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Courtnee C. Reid joined The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm in July, 2017. Ms. Reid concentrates her practice in the areas of workers compensation and insurance defense litigation. Prior to joining Bleakley Bavol, Ms. Reid practiced exclusively in the area of workers compensation defense for three years at a large law firm in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Ms. Reid was born in Miami, FL and grew up between Florida and the island of Jamaica. She attended The University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, earning her Bachelor of Arts, with Honors, in Psychology. Ms. Reid continued her education at Vanderbilt University Law School where she received her Juris Doctor.
During law school, Ms. Reid was a First Amendment and Professional Responsibility Legal Research Assistant, a member of Moot Court, the Vice President of the Black Law Student Association, and selected as a Cal Turner Fellow. Following law school, Ms. Reid was chosen for a pro bono fellowship at Dade Legal Aid, practicing in the areas of family law, focusing on domestic and child custody issues.
In her free time, Ms. Reid loves to spend time with her family and close friends. An avid traveler, she has been to over twenty countries and loves to explore new cultures, while meeting new people.
On Friday, July 28, 2017, a unanimous jury in the U. S. District Court, West Palm Beach Courthouse, awarded $16,400,000 to the Estate of Oliver Wilson Bivins, Sr., and against West Palm Beach guardianship attorneys, Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin of the Ciklin Lubitz & O'Connell law firm. The hotly contested two-week jury trial was handled by BBLF partners Ron Denman, Chuck Bavol and Grant Kindrick.
The jury found that attorneys Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin had breached both their professional and fiduciary duties to Oliver Wilson Bivins, Sr., an incapacitated ward of the State of Florida. The complaint against Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin and their law firm, Ciklin Lubitz & O'Connell, alleged that they engaged in actions that increased their own attorneys' fees to the detriment of Mr. Bivins' guardianship estate.
In the federal lawsuit filed by his son, Julian Bivins, in his capacity as personal representative of the Estate of Oliver Bivins, Sr., lawyers for the Estate argued during the trial that guardianship attorneys Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin, litigated to keep Mr. Bivins located in Florida and to prevent him from returning to his decades old home in Amarillo, Texas, in order to maintain control over the Florida guardianship so they could generate legal fees. Attorneys for the Estate argued that throughout the four-year guardianship, Brian O'Connell, Ashley Crispin and the Ciklin Lubitz & O'Connell law firm charged Mr. Bivins' guardianship estate over $1,000,000 in legal fees while liquidating real estate assets at values detrimental to the estate and entered into self-serving agreements with third parties that failed to serve the best interests of the guardianship estate. During the guardianship,the court record reflects that Mr. O'Connell and Ms. Crispin also filed lawsuits against both of Oliver Wilson Bivins Sr.'s children and funded the litigation through the substantial assets of their incapacitated father.
The jury's $16,400,000 verdict award against Brian O'Connell and Ashley Crispin, for actions taken in connection with the guardianship, presided over in the guardianship court by Judge Martin Colin, marks yet another entry into the intrigue surrounding professional guardians in the Palm Beach County Guardianship and Probate Courts. Based on this significant jury verdict and the ongoing investigative journalism in Southern Florida concerning professional guardianships, the need for reform of the guardianship system to protect Florida's elderly citizens is again underscored.
After the verdict, the Estate's lead counsel, Ron Denman, commented "through the jury verdict, it appears the people of south Florida demand accountability from the lawyers (and guardians) appointed by the legal system to represent the interests, and protect the assets, of its incapacitated citizens."
The partners of The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm are pleased to announce the promotion of Grant Kindrick from associate attorney to partner. Upon graduation from George Washington Law School in 2010, Mr. Kindrick joined the firm as an associate attorney. For the past seven years, Mr. Kindrick has served nearly all of the litigation teams in the firm. Grant has the unique experience of having second chaired several jury trials in both federal and state courts; second chaired arbitrations; and handled multiple administrative hearings and motions hearings. Mr. Kindrick's practice range is even more broad than his litigation experience. Mr. Kindrick started his associate path handling primarily the defense of workers compensation claims. Because of his competence in handling those matters, other firm partners, one by one, began assigning cases to Grant until his daily work may include litigating a complex commercial case; probate disputes; premises liability; auto liability; employment litigation; defamation; and workers compensation cases. It would not be unusual for Mr. Kindrick to touch all of those areas of law in a single week, and at any given time he is preparing for a trial in multiple categories. In short, on behalf of all of the firm's partner's, we are pleased to call Mr. Kindrick our "partner".
Gerard (Jerry) Duignan joined The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm in 2016. Duignan has extensive experience litigating first and third party insurance matters.
Duignan was born in Oyster Bay, New York but grew up in Tampa, Florida where he attended the University of South Florida. Duignan subsequently earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1997 from the University of Florida.
Since becoming a member of the Florida Bar, Duignan has handled a wide array of cases including automobile negligence claims, premises liability claims, defense of sinkhole claims, professional liability claims, construction claims, insurance coverage issues, and personal injury protection claims. Duignan also has appellate experience, including arguing before the Second District Court of Appeals.
Duignan lives in Lutz with his wife, Annabel, and two sons. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys playing guitar.
The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm is pleased to welcome Greg Demers to the firm.
