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Overview

Maria Fehretdinov is a Shareholder in the Litigation Department and a member of the Firm’s Hiring Committee and Latin America Practice Group. Her practice focuses on complex litigation matters at the trial and appellate levels in both federal and state courts nationwide, including counseling foreign parties on U.S. matters. She has represented public and private companies and executives in antitrust litigation and merger review, class actions, contract disputes, product liability litigation, securities and shareholder derivative claims, False Claims Act suits, deceptive and unfair trade practices cases, anti-corruption and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigations, and like matters.

Prior to joining the firm, Maria was a litigation associate in the Washington, D.C. office of a large international law firm. She also served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen H. Glickman in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals and worked at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, Office of International Affairs.

Maria is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Hispanic Bar Association, the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, and is the Communications Coordinator for the Florida Chapter of the Women’s White Collar Defense Association. A native of Uruguay, she is fluent in Spanish.

Representative Experience

  • Represented Flagstone Island Gardens LLC and Flagstone Development Corporation in a suit against the City of Miami in connection with Flagstone’s right to develop and lease a $1.2 billion mixed-used hotel, retail and marina project on Watson Island. Flagstone sued for breach and repudiation of the parties’ agreements, and the City counterclaimed to declare Flagstone in default and order it to vacate the property. The case was bifurcated between liability and damages. Ms. Fehretdinov second-chaired a 7-day bench trial on liability and obtained a 27-page order finding against the City and in favor of Flagstone on every disputed issue.  In regards to the remedies phase, Ms. Fehretdinov achieved a settlement allowing Flagstone to recover all of its fees and costs of about $5 million, an additional $5 million for other expenses and an additional $10 million over time.  Additionally, the City accepted development agreements providing substantial economic value. The project was fiercely opposed by community activists, who also filed suit to block its development for alleged violations of the City Charter; Ms. Fehretdinov obtained the prompt dismissal with prejudice of their complaint against Flagstone, which was affirmed by the Third District Court of Appeal.
  • Represented Perry Ellis International in an appraisal litigation against various professional appraisal arbitragers, including Burford Capital Investment Management’s (BCIM) Strategic Value Master Fund LP and other hedge funds with billions under management, which sought over $160M for the fair market valuation of their shares in connection with a take-private transaction.  Perry Ellis brought an action for declaratory relief on the basis that the hedge funds lacked standing under Florida’s appraisal statute to assert appraisal, in an issue of first impression in the State on an important statute affecting Florida corporations.  In Feb. 2020, Ms. Fehretdinov obtained a complete dismissal of the hedge funds’ appraisal claims on summary judgment after a contentious 14 months of discovery and thousands of pages of briefing on the issue.
  • Represented ZipRecruiter, which serves over 1 million employers and over 120 million job seekers, in defending its arbitration agreement in connection with various tort claims filed against it. After a year of litigation involving cutting-edge technological issues involving click-wrap and browse-wrap online agreements, Ms. Fehretdinov prevailed in having the Court dismiss the claims against her client and compel their arbitration.
  • Developed novel component product tracing theory to help obtain the fourth largest antitrust settlement ever – $151,250,000 – for an indirect-purchaser class, after defeating appeals to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court by the leading manufacturers of polyurethane foam.
  • Lead counsel in negotiating a favorable settlement, for one of the nation’s largest providers of specialty foods, of a shareholder action to block a merger; plaintiff dismissed its injunction claim.
  • Represented an energy trading company that is one of the world’s largest distributors of petroleum coke against the perpetrators of an international scheme to defraud the company of tens of millions of dollars; suit settled on the eve of trial after the court dismissed all of defendant’s counterclaims.
  • Second-chaired a three-week product liability jury trial defending the leading distributor of defective Chinese-manufactured drywall in the Southeastern United States and secured a favorable verdict with nominal damages.
  • Achieved the dismissal of shareholder derivative claims for a mobile marketing company with offices in Florida and Uruguay.
  • Achieved a favorable settlement for one of the largest insulation contractors in the U.S. in a class action based on an alleged hub-and-spoke price-fixing conspiracy with claimed damages in excess of $750 million.
  • Successfully represented two targets of an investigation by the Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (“OIG”) into a multi-million dollar healthcare kickback scheme; the OIG closed its investigation without bringing any charges. Also, successfully defended those clients in a complex civil litigation, involving more than twenty parties, spawned by the investigation.
  • Advised businesses involved in the following mergers or acquisitions: Live Nation/Ticketmaster, Yahoo HotJobs/Monster.com, DirecTV/Liberty Entertainment, and Energy Transfer Equity/Southern Union Company, enabling them to obtain antitrust clearance by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Obtained the closing of a formal Department of Justice antitrust investigation for the largest satellite television company in Puerto Rico without any charges being brought.
  • Counseled the world’s largest oil-field services company in responding to a grand jury subpoena in connection with alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, export controls, and trade sanctions involving hundreds of millions of dollars in potential penalties.
  • Defended the chief executive officer of a leading operator of hospitals and healthcare facilities in an investigation stemming from eight qui tam suits alleging violations of the False Claims Act and kickbacks.
  • Defended Spanish owner of luxury hotel in product liability suit against one of the nation’s largest water treatment equipment manufacturers that involved appellate review of novel issues of product liability law and the Economic Loss Rule.
  • Represented a global manufacturer of pressure-sensitive labelstock in multi-district litigation alleging market allocation and conspiracy.
  • Provided pro bono representation to clients in matters involving asylum and international human rights.

Judicial Clerkships

  • Law Clerk, Honorable Stephen H. Glickman, District of Columbia Court of Appeals

Professional & Community Involvement

  • Women's White Collar Defense Association, Communications Coordinator, 2018
  • American Bar Association
  • National Hispanic Bar Association
  • Florida Association for Women Lawyers

Recognition

  • Benchmark Litigation, “40 & Under Hot List,” 2018-2021
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, “40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of South Florida,” 2017
  • Pro Bono Honor Roll, U.S. District & Bankruptcy Courts of the Southern District of Florida, 2016

Publications & Presentations

Publications: A Look Back at South Florida’s First Female United States Attorney
Women's White Collar Defense Association|April 2021

Events: Webinar: Trial Strategy in a Virtual World
Broward County Bar Association and U.S. Legal Support|October 2020

Events: Faculty, Seventh Annual Women’s Litigation Skills Workshop
Miami-Dade Florida Association for Women Lawyers|February 2020

Publications: Miami Turns Up the Heat On Corruption
Women's White Collar Defense Association |May 2019

Publications: Billionaire Kraft’s Claims of Prejudicial Pretrial Publicity Trump Florida’s Sunshine Laws
Women's White Collar Defense Association |May 2019

Events: Litigation Skills Luncheon
Miami-Dade Florida Association for Women Lawyers|February 2019

Events: Redeeming Gideon: Access to Counsel 50 Years Later
2013 District of Columbia Judicial and Bar Conference |April 2013

Publications: Noted with Interest
ABA Antitrust Section Joint Conduct Committee E-Bulletin|September 2010

Publications: A Political Response to Crisis in the Immigration Courts
Georgetown Immigration Law Journal|July 2006

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Newsroom

In the Media: Miami's Watson Island Flagstone Project Wins on Appeal
Daily Business Review|July 2019

In the Media: Watson Island Developer Wins Case Against Miami, Plans to Seek Damages
Daily Business Review|March 2018

In the Media: $151 Million Settlement Approved in Foam Class Action
Daily Business Review|March 2016

Firm Announcements: Stearns Weaver Miller Names New Shareholders
September 2014

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