming success with over 300 attendees, 40 recognized sponsors and our key note speaker, Katherine Harris, who was then running for election as a State Senator. 
    I have now tried well in excess of 100 significant cases including medical malpractice, legal malpractice and other catastrophic cases. As a trial lawyer I continue to enjoy the challenge of the courtroom and the satisfaction that comes from preparing and presenting a good trial for my client.  More recently, people have started to ask why I keep trying cases.  My answer is quite simply that I still love what I do.  At this stage of my career, I enjoy working with younger attorneys and take pride in seeing growth in their skills as they advance their careers and move into the courtroom. 
    When asked what I think has been the most significant change in trial practice over the past 36 years, I can answer quite simply that it is the difference in collegiality and personal relationships that were so common among and between trial attorneys. I still believe   that picking up the phone, speaking with your opponent and working things out is the optimal way to resolve differences. Terse, sterile e-mails eliminate all personal interaction and have become an easy excuse to simply proceed with aggressive motions without regard to whether there is actually a person on the other side.
    During my experiences as a trial lawyer, the Florida Defense Lawyers has been a key component of my career. I hope that others find our organization to be as rewarding as I have.

Sarah M. Baggett
Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith
Tampa, FL
Gary F. Baumann
Baumann Gant & Keeley PA
Ft Lauderdale, FL
John M. Bringardner
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith
Tampa, FL
Adam C. Brown
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara Bocchino & Bolin PA
Tampa, FL
Christopher S. Branton
Hill Ward & Henderson PA
Tampa, FL
Rebecca L. Brock
Williams Leininger & Cosby PA
North Palm Beach, FL
Gary L Brown
Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Ft Lauderdale, FL
Catherine M. Carson-Freymann
Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson LLP
Sarasota, FL
Johanna W. Clark
Carlton Fields Jorden Burt PA
Orlando, FL
Chris D. Connally
Boyd Richards Parker Colonnelli
Ft Lauderdale, FL         
Jeffrey C. Cosby
Williams Leininger & Cosby PA
Stuart, FL
Erin M. Diaz
Wicker Smith  O'Hara McCoy & Ford
Tampa, FL
Daniel J. D'Alesio Jr.
UF Self Insurance Program
Jacksonville, FL 

Dale S. Dobuler
McIntosh Sawran & Cartaya PA
Miami, FL

Claudia S. Dominguez
Roig Lawyers
Deerfield Beach, FL
Brian D. Equi
Goldberg Segalla LLP
Orlando, FL
Glen P. Falk Jr.
Falk Waas Hernandez Cortina Solomon Bonner PA
Coral Gables, FL
Lindsay B. Frenkel
Roig Lawyers
Deerfield Beach, FL
Jonathan M. Fordin
Shutts & Bowen LLP
Miami, FL
Kyleen A. Hinkle
McCumber Daniels Buntz Hartig & Puig PA
Tampa, FL
William D. Jester
Galloway Johnson Tompkins Burr & Smith
Pensacola, FL
Stephanie C. Jimenez
Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer PA
Ft Lauderdale, FL
Steven L. Kay
Traub Lieberman Straus Shrewsberry LLP
Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Brendan N. Keeley
Baumann Gant & Keeley PA
Jacksonville, FL
Bria W. Kelley
Gaebe Mullen Antonelli  & DiMatteo
Coral Gables, FL
Carri S. Leininger
Williams Leininger & Cosby PA
North Palm Beach, FL
Kevin A. Lonzo
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara Bocchino & Bolin PA
Tampa, FL
Craig P. Liszt
Roig Lawyers
Miami, FL
Matthew D. Miller
Baumann Gant & Keeley PA
Tampa, FL
Michael K. Mittelmark
Michaud Mittelmark Marowitz & Asrani PLLC
Boca Raton, FL
Arielle K. Molinet-Peters
People's Trust Insurance Co
Deerfield Beach, FL
Sheena M. Murray
Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer PA
Orlando, FL
Eric J. Netcher
Dean Ringers Morgan & Lawton PA
Orlando, FL
Aimee L. Nielsen
Boyd Richards Parker Colonnelli
Ft Lauderdale, FL
Kevin T. O'Hara
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara Bocchino & Bolin
Orlando, FL
William A. Potucek
Fowler White Burnett
Miami, FL
Patricia G. Preciado
Roig Lawyers
Deerfield Beach, FL
Karita P. Ramkissoon
McIntosh Sawran & Cartaya PA
Miami, FL
Eduardo R. Robayna
Clarke Silverglate PA
Miami, FL 