Greg K. Demers joined The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm as a summer law clerk in May of 2015. He later became an associate attorney in August of 2016. Greg practices in the areas of labor and employment, product liability, and commercial litigation.
Robert Bleakley and Grant Kindrick successfully defended long-time client Advance Auto Parts and one of its drivers in an alleged delivery truck versus pedestrian accident in which the pedestrian claimed to have suffered an injury to her left knee requiring surgery, future surgery, and pain and suffering/mental anguish. After a 5 day trial, the jury deliberated for 25 minutes before returning a verdict for the defense. 10/15/15
The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm is pleased to welcome J. Ronald Denman to the firm. Denman has a national litigation practice and represents public and private companies in a wide variety of complex commercial litigation matters, including intellectual property litigation, deceptive and unfair trade practices, directors' and officers' liability, professional liability, personal injury and products liability defense, construction litigation, probate and guardianship litigation, and family law matters.
Robert Bleakley and Susan Lee recently won a four-day jury trial in Hillsborough County Circuit Court. The plaintiff claimed significant neck injuries following an accident in which her vehicle collided with a truck owned by Smithfield Packing, Inc.
Mr. Bleakley and Ms. Lee represented Smithfield Packing, Inc. and its driver. At the time of the accident, the Smithfield truck was blocking two lanes of northbound traffic on Alexander Street in Plant City, Florida. However, the jury found the plaintiff 90% at fault for the accident and awarded her no damages for past or future medical expenses, even though she had a two-level fusion in her cervical spine and her surgeon recommended another surgery at the adjacent levels.
The plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case, with prejudice, following the verdict because Smithfield filed a proposal for settlement earlier in the case, meaning that, as a result of the jury verdict, plaintiff owed Smithfield's attorneys' fees and costs. Mr. Bleakley and Ms. Lee were able to establish that the accident occurred because the plaintiff was likely speaking on her cell phone at the time she impacted the Smithfield truck. Moreover, Mr. Bleakley and Ms. Lee established that the plaintiff's neck injuries were not caused by the subject trucking accident.
Medical device and drug manufacturers are increasingly doing business with foreign suppliers to locate comparatively inexpensive raw ingredients and component parts. However, the perceived advantages of this strategy may be short-lived without proper control over the products liability risks that may arise from foreign suppliers. This webinar will address:
- Common products liability risks associated with foreign suppliers;
- Legal challenges related to suing foreign suppliers in U.S. courts;
- Strategies for transferring risk to foreign suppliers; and
- Tips for minimizing risk.
Chuck Bavol, Esq. is a partner with The Bleakley Bavol Law Firm in Tampa, Florida. Chuck has extensive national jury trial experience and has successfully defended lawsuits, both individual and class action, involving a variety of implants, medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Since 1989, Chuck has been a member of Medmarc's defense panel counsel. In 2006, Chuck was named Medmarc's Attorney of the Year in recognition of superior legal representation of Medmarc member companies.
Chuck served as National Trial Counsel for Dow Corning Corporation in its defense of silicone implant product liability cases involving its many and varied non-mammary implants. In that capacity he has tried silicone mass tort cases across the country, as well as serving on the National Litigation Team managing local counsel throughout the United States and Canada.
Chuck received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree, with distinction, from the University of Michigan in 1976 and Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Wayne State University in 1979.
Chuck is a member of The Florida Bar, State Bar of Michigan, U.S. District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Michigan, the U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, and the U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits.
The Plaintiff, a 55 year old female from London, England, had her remaining fourteen (14) natural teeth extracted, desiring a full mouth restoration with dental implants. Following recovery from the implant surgery, a full upper and lower prosthesis was fabricated and fixed into place by screws through the prosthesis and into the dental implants. Two and one half years after implantation, a massive infection resulted in the loss of four (4) upper implants and one (1) lower implant, with significant destruction of bone under the gums.
The Plaintiff took 6 1/2 trial days to put in her case. The defense case took only 1 1/2 trial days. After closing arguments, the jury took only 60 minutes to reach a verdict in favor of the Defendant dentist on all counts. Post-trial motions for attorney's fees and costs are pending on the Plaintiff's failure to accept a statutory pre-trial Proposal for Settlement.
The plaintiff sued the builder in his individual capacity and was allowed to amend her complaint to allege punitive damages. She sought the difference in market value of the home when she purchased it in February 2007, to the time she sold it at auction in late 2008, including costs for remediation of mold and other repairs. The defense centered on the plaintiff's “buyer's remorse” in purchasing an investment property at the very time the market was beginning a steep decline. With respect to the water intrusion and mold claims, the defense focused upon the plaintiff's maintenance of the home during the warm Florida summer months while the plaintiff was away at her home in Maine and the complete absence of any evidence that the defendant knew or should have known of any mold or water intrusion issues existing at the time of sale. Evidence indicated that the plaintiff kept the temperature/humidity levels in the closed-up home at 85°/60% - an ideal recipe for mold growth. The plaintiff took nine and a half trial days to present her case. The defense was completed in three and a half days. After closing arguments, the jury took only 90 minutes to reach a verdict in favor of the defendant on all counts. Post-trial motions for attorneys' fees and costs on plaintiff's failure to accept a pretrial proposal for settlement were granted, and payment from the plaintiff has been received by a very happy defendant!
To learn more about DRI, an international membership organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation, visit www.dri.org. For printable version of this article, click here.