The litigation group is a well-oiled machine, nothing slips through the cracks. They out-work and out-think the other side. They live the case and the results speak for themselves.
- Chambers USA 2017
We represent Fortune 500 corporations, multi-national banks, professional firms, media and entertainment companies, municipalities, insurance companies, other business enterprises and individual clients in a wide variety of litigation matters throughout Florida and nationwide. More than simply “litigators,” our Litigation Department is composed of experienced and accomplished trial lawyers.
Our attorneys have tried virtually every type of business and commercial case, including cases involving the telecommunications industry, securities fraud, product liability, construction defect, lender liability, legal malpractice, commercial foreclosure, breach of contract and insurance. We specialize in class action work, and believe that we have defended more class actions than any other firm in Florida.
In addition to our practice in state and federal trial and appellate courts, we represent clients before administrative agencies and in alternative dispute resolution proceedings, including arbitration and mediation. We collaborate with attorneys in the Firm’s other departments to ensure our clients receive a comprehensive review of the legal and practical issues in their matters.
Our trial lawyers and support staff enjoy resources that are not often found in private law firms. We have a state of the art courtroom, a proprietary system for the efficient, electronic presentation of evidence, and an in-house multimedia department dedicated to producing high-level presentation materials and audiovisual aids. Our trial lawyers regularly use the courtroom to mock-try cases and make moot appellate arguments, to prepare witnesses to testify in court, and to plan the effective, forceful, and seamless presentation of trial evidence using our proprietary system. While most firms require the employment of costly vendors that are available only for the largest cases, our media operations are available to every lawyer in every case where such presentation tools are helpful. We use our trial facilities and systems to acclimate our clients and our lawyers to a courtroom setting before trial, hearing, or appellate arguments. The goal is to attain the highest level of preparedness for every court appearance.
- Administrative & Regulatory Disputes
Our antitrust lawyers have achieved precedent-setting results for plaintiffs and defendants, including what is believed to be the fourth largest antitrust recovery ever on behalf of an indirect purchaser class ($151,500,000) in connection with a cross-border price fixing and market allocation conspiracy among the nation’s largest producers of polyurethane foam. On the plaintiffs’ side, our lawyers have served (and currently serve) as lead class counsel in a variety of such complex antitrust matters. On the defense side, we have successfully represented corporate and individual clients in a myriad of antitrust cases, including successfully representing the world’s largest generic drug company in one of the first “reverse payment” antitrust cases arising out of related patent litigation under the Hatch-Waxman Act.
We bring a wealth of experience to antitrust cases, not only because we represent litigants on both sides of the “v,” but also because many of our lawyers have substantial experience in the industries in which our clients operate. Most of the lawyers in our antitrust group formerly clerked for federal court judges. Accordingly, we are at home litigating complex antitrust class actions involving price fixing, bid rigging, market and customer allocation, monopolization, monopsonization, unfair competition, deceptive and unfair trade practices, and price discrimination before federal and state courts around the country.
Our appellate practitioners have filed briefs and motions and argued before every level of appeals court in the federal and state court systems – the United States Supreme Court, United States Courts of Appeals, United States District Courts (on review of Bankruptcy Court orders), and the Florida Supreme and District Courts of Appeal. We handle the appeals from the matters we have litigated at the trial court level, as well as appeals from cases we have not, ourselves, tried. Our appellate clients have included certified classes, banks and other financial institutions, professional firms, and companies and individuals in the automotive, construction, healthcare, insurance, pharmaceutical, real estate, sports and entertainment, technology, telecommunications, and transportation industries.
- Arts, Sports & Entertainment Litigation
- Banking & Financial Institutions
- Business Torts
- Class Actions
Stearns Weaver Miller has achieved precedent-setting results for plaintiffs and defendants in class actions. In Allapattah Services, Inc. v. Exxon Corp., No. 1:91-cv-00986-ASG, (S.D. Fla.), we won the largest compensatory jury verdict in class action history at the time – approximately $1.2 billion – and successfully defended that verdict on appeal to the Eleventh Circuit and to the United States Supreme Court (resulting in a 5-4 decision in favor of the class). And we have won significant defense victories in “bet the company” cases, including the leading decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on what constitutes a “forward looking statement” within the meaning of the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Our Construction Law Practice Group represents owners, developers, contractors, and design professionals in disputes under common law and arising from design and construction agreements, including construction defect and delay claims, surety bonds, insurance coverage, construction liens and warranty claims. We counsel clients on a wide variety of construction-related matters from contract negotiation and risk management to litigation and dispute resolution. The group has extensive experience litigating complex construction disputes in federal and state courts and alternative dispute resolution fora.
- Contract Litigation
- Creditors' Rights and Foreclosure
- Election Law
Our team litigates a broad range of issues, including election contests, voting rights, statutory and constitutional challenges, Sunshine Law violations, extraordinary writ proceedings challenging the actions of government officials, and complaints before the Florida Elections Commission and the Florida Commission on Ethics.
- Employment Litigation – Management
No employer likes to be accused of workplace wrongdoing but it has become commonplace in today’s litigious business environment. For decades, our Labor & Employment lawyers have defended employers in state and federal courts and before administrative tribunals in actions brought under Title VII, the FMLA, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Florida Whistleblower Act, the National Labor Relations Act, and the Railway Labor Act, and other employment laws, among others. We have extensive experience defending class and collective actions involving wage and hour issues. On the other side of the caption, we regularly represent our clients in disputes involving theft of trade secrets, non-competes, breach of contract, defamation, and other business torts.