Jeremy S. Roth
Roth Legal PLLC
Miami, FL
Jeffrey D. Ryan
Law Offices of Vivian M Knapp
West Palm Beach, FL
Stephen J. Samra       
Heritage Property & Casualty Insurance Company
Clearwater, FL
Nanci R. Schanerman
Thornton Davis & Fein PA
Miami, FL
William P. Schoel
Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig LLP
Tampa, FL
Susan E. Sewell
Mateer & Harbert PA
Orlando, FL
Brett A. Smith
Goodman McGuffey Lindsey & Johnson LLP
Orlando, FL
Richard A. Steele
DLD Lawyers
Ft Lauderdale, FL
Ronald Vestal
USAA Insurance Company
Brandon, FL
Johnny White
Pozo-Diaz & Pozo
Miami, FL 


Defense Verdicts  
Pierre J. Seacord and Laurette A. Balinsky of Ringer, Henry, Buckley & Seacord, P.A. obtained a defense verdict in the case of Carol Quinn v. Surendra Sirivolu, DDS & Starbase Dental, Inc.  Ms. Quinn alleged that Dr. Sirivolu performed dental care which fell below the acceptable standard of care and alleged that she required subsequent dental care and TMJ injuries as a result of Dr. Sirivolu's purported negligence.  She further alleged the injuries resulted in required surgical treatment, and ongoing, future TMJ care and treatment.
The Defendants denied liability and disputed causation and damages.  Dr. Bruce Gordy and Dr. Brian Fuselier both testified on behalf of the Defendants.  Dr. Gordy opined that Dr. Sirivolu's placement of the crown did not result in the open margin as alleged by Plaintiff, and therefore did not deviate from the standard of care.  Dr. Fuselier testified as to causation issues and that Ms. Quinn's TMJ was a pre-existing condition which did not result or become exacerbated as a result of any of Dr. Sirivolu's care or treatment. 
At the close of the Plaintiff's case, the defense successfully argued a Motion for Directed Verdict on significant causation issues. After two hours of deliberation, the jury returned a verdict for both Defendants.


Dennis P. Dore, Shareholder in the Jacksonville office of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, and his trial team obtained a defense verdict in a sinkhole case in Pinellas County, Florida. The insureds' premises are located in an area known as "sinkhole alley". The sinkhole claim was initially denied by the insurer, and after the insureds hired two of the more well known and successful experts who stated otherwise, a neutral evaluator agreed with the carrier. Additional experts testified at trial on behalf of the carrier. The jury deliberated a total of 16 minutes after a trial that went over the course of two separate weeks before reaching a complete defense verdict.



Kevin Jakab  and associate Anthony Salem of Jakab Law, PLLC, Jacksonville, Florida, obtained a complete defense verdict following a five-day trial in a motor vehicle case pending in Duval County.  

The case arose out of a 4:00 a.m. collision that occurred on December 4, 2011, between the plaintiff, a 45-year old male, and defendants, two 19-year-old females who were driving home from a small party.   Plaintiff alleged the driver of the defendants' vehicle failed to stop at a blinking red light at an intersection as he proceeded through a blinking yellow light.   As result, the defendants impacted the right rear bumper of the plaintiff's vehicle, resulting in the plaintiff's vehicle turning 180 degrees and slamming into a curb.

After extensive medical treatment, the plaintiff ultimately underwent a lumbar laminectomy surgery and contended that he sustained over $234,000 in past medical bills following the MVA.  Plaintiff requested over $1.4 million in total damages at close of trial. 

After deliberating approximately and hour and a half, the jury returned a verdict finding defendant 70 percent at fault and plaintiff 30 percent at fault for the MVA.  The jury awarded the plaintiff $500 in damages. After set-offs were applied, this amount was reduced to zero.

Defendants' motion for fees and costs, pursuant to a pre-trial proposal for settlement, is pending.




