Case Results

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Significant Results

David Keller

Legal and Professional Malpractice
  • Jury Trial, July 2018, Broward County Circuit Court – In a challenging seven-year-old case which Keller took over from prior counsel after a number of adverse rulings, including Orders Granting Leave to pursue punitive damage claims against a major law firm and one of its lawyers, Keller and partners Raymond Robin and Elizabeth Izquierdo prevailed in a two-week jury trial on claims for conspiracy/usurpation of corporate opportunity, negligent misrepresentation, aiding and abetting fraud/theft of corporate opportunity, civil theft and breach of escrow agreement. The Court granted a directed verdict on the claims for civil theft, and for punitive damages against the law firm, and the jury rendered a complete defense verdict on all remaining claims. Defendants also prevailed on motions for attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Jury Trial, August 2018, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court – After six days of a scheduled two-week trial on claims for legal malpractice in connection with investors’ purchase of a financially distressed corporation and alleged negligence in due diligence and advice regarding the transaction, Keller successfully negotiated a confidential nominal settlement substantially lower than any pre-trial demands. The settlement at trial followed effective cross-examination of Plaintiffs’ best witnesses and presentation of critical testimony from two key out-of-town defense witnesses taken out of turn during Plaintiffs’ case-in-chief. Settlement was for approximately 3% of initial pre-trial demand.
  • Jury Trial, November 2018, Broward County Circuit Court – After taking over the representation of a highly regarded commercial lawyer and his law firm less than a month before trial, Keller won a Directed Verdict following several days of trial, after successfully cross-examining the Plaintiff, his retained law professor expert witness, and the defendant Keller established the absence of any factual basis for a claim of professional negligence relating to a technical legal research issue and preservation of error for appellate review.
  • Non Jury Trial, May 2016, Polk County Circuit Court – Successful defense of lawyer and major law firm at trial in suit for breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, and removal of lawyer as Trustee, resulting in dismissal of claim for removal with prejudice, and award of substantial attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Summary Judgment/Dismissal of $200 million claim, December 2010, Complex Business Division, Orange County Circuit Court – prevailed on claims for legal malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty against prominent commercial trial lawyer and his firm for alleged damages in excess of $200 million.
  • Reversal of Dismissal for Failure to Prosecute, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court – Effected claim repair by drafting successful Motion to Vacate Dismissal of Subrogation Claim based on failure to prosecute, resurrecting case for large firm, negating professional liability claim, and preserving longstanding institutional client relationship for the law firm client.
  • Defended lawyer in claims involving alleged improprieties with respect to handling ancillary probate proceedings for foreign estate valued at over $400 million, and related state court judgment against estate for $193 million in damages.
  • AAA Arbitration trial victory, Miami – Successful prosecution of fee claim and defense of seven-figure counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty, disgorgement of substantial fees, and for damages in AAA arbitration for a major South Florida law firm. Fees in excess of $800,000 recovered by law firm client in underlying commercial litigation case, with additional fees in excess of $750,000 awarded for pursuit of fee claim and in defense of Counterclaim, pursuant to prevailing party fee provision.
  • Voluntary Dismissal just before trial, Broward County Circuit Court – successful defense of law firm in claim for negligence in guardianship proceedings and related sale of stock in closely held business, resulting in voluntary dismissal before jury selection at commencement of three-week jury trial.
  • Voluntary Dismissal in response to Motion for Summary Judgment, and Motion for Sanctions – successfully defended large out-of-state law firm in claim alleging professional negligence associated with work on behalf of pension plan and IRS audit, and invalidation of plan based on use of springing cash value life insurance policy funding mechanism sold to client by insurer and financial planners; claimants voluntary dismissed case following receipt of summary judgment motion, and agreed to pay fees to law firm based on pending Motions for Sanctions Pursuant to Florida Statute 57.105.
  • Successful pre-trial arbitration before retired circuit judge on legal malpractice claim against plaintiff’s employment lawyer in connection with discrimination and sexual harassment case.
  • Summary judgment in legal malpractice case by prisoner over settlement of injury claim against jailers.
  • Summary Judgment, Palm Beach County Circuit Court – successful defense of South Florida tax lawyer, prevailing on claim of legal malpractice and fraud in connection with alleged loss of $1.8 million in off-shore annuity investment.
  • Jury Verdict, Broward County Circuit Court – successful defense of major South Florida law firm in two-week jury trial involving bankruptcy trustee auction and sale and resulting claim for over $1 million in damages awarded trustee against law firm’s former client, collected substantial fee award based on Offer of Judgment.
  • Jury Verdict, Broward County Circuit Court – successful defense of psychiatrist for alleged malpractice in two-week jury trial involving proper admission protocols for schizophrenic patient injured after leaving emergency room.
  • Jury Verdict, Broward County Circuit Court – successful defense of neurosurgeon in trial for malpractice, based on statute of limitations and alleged oral tolling agreement
Commercial Litigation
