August 15, 2018
Brad J. McCormick in Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants and Commercial Litigation
Laurie Adams in Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants
Jane Carlene Rankin in Real Estate Law
August 9, 2018
Our Seattle office is managed by Steven Rich. Steven is an AV rated litigator and trial attorney with experience in complex and multi-party civil litigation. He has successfully defended his clients against lawsuits on a variety of different issues, including construction defects, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, product liability, toxic torts, and environmental accidents.
Seattle Office Contact Information:Kubicki Draper
800 5th Avenue, Suite 4100
Seattle, WA 98104
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August 1, 2018
With all respect to Mark Twain and his quip that “People who love sausage and respect the law should never watch either one being made,” Michael’s experience in the legislative process was different. He decided to attend Stetson University School of Law as a change in scenery after a lifetime in Upstate New York was a necessity.
While at Stetson, Michael’s interest and admiration for the organic process by which the law evolves continued. During law school, he began to focus on the appellate process and a court’s role in establishing the law. As effective (and concise) legal writing is a large part of any successful appellate practitioner, Michael “wrote on” to the Stetson Law Review and in 1993 graduated cum laude. He appreciates the law as a living entity believing in the ability to forecast the future based upon precedent and observable history. The same holds true in life.
Upon graduation, after a thankfully short period of searching for what was then an elusive first job, Michael began his practice on the plaintiffs’ side. In addition to writing briefs from day one, he gained immediate trial practice exposure and experience in a civil courtroom setting.
Participating in trials ranging from premises liability to complex medical malpractice actions, it became apparent that evaluating how “six people in a box” would communally decide a case presented a challenge to every professional with a stake in determining the likelihood of success of their positions and arguments. He also learned the only effective way to help control the ultimate outcome results from proper evaluation, preparation, and preservation. Objectivity is always key. Taking a long game approach developed Michael into a lawyer who appreciates all aspects of claims evaluation, pre-trial practice, trial and appeals, keeping him grounded outside of the Ivory Tower and firmly within the realities produced by the legal marketplace and a client’s bottom line.
Now, with a focus on defense and appellate practice, Michael’s interests include helping his clients coordinate statewide litigation and appellate strategies, providing trial support and trying a case as required. Of particular interest is the pursuit or the defense of attorney’s fees claims both for his clients and as an expert witness. He intends to continue his practice well into the future as his engagement and enthusiasm in becoming the best lawyer possible has not waned.
Michael resides in St. Petersburg spending his free time enjoying everything Florida has to offer – particularly in the Tampa Bay area – and is excited about the opportunities that the growing region presents. His current goal is to create or recognize one near-perfect thing each day. Whether a grill-marked steak prepared to his guest’s exact taste or an artistic recognition of the Steadicam work of Stanley Kubrick, he derives his primary satisfaction from a job well done. If you appreciate his approach to practice with professionalism, feel free to give him a call.
June 25, 2018
Every year, Florida Legal Elite™ presents a prestigious list of attorneys chosen for recognition by their peers. We are pleased to announce Betsy E. Gallagher and Kimberly A. Beckwith, of our Tampa office, were selected for inclusion in this year’s Florida Legal Elite™ list published in Florida Trend Magazine. Betsy was recognized for Appellate Practice and Kimberly for Civil Trial. We are very proud of these ladies and congratulate them on their accomplishment.
The entire Legal Elite report can be viewed at Florida Trend.
June 25, 2018
Caryn Bellus of our Miami office, Angela Flowers of our Ocala office and Betsy Gallagher of our Tampa office were recognized for their Appellate Practice. Laurie J. Adams of our West Palm Beach office was recognized for Personal Injury Litigation and Jane C. Rankin of our Ft. Lauderdale office was selected for her work in Real Estate Law. We are extremely proud of our their dedication, integrity and commitment to excellence in the work they do.
You may view the entire publication here: Best Lawyers Business Edition 2018.
ABOUT BEST LAWYERS
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Best Lawyers® - Methodology
June 14, 2018
February 28, 2018
Case Law Update: , 2018 WL 1020272 (Fla. 5th DCA Feb. 23, 2018).