In December, 2015 Jeffrey Weiss of the Orlando law firm of Garganese, Weiss and D'Agresta and a colleague represented the City of Cocoa and two of its police officers in a Section 1983 excessive use of force lawsuit in the Orlando Division of the Federal District Court. Prior to trial, the City was granted final summary judgement and the case proceeded against the individual officers. Plaintiff, a middle aged female, alleged that the police officers used excessive force by tasing her repeatedly and spraying her with pepper spray in the course of her arrest which occurred inside her apartment. The officers were called to Plaintiff's apartment in the early morning hours after her neighbors complained about Plaintiff making too much noise by slamming doors and playing her music too loud. After the officers made initial contact with the Plaintiff, who initially assured them that she would be quiet, Plaintiff continued, in the officer's presence, to cause a commotion by yelling expletives at the neighbors and officers and slamming her door shut.
After the officers repeatedly warned her that she would be arrested if she did not calm down, Plaintiff persisted and then resisted the officers' attempts to arrest her by kicking, punching and running through her apartment. After multiple Taser deployments, which were compromised by Plaintiff's constant kicking and movement around the apartment, Plaintiff was eventually restrained and handcuffed. After Plaintiff was removed from her apartment Plaintiff continued to kick the officers as they tried to place her in the patrol car and which resulted in one of the officers deploying his chemical agent in Plaintiff's face. Plaintiff plead no contest to disturbing the peace and resisting arrest without violence, both misdemeanors. The two felony charges, resisting with violence and battery on a LEO were dropped as part of the deal.
At trial, Plaintiff admitted that she had been drinking prior to the incident and was "tipsy" when the officers arrived.  Plaintiff also handed the defense a gem on cross examination when she testified that she had been previously convicted of ten prior felonies. The actual number was really four. Notwithstanding, Plaintiff stood firm with her belief that the officers tased her and beat her up for no reason at all and that she had offered no resistance when she was told that she was under arrest. The only other witnesses were her boyfriend who supported some of Plaintiff's testimony and the complainant neighbors who saw Plaintiff resisting after she was removed from the apartment. Plaintiff had no expert and Defendants' use of force expert did a good job at explaining what the Taser is used for and why its use was appropriate under the facts. The case boiled down to a classic swearing match between Plaintiff and the officers.
After four hours of deliberations, the jury returned a complete defense verdict in favor of the officers. The verdict was not appealed. 



Francis E Pierce III (Mateer Harbert), recently received both a trial court order of first impression, not only in the State of Florida, but nationally as well, dismissing a claim with prejudice, and an affirmance of that trial court order by the First District Court of Appeal in Florida, which also noted that it was ruling on a matter of first impression in Florida.

In Angeli v Kluka, ___ So.3d ___ (Fla. 1st DCA 2016), 2016 WL 3001813 (May 25, 2016), Mr. Pierce represented a pediatrician and pediatric clinic in Pensacola, Florida in a claim by a father of a minor child who sued a pediatrician and pediatric clinic for the tort of battery and the unusual tort of tortious interference with parental relationship.  This claim arose as a result of two parents, who were separated but had equal custody rights, disagreeing concerning their minor children's elective health care.
The mother of the minor children wanted to have elective, non-emergent surgery performed on the children and the father objected, which caused the doctor to cancel the surgery.  Several months later, the mother again contacted the doctor to schedule surgery for one child and the father again objected.  The mother called the doctor's staff and indicated that the dispute had been worked out and that the father consented to the surgery.  Minor elective surgery was then performed with the mother signing the informed consent document.  The father alleged that the statement by the mother was a misrepresentation and he never gave consent.
The trial court, after finding a lack of authority in the State of Florida and only two analogous statues in the United States (New York and Puerto Rico) dealing with this issue, dismissed the father's complaint with prejudice, holding that the law only required one parent to give consent for non-emergent health care for a minor child.
The father argued that the result should be driven by either the physician refusing to perform the procedure or the physician going to court to obtain a court order to permit the procedure.  The trial court felt that this would put an undue burden on the health care provider, unduly delay procedures and potentially cause harm to the minor child.
On behalf of the pediatrician, the defense argued that there was no bar to delivering health care to a minor child with the consent of one parent.  There are a myriad of situations, such as households with two working parents, single parent households, households where one parent travels or where one parent is deployed with the military where obtaining dual consent would be unduly burdensome or impossible.  The trial court also noted in a footnote that other vagaries of life, including the purported death of one parent or paternity decisions could be involved as well.
The trial court dismissed the complaint with prejudice holding that as a matter of law, one parent's consent is all that is necessary to permit medical professionals and institutions to provide non-emergent health care to a minor child.
The Florida First District Court of Appeal affirmed the order of dismissal of the complaint by the trial court, stating: "We conclude, just as the trial court did, that Florida law does not require health care providers to assume the burden of refereeing or going to court to resolve disputes between parents, so long as at least one legally authorized person provides consent. One would hope that parents committed to successful co-parenting, as they should be, would resolve these disputes between themselves or with the informal assistance of counselors or advisors. Failing that, a parent seeking to prevent the rendition of medical care or treatment to which the other parent has consented can go to court to seek an injunction and resolve the dispute. This would seem particularly appropriate where, as here, the parents are already parties to a pending dissolution proceeding. In fact, the record indicates that the father later did precisely that in an attempt to prevent the older child from having adenoid surgery. If a court order deprives one parent of authority to consent to a minor child's medical care, or the parent is otherwise not legally authorized to consent, the burden of communicating that information to the health care provider lies with the parent opposing the rendition of care or treatment. The bottom line is that health care providers are not required to referee parental disputes about medical care for their minor children, and may render medical care or treatment upon the consent of only one parent."
This decision is the first authority available to pediatricians which allows them to focus on the health care of their patient, the child, rather than refereeing disputes between parents over who is in control of a minor's health care.