  • February 2019, Non-Jury Trial – After five years of contentious litigation, Keller and firm member Jose Riguera prevailed after a week-long trial, before putting on a defense, when the Plaintiff was forced to disclose previously withheld evidence establishing that the entire claim was a fraud on the Court. Keller was initially engaged to represent the defendant’s counsel in connection with a routine real estate closing which should have ended with a Corrective Deed and Corrected Title Insurance Commitment when a mistake in the legal description came to light after closing. Instead of submitting a title insurance claim, the buyer engaged a major AmLaw 200 firm, and sued the seller (a bank which took title by foreclosure and previously sold off a small piece of the property it had acquired) for breach of contract based on the closing documents which contained an incorrect legal description which included the small parcel the bank had sold a year earlier. The buyer’s counsel had changed the legal description in the contract to correspond with the incorrect title commitment after it had been approved by both counsel, without informing the seller of the change, and denied knowledge of how the error in the legal description occurred. Keller eventually assumed representation of the bank under an indemnification agreement. During trial, after an evidentiary dispute regarding previously undisclosed information withheld based on privilege, the buyer produced emails proving that the buyers and their real estate counsel and title agent (who also served as the closing agent) knew of the discrepancy and the prior sale, but failed to disclose it to the bank’s counsel. After this evidence was produced (and after making a settlement demand which was rejected), Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed the case, agreed to relief on the counterclaim for reformation of the deed, and to the Court reserving jurisdiction to award attorneys’ fees and costs to the bank. The bank and its lawyer will be fully reimbursed by the buyer and her husband who, along with their real estate closing attorney were advancing a fraudulent
  • February 2015 Jury Trial, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court – Won two-week trial for breach of contract and conversion against marine repair facility involving dispute over yacht repair and assertion of mechanic’s lien by major yacht repair facility, appearing as lead trial counsel just before trial after seven years of litigation, and securing orders awarding attorneys’ fees in addition to damages awarded.
  • 2012 Summary Judgment in $20 million malicious prosecution case – affirmed on appeal, Orlando – Defeated claims of malicious prosecution, tortious interference with business relationships and conspiracy against corporation and its principals based on unsuccessful criminal prosecution following insurance fraud investigation, with damages alleged to be in excess of $20 million, and after court granted claimants leave to amend complaint to seek punitive damages.  Total Fleet Solutions v. National Insurance Crime Bureau, Orange County Circuit Court Case No. 08-CA-33848-O, Summary Judgment Affirmed, 101 So. 3d 856 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012)
  • Jury Trial, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court – successful defense of physician practice management group, assuming lead counsel responsibility two weeks before trial in major 12-year-old commercial contract and business tort claims dispute, with partial summary judgment entered against client on one of three counts, jury verdict rendered for approximately $1.3 million plus fourteen years interest and attorneys’ fees pursuant to contract. Verdict reversed in trial court with post-trial directed verdict for Defendant, final judgment in favor of Defendant and Order granting fees and costs to the defendant. On appeal won per curiam affirmance of post-trial directed verdict. Community Health Related Services, Inc. v. EMSA Limited Partnership, 955 So.2d 579 (3d DCA 2007)
  • Successful defense of lender liability claim against original lender during foreclosure proceedings initiated by successor bank on $68 million loan in Seminole County
  • Successful enforcement of trademark rights for major U.S. toy manufacturer under Lanham Act, resulting in preliminary injunction against retailer selling defective goods acquired after they were slated for destruction.
Insurance Coverage
  • September-October 2018 Jury Trial, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court – two week trial of a case taken over from prior counsel who retired, Keller, along with partners Dena Sacharow and Maria Vernace, secured a defense verdict against an excess professional liability insurer that was seeking to avoid and shift responsibility to a previous excess insurer for its share of a $10 Million settlement of a professional liability claim against a major law firm. The Plaintiff insurer employed a prominent, highly regarded jury consultant to assist before and during jury selection, and presented expert testimony from a nationally recognized authority on excess and surplus lines insurance coverage matters. The Keller Landsberg team and its client prevailed without a jury consultant and without presenting rebuttal expert
  • 2015 Jury Verdict, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court – successful  two-week jury trial against marine insurer for breach of contract based on wrongful payment to repair vendor instead of insured before yacht repairs completed, and award of attorneys’ fees in seven-year dispute, appearing as lead trial counsel shortly before commencement of trial
  • Successful pro bono representation of a dependent minor obtaining post-mortem invalidation of life insurance beneficiary designation by estranged parent and award of life insurance benefits to surviving minor dependent
  • Denial of Motion to Enter Judgment Against Insurer for $265 million, Miami-Dade County Circuit Court – defeated effort to enter judgment against foreign insurer following default judgment against insured in wrongful death product liability case
  • Lead appellate counsel in Goldman v. State Farm Fire Gen. Ins. Co., 660 So. 2d 300 (4th DCA 1995), widely cited decision establishing distinction between insurance policy requirement of examinations under oath, and depositions, resulting in forfeiture of claim based on insured’s failure to appear at an EUO
  • Successful defense of several business and homeowners arson cases in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, and in state circuit courts in South Florida in several jury trials, and by summary judgment
  • Successful and prompt resolution at early mediation of insurance coverage dispute over property damage claim in excess of $18 million following Hurricane Andrew for major mixed-use commercial property in South Dade County
  • Jury Verdict, U.S. District Court – successful defense at trial in federal court on coverage claim involving collapse of condominium buildings alleged to be caused by sinkholes with damages in excess of $2 million
  • Successful defense of multi-million dollar claims by accountant and accounting firm following arson fire, resulting in summary judgment for insurer after federal conviction of the insured
  • Successful defense of automobile uninsured motorist claim in U.S. District Court, affirmed on appeal.  Erie Insurance