In this case, the Fifth District Court of Appeal explored the exclusion for constant and repeated seepage of water in the American Integrity Homeowner's Insurance Policy. Insurance Companies should consider this ruling in framing a proper defense to a case in which a water leak has been occurring at the insured property for a period of time. The case is a good reminder that the insured’s initial burden is low. The insured must only prove that a direct, physical loss occurred to the property during the policy period. The insured does not have the burden to prove that a loss occurred on a specific date or during a specific period of time, only that a direct, physical loss occurred during the policy period. The burden then shifts to the insurer to prove an exclusion to coverage.
In this case, the policy language excludes coverage for constant and repeated seepage or leakage of water which occurs over a period of 14 or more days. This exclusionary language is common to most homeowner’s insurance policies. Per the Court's ruling, even if there is evidence that a leak has been going for a period of 14 days or more, damages resulting from the first 13 days of water release are covered under the insurance policy. Below is detailed summary of the Appellate Court's ruling:
The American Integrity policy issued to insured Hicks was an All-Risk policy. Mr. Hicks' water supply line began leaking in September, 2012, while he was out of town. When he returned at the end of October, 2012, the supply line was leaking heavily, releasing almost 1,000 gallons of water a day. The claim submitted by Mr. Hicks was denied by American Integrity based on the provision of the policy which provides as follows:
We do not insure...for loss...[c]aused by...[c]onstant or repeated seepage of leakage of water...over a period of 14 or more days.”
American Integrity filed a motion a summary judgment, arguing that because the record evidence reflected that the leak was going on for a period exceeding 14 days, the claim was unambiguously excluded under the terms of the policy. In response, Mr. Hicks filed his own motions for summary judgment, arguing that his property sustained a direct, physical loss during the policy period, that the damages arising from the first 13 days of the leak are covered under the policy and that the total damages for the first 13 days of the leak totaled $40,926.77 (based on an expert opinion). At the trial level, American Integrity's motion for summary judgment was granted because the Court was unsure, based on the facts presented that it could make the determination that the loss from the first 13 days was covered.
The Appellate Court here reversed the grant of summary judgment in favor of American Integrity, finding that the policy language at issue does not unambiguously "exclude(d) losses caused by constant or repeated leakage or seepage over a period of thirteen days or less." The Court also found that it was unambiguously clear that "a provision excluding losses caused by constant leakage of water over a period of fourteen or more days likewise excludes losses caused by constant leakage of water over a period of less than fourteen days. Because there is ambiguity in the policy language, the language most be construed in the light most favorable to the insured. In the light most favorable to the insured, coverage exists for damages caused by the first 13 days of the leak.
The Appellate Court therefore, reversed summary judgment in favor of American Integrity and remanded with instructions for the trial Court to enter partial summary judgment in favor insured on the issue of damages from the first 13 days of the loss being covered by the policy. Therefore, the issue at trial would be the damages arising from days 1-13 of the water leak. The Court also states that the insurer has the burden at trial to prove that a particular loss was sustained after the 13th day and therefore, not covered under the exclusionary provision.
Thoughts Going Forward
Insurers should consider re-writing the “Constant and Repeated Leakage and Seepage” provision, making it clear that ALL DAMAGE first presented in a claim beyond 14 days after the date of loss are simply not covered. However, if a claim is presented within the first 13 days it is not considered “repeated leakage and seepage.” (More or Less “All water losses need to be reported within the first 13 days or else coverage will not apply unless good cause can be shown otherwise.")
February 8, 2018
January 24, 2018
In addition to the firm being recognized as a "Top Law Firm," we are pleased to congratulate the following "Top Lawyers":
- Laurie J. Adams – Civil Litigation
- Peter S. Baumberger – Professional Liability – Defense, Corporate and Business Litigation
- Caryn L. Bellus – Appellate, Insurance
- Michael J. Carney – Civil Litigation
- Daniel A. Miller – Bankruptcy, Corporate and Business Litigation
- Scott M. Rosso – Corporate and Business Litigation, Insurance Litigation – Defense
December 15, 2017