Martin Sitler, Managing Attorney of Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin's Jacksonville office, obtained a defense verdict in favor of a Jacksonville apartment complex following a three-day jury trial.  The plaintiff alleged that on a rainy day, when exiting the apartment complex's leasing office, she slipped on the top stair of the stairway leading from the leasing office to the parking lot.  The plaintiff claimed that she suffered a concussion, a torn rotator cuff, a partial tear of the superior labrum, and permanent back pain.  The plaintiff subsequently had surgery to repair her rotator cuff and superior labrum.  The plaintiff sought compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages and loss of earning capacity for the rest of her life, as well as pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life. The defense relied on the plaintiff's poor choice of footwear; her lack of credibility; and the lack of credibility of her witnesses. Additionally, the defense presented inconsistencies in the plaintiff's reporting of previous neck and back injuries to her treating physicians. The jury returned a defense verdict after less than an hour of deliberation. 

Rumberger Kirk & Caldwell attorneys Rob Blank and a colleague represented Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., in a premises lawsuit in the Tampa Division of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida.
Plaintiff alleged that on March 31, 2011, he was injured while working as a temporary employee of an independent subcontractor, Intelligrated Systems, LLC, at Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc.'s Auburndale bottling facility. Plaintiff alleges Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. was negligent in failing to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition and failing to warn of perils unknown to the plaintiff that could have been discovered by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. through the exercise of reasonable care.
Mr. Blank and his colleague filed a motion for final summary judgment arguing Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., was entitled to judgment as a matter of law based, in part, on workers' compensation immunity. Specifically, they argued that Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., was the plaintiff's "statutory employer" pursuant to the workers' compensation scheme, that the plaintiff previously received workers' compensation benefits through his employer for the subject accident, and therefore, that Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., was immune from suit.
Middle District of Florida District Court Judge Covington agreed, granting the motion on November 20, 2015, and entering final judgment in favor of Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc., on November 23, 2015. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc.'s motion for attorneys' fees and costs pursuant to a previously served proposal for settlement and motion to tax costs are pending.

On January 22, 2016, Jennings L. "Bucky" Hurt III and a colleague of Rissman, Barrett, Hurt, Donahue, McLain & Mangan, P.A., in Orlando, Florida, obtained a defense verdict for Ann Hunkar-Huie ARNP, and Cardiac Care Specialists in a medical malpractice wrongful death case tried in Orange County circuit court.
Plaintiff claimed that Ms. Hunkar-Huie had negligently failed to suspect that David Hess was suffering from pulmonary emboli during an office visit on September 21, 2006, and then negligently failed to order a work-up that would have led to diagnosis and treatment of the pulmonary emboli. Mr. Hess died 12 hours after the office visit. Plaintiff asked for $6,534,876 in closing. 
Both plaintiff and the defense had experts in cardiology, pulmonology, pathology, hematology, and vascular surgery. Plaintiff also called a nurse practitioner but the defense did not do so. Plaintiff's experts argued that arm swelling was a red flag that Ms. Hunkar-Huie should have recognized as a potentially catastrophic thrombotic event given David Hess' prior history of PE. As a result, she should have ordered a work-up that would have led to a PE diagnosis and treatment before the fatal PE were thrown just before 12:30 a.m. on September 22, 2006.
In addition to arguing that there was no significant arm swelling, the defense showed that it was impossible for a small IV catheter in the hand or arm to have caused a fatal PE event. All of plaintiff's five experts conceded that they had never seen it nor had they ever heard of it.
After a 14-day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict after deliberating for 6 hours, 34 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 will soon be doing law updates by email. We need a volunteer for creating a law update blog and a volunteer to author an auto article for the Trial Advocate Quarterly.