We are honored that for the past nine years, Chambers and Partners USA has cited us as one of the top-ranked Labor and Employment groups in Florida.
- Franchise Litigation
- Government Investigations & White Collar Crime
Our Government Investigations and White Collar Crime practice group represents companies and individuals in a wide range of criminal and civil enforcement matters. We also conduct internal investigations and counsel companies on regulatory compliance matters, such as the Bank Secrecy Act, anti-money laundering laws, economic/trade sanctions, and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Our team includes former federal prosecutors and a former federal public defender and Florida state court judge who have collectively tried more than 70 criminal cases to verdict. We have represented clients in grand jury investigations and enforcement actions brought by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and state regulators, among others.
- Insurance Coverage
The Firm’s insurance coverage lawyers have extensive experience representing insureds in a variety of contexts. We regularly assist clients in understanding the extent of their insurance coverage following a loss or the assertion of a claim against them. We help clients navigate the insurance process, satisfy policy conditions, and protect their rights and interests. Where necessary, we also help clients resolve coverage disputes through negotiation, mediation, and litigation. Our insurance coverage lawyers have expertise in all of these areas, as well as an enviable record of success.
- Intellectual Property
Our lawyers have broad experience handling complex business and legal issues relating to patents, trademarks, copyrights, domain names, and trade secrets. We specialize in the prosecution, protection, and strategic management of intellectual property assets at every stage of business. We aggressively enforce and defend intellectual property rights in federal and state courts throughout the country, and we have often obtained injunctions and writs of seizure closing down infringing activities and preventing infringing products from being imported into the United States.
- Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation
Our mergers and acquisitions litigators work in tandem with our transactional lawyers to respond to shareholder lawsuits that seek to enjoin a proposed merger, acquisition, or other strategic transaction and that are typically filed immediately following the public announcement of the transaction. We litigate those cases, whether in Florida state court, Delaware Chancery Court, or a court in some other state, not only to win but also to advance our clients’ business objectives.
- Officer & Director Liability
Stearns Weaver Miller regularly counsels directors and officers of national and international companies about "wrongful act" allegations by shareholders, customers, regulators, competitors, creditors’ committees and bankruptcy trustees. The Firm’s lawyers have successfully defended directors and officers of national and international corporations against claims for breaches of fiduciary duties, management liability, and the like in state and federal courts throughout the country.
- Product Liability
Our lawyers have decades of experience defending product liability claims involving a broad variety of products, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, building components and materials, vehicles, vessels, appliances, and other equipment. We represent clients at trial and on appeal, in individual cases and class actions.
- Professional Liability Defense
The Firm’s lawyers have a wealth of experience representing other professionals. The Firm regularly defends international, national, regional, and local law firms and lawyers in those firms against legal malpractice and other tort claims and sanctions and contempt proceedings; represents lawyers before grievance committee proceedings and in disciplinary proceedings brought by The Florida Bar; and negotiates and litigates disputes among law partners. The Firm likewise has a long and successful history representing accountants against professional liability claims.
- Real Estate & Land Use Litigation
- Securities and Shareholder Derivative Actions
The Firm has a wealth of experience defending securities class actions and the shareholder derivative suits that frequently accompany them, and responding to government investigations, government litigation, and private securities litigation often launched within days after a decline in the price of a publicly-traded company’s stock following the disclosure of a business or financial reversal. The Firm has tried securities cases, including class actions and SEC actions, and litigated appeals that have not only resulted in judgments for our clients but also established important Eleventh Circuit precedent on such issues as the scope of the protections afforded to forward-looking statements, and loss causation. We have also successfully represented public companies against unwanted accumulations of their shares.
- Trust & Probate Litigation
We represent fiduciaries including personal representatives and institutional and individual trustees, as well as beneficiaries, guardians, heirs, and others in all aspects of contested trust, will and guardianship matters. We defend and prosecute breach of fiduciary duty, surcharge, removal, and accounting claims. We also litigate will contests, will and trust construction disputes, and claims of undue influence, incapacity or elder abuse involving vulnerable adults. Through non-judicial or judicial proceedings we also modify, reform and terminate trusts.
In the Media:
25 Women: Lawyer Kelly O'Keefe aims to help people 'move mountains'
Tallahassee Democrat |March 2019
In the Media:
Judge Won’t Dismiss Lawsuits Brought By Cities Against State Restrictions On Gun Laws
Miami Herald|October 2018
Publications, Recent News Updates:
Update: IRS Provides Guidance for Big Capital Gains Break
Stearns Weaver Miller News Update|October 2018|Reggie L. Bouthillier, Jacob T. Cremer, Maria A. Gralia, Vin Marchetti, Brian J. McDonough, Joseph J. Onorati, Nicholas S. Risi, Curtis H. Sitterson
Giselle Gutierrez and Ryan Thornton Named Among 40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of South Florida by Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
Stearns Weaver Miller Names Three New Shareholders
Miami |September 2018
In the Media:
500 Florida's Most Influential Business Leaders
Florida Trend|September 2018
Future of Marijuana Regulation in Florida
Florida Beer Wholesalers Association Annual Meeting |September 2018|Glenn Burhans, Jr.