J. Charles Ingram, Esq. 
Estes Ingram Foels & Gibbs PA
Phone: 407-481-9449

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

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, PA
Phone: 904-398-0900

Meagan L. Logan, Esq.
Marks Gray, PA
Phone: 904-807-2145

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

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

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

Heath L. Vickers, Esq.
Marks Gray
Phone: 904-398-0900

The Premises Liability Committee is pleased to report that we have 
established an email listserv for the sharing of cases, rulings, opinions, and motions relating to our practice. Heath and I will continue to prop it up to keep it lively. Also, a renowned committee member contributed an article for the forthcoming Trial Advocate Quarterly addressing the striking of expert testimony relating to building codes and similar issues of considerable relevance to the premises liability group.
Please let us know if you have any questions, suggestions, 
or need anything further.

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

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

We were a bit less active than the previous year but we still got 
some things accomplished. Our members published two pieces for 
the deFENSE POST over the last year. We also published a major article in the TAQ (our second) entitled "Daimler: A Litigator's Roadmap to Personal Jurisdiction" in the Winter 2016 edition. 
The article was written by committee member Lauren Humphries.
We have added a couple of members to the committee-if you have an interest in our Committee, please contact me directly and we will get you signed up.

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: 941-366-4680

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

The FDLA Young Lawyers Committee hosted the "High Five Kids' Pack" Program at the 2016 FLCC on the afternoon of Thursday, June 9  to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida in their effort to meet the nutritional needs of elementary-aged children during the 
summer months. 
All attendees were invited to participate in helping reach the goal of assembling 400 packs. This program was funded through the 
Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Affiliate Outreach grant

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 (

Join a Committee TODAY!!


ROIG Lawyers Managing Partner Appointed to Miami-Dade Fair & Exposition Board of Directors
Nelson C. Bellido,  managing partner of the Miami office  of Roig Lawyers  has been re-elected to a two-year term to the Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition Board of Directors and was elected Incoming Chairperson of the Dade County Fair & Exposition.
By joining the Board of Directors, Bellido will be helping thousands achieve volunteer work and access to higher levels of education. "It is an honor to join the BOD of such an organization that has given me so much in the past," said Bellido.
The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition is a non profit organization dedicated to showcasing youth achievements, granting scholarships to students who seek a higher education. Through sporting events, agricultural programs, community service, exhibits and more, The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition has, to date, been awarded well over $10 million in fundraising and now attracts over 600,000 people to the fair. The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition will commence March 17th, 2016 and will end April 10th, 2016.
Bellido has been involved in the Fair since submitting exhibits at age 9. He was a recipient of The Youth Fair's Scholarship program from 1985 to 1992. He earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University and law degree from the University of Florida College of Law.


Abbey Adams Byelick & Mueller, LLP is pleased to announce that

Mr. Falkowski practices in various areas of civil defense litigation, including, but not limited to personal injury, first and third partylitigation and uninsured motorist litigation; and Mrs. Kennedy practices primarily in the areas of appellate law and insurance coverage. Her practice includes a variety of insurance-related matters, including coverage and extra-contractual exposure. Mrs. Kennedy has handled appeals in the Florida Supreme Court, Florida District Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. She has also handled numerous workers' compensation appeals in the First District Court of Appeal.


ROIG Lawyers' Michelle McIntyre Wasielewski Graduates from Tampa Connection
Michelle McIntyre Wasielewski,  an attorney in the Tampa office of Roig Lawyers graduated May 10 from the  Tampa Connection leadership program. The nine-month program started in August 2015. The class was divided into four groups, and each group worked with a non-for-profit organization.
Wasielewski was assigned to the Blue Team, which focused on Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa. The Blue Team designed and implemented a field trip for third- to fifth-graders to Metropolitan Ministries to introduce the students to what homelessness and poverty is really like.

Tampa Connection offered Michelle and her colleagues an introduction to the Tampa Bay area, including breakfast with the chief judge and Tampa political leaders, a question-and-answer session with a five-star general at MacDill Air Force Base, a tour of Tampa's last operational cigar factory and lunch with the president of the company that operates Tampa's famous Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City.
Michelle McIntyre Wasielewski concentrates on personal injury protection (PIP)/no-fault litigation with an emphasis on fraud (SIU) investigations, pre-suit and post-suit, complex medical providers and statutory compliance involving medical licensure. Michelle has handled cases statewide and her experience includes handling affirmative actions such as Petitions for Discovery on the part of the insurance companies.


McIntosh Sawran & Cartaya, P.A.
McIntosh Sawran & Cartaya, P.A. (Fort Lauderdale) is pleased to announce that Founding Shareholder Douglas M. McIntosh and Senior Associate Kimberly K. Berman have been selected to the 2016 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists. 
Douglas M. McIntosh, a Florida Super Lawyer for the seventh consecutive year, practices general insurance defense with a focus on representation of major insurance carriers in coverage and extra-contractual litigation. Each year, no more than five percent of lawyers in the state are selected to receive this honor.
Kimberly K. Berman is head of the firm's Appellate/Litigation Support Division and represents clients throughout the state of Florida at both the trial and appellate levels. For the second year, she was selected to the Rising Stars list which includes only 2.5 percent of the state's lawyers.
The firm also maintains offices in West Palm Beach and Miami.


Marks Gray Shareholder Jill F. Bechtold accepted her invitation to join the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC). The IADC is comprised of 2500 leading defense, trial and corporate attorneys, in house counsel, and insurance executives throughout the world. Membership is granted through a nomination, peer review, board evaluation and invitation only process. An invitation to join the IADC indicates the nominee has not only met but exceeded the rigorous career qualifications set forth by the IADC Board of Directors.
The IADC dedicates itself to serving and benefiting its members, the legal profession, and the civil justice system by enhancing the development of skills, professionalism, and camaraderie in the practice of law. Members of the IADC are part of a distinguished group of professionals with advanced skills in defense law who look to each other to further their skills, their business, and their profession. Ms. Bechtold joins fellow Marks Gray Shareholder Jeptha F. Barbour in this prestigious organization.
Ms. Bechtoldpractices in the areas of medical and professional liability defense, products liability and general civil litigation defense. She has been recognized as a top lawyer by Florida Super Lawyer and Florida Trend magazines, has an AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, and is a member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI), Chester Bedell Inn of Court, and the Florida Defense Lawyers Association.  Ms. Bechtold represents both individual and enterprise clients. She is a member of the Leadership Jacksonville Class of 2015 as well as a Jacksonville Business Journal 2015 Woman of Influence. Ms. Bechtold earned her law degree from the University of Florida and joined Marks Gray in 2013. She speaks nation wide before defense lawyers on Reptile Strategy and related topics. She can be reached at
The International Association of Defense Counsel is an invitation-only professional association for corporate and insurance defense lawyers and insurance executives around the world. The IADC has been serving a distinguished membership of civil defense lawyers and industry executives since 1920. Members of the IADC practice in virtually every state and approximately 40 countries. 

Civil Trial
Law Board
Rules Tweaked!
-- Got Certification Yet? --
On May 20, 2016, the Florida Bar Board of Governors approved amendments to Rules 6-4.1 - 6-4.4 in regard to Board Certification in Civil Trial Law. 
While you must still have 15 contested civil trials for Board Certification (and two for recertification), you may now earn multiple trial credits for substantial involvement in longer trials.  A jury trial of 6 or more trial days may be considered for two (2) trial credits and a jury trial of 16 or more days may be considered for three (3) trial credits. The applicant must still be substantially involved and must personally complete at least three of five components of the trial. Get the credits you deserve for longer trials!  One trial substitution, such as The Trial Lawyers Section's annual Advanced Trial Advocacy program, will continue to be accepted for both certification and re-certification. 
Additionally, full time mediators, referees, masters and magistrates, who have been Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer for a period of 14 years or more may qualify for recertification, if actively involved in civil trial law, without otherwise meeting the "substantial involvement" requirements.  
See for details and a Board Certification application.
Board Certified Lawyers Are Evaluated for 
Professionalism and Tested for Expertise
J. Charles Ingram
Estes Ingram Foels & Gibbs PA
Orlando, FL

is here!

We are proud to invite you to the NEW site. A site designed for our members to be used as a library, as a community resource, and as a way to stay connected and current.

The new FDLA site is a growing resource for all members. We invite you to engage, upload, 
interact and enjoy!

20th Annual Florida Liability Claims Conference

It was another successful Florida Liability Claims Conference at Disney's Contemporary Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, June 8-11, 2016. During the past 20 years, this conference has grown and expanded to become one of the finest educational conferences in Florida for insurance industry professionals and civil defense attorneys. Attendees at the conference have the opportunity to interact with clients and colleagues in an informal setting as well as receiving cutting edge CLE.
The FLCC again offered an adjuster track-with specific courses providing credit for insurance personnel. The track consisted of the 5-hour Law and Ethics Update seminar for 5-620 All Lines Adjusters covering Regulatory Awareness, Insurance Law and Updates, Ethical Requirements and Disciplinary and Industry Trends. Additional adjuster credits were available in law & policy (5 hours), ethics (2 hours) and optional (5 hours). This track was well received and appreciated by the adjusters attending.
Sessions were presented on a wide-range of topics with something of interest to all-attorneys and insurance personnel.  Topics included:  Liability of Things:  The Effects of Evolving Technology on Claims Investigations and Decisions; State of Art Vehicular Investigation and Reconstruction; Using Non-Traditional Experts in Litigation; Bad Faith Prevention:  How to Tackle Multiple Claimant Scenario and Other Handling Issues; Motions to Dismiss for Fraud; The Adjuster's Deposition in Bad Faith Actions; Third Party Indemnification and Tendering of Claims; Recent Trends in Medicare Recovery and MSP Compliance; Daubert in Florida: The Status of Florida Statutes 90.702 in 2016;Social Media Discovery; Defending Motorcycle Crash Claims-An Introduction to the Two Wheel Universe; and Medical Provider Bias as to Opinions and Reasonable Charges.
The FDLA Young Lawyers Committee hosted the "High Five Kids' Pack" Program at the 2016 FLCC on the afternoon of Thursday, June 9  to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida in their effort to meet the nutritional needs of elementary-aged children during the summer months. Second Harvest was onsite and set up stations so volunteers could quickly assemble food packs, which will be distributed by Second Harvest to mobile food pantries at ten at-risk schools in the Greater Orlando area during the summer months. All attendees were invited to participate in helping reach the goal of assembling 400 packs. 

This program was funded through the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Affiliate Outreach grant program. A big "thank you" to Brett Henson (Dickinson & Gibbons) for obtaining the grant and organizing this community service project.




The Florida Bar approved the 2016 FLCC for 14.5 General CLER credits (including 2.50 ethics), 14.5 Civil Trial certification credits.
For the number of credit hours for both adjusters and Florida lawyers, it is hard to beat the FLCC! 
Thank you to everyone who contributed time, effort and talents to make the 2016 conference successful. Special thanks to the 2016 Conference chair, Dale J. Paleschic; to 
all the speakers who gave their time preparing materials and speaking at the conference; and to ALL the sponsors and exhibitors.



The 21st Annual 
Florida Liability Claims Conference 
is June 7-10, 2017 
at Disney's Contemporary Resort. 

Mark these dates are on your calendars now, let your clients/colleagues know about the conference and watch for additional details in early 2017!

The election of Officers and Board of Directors of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association will take place as part of the Association's Annual Meeting on Saturday, September 24, 2016 beginning at 8:00 am. 
Nominations are being accepted for the positions of the Officers of the Association and Members of the Board of Directors. The chair of the Nominating Committee is FDLA Immediate Past President, Dale J. Paleschic.
If any member has an interest in serving as an Officer or Member of the Board of Directors, or would like to nominate any other member of FDLA for a position, please contact Dale Paleschic or the FDLA office.

Dale J. Paleschic
Phone:  904-791-9191

FDLA Office
Phone: 813-885-9888 
Tuesday, August 9, 2016

11:30 am-12:45 pm EDT

FDLA is pleased to announce the 
fourth in a series of
Limiting Damages in Premises Liability Cases
This presentation will provide a brief overview of strategic motions and supporting case, aimed to limit damages, that can be filed during the course of discovery and prior to trial.  
Course Instructor:
Renee F. Knaust, Esq.
Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara 
Bocchino & Bolin PA
Tampa, Florida
1.50 CLER and 1.5 Civil Trial Certification credits Approved by The Florida Bar 
Registration Fee:

2016 Annual Meeting

September 22-25, 2016

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort-Naples

Located right on the beach and offering panoramic views 
of the Gulf of Mexico and Vanderbilt Bay!
The LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort offers white sand beaches, elegant rooms, fitness center, rejuvenating spa and 
a private golf course.

Experience Luxury at Naples' only 
True Beachfront Resort!

Thursday, September 22, 2016
     FDLA Board Meeting
     Past President's Welcome Reception
Friday, September 23, 2016
8:00 am-Noon
Ethics and Legal Malpractice
Appellate Tips for Trial Lawyers
Effectively Presenting Prior Injury Evidence

Group Activity to be announced
Free time
Choice of Activities
Saturday September 24, 2016
8:00 am
FDLA Annual Meeting   
Jury Selection
10 Things Your Clients Wish You Knew
Preparing Your Client For Deposition and
Defending the Deposition
Free Time

Family Dinner on the Beach
FDLA Awards Ceremony


Defense Research Institute (DRI)
Exponent Inc
Global Engineering Scientific Solutions
Magna Legal Services
Nelson Forensics
Riesdorph Reporting Group Inc
Robson Forensic
S-E-A Limited
7.0 CLER will be requested from The Florida Bar for the seminar.

You are able to reserve your room now for the meeting 
at LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort

Reservations can be made by calling: 1-800-237-6883 
(refer to the Florida Defense Lawyers Association event)
Or go to
(use group code: 10P81E for reservations)
Contract room rate for the meeting is $179++ per night.
($12.50 daily resort fee/$12.50 daily valet fee/$8 Bell fee/$3 Daily Housekeeping gratuity)
The following policies are applicable to room reservations:
  • One Night Deposit Required to Confirm Reservation (Charged 7 Days Prior to  Arrival).
  • Cancellation less than 7 days prior will forfeit deposit equal to one night room and tax.
Reservation cut off date is
August 19, 2016
Additional details and registration information for the 2016 FDLA Annual Meeting will be coming soon-watch your mail, your emails and check the FDLA website at
Join FDLA as we celebrate 
our 50th Anniversary!

The 3rd in the

Lunch and Learn Webinar Series 
was held on 
Wednesday, May 11, 2016.  

Robert M. Klein (Klein Glasser Park & Lowe PL in Miami) presented The Emergence Of Insurers Suing Their Retained Defense Counsel-A Practical Guide For The Practitioner
Rob Klein discussed evolving theories of liability with unique applicability to insurance defense lawyers, including the increasing trend of insurers suing panel counsel for malpractice for failure to protect against bad faith claims, and the converse, in which insureds bring breach of fiduciary duty claims against their assigned counsel for supposedly "selling them out" in favor of the more valuable insurance carrier relationship.
The webinar was approved by The Florida Bar for 1.5 CLER (1.5 ethics) and 1.5 Civil Trial Certification credits. Webinar attendees earned credits from their own offices over the lunch hour.
The Lunch and Learn Webinar Series continues on Tuesday, August 9, 2016 with a presentation on premises liability by 
Renee F. Knaust (Beytin McLaughlin McLaughlin O'Hara 
Bocchino & Bolin in Tampa).

 If any FDLA Committee or member is interested in presenting 
a webinar, please contact the FDLA office and 
FDLA President, Andy Bolin.


FDLA and DRI presented a joint webinar on 
Tuesday, June 14, 2016. Attorneys from across the country attended Debunking the Reptile Theory Part 2: Trial Tactics, presented by Bill Kanasky, Jr and Michael O'Neill.

This program was designed to define "reptile" strategies used by plaintiffs' attorneys at trial, which have resulted in billions of dollars of damages awards across the nation. Specifically, the program focused on use of the reptile tactics during pretrial motions, jury selection, and opening statements. Attendees were provided with tools and examples on how to disrupt or defeat plaintiff reptile attorneys in each of these areas.
Attendees gained a clearer understanding of how reptile tactics really work and a blueprint of how to counterattack using motions in limine, strategic voir dire, and opening statement construction.

The Florida Bar approved the webinar for 2.0 CLER.

Copyright 2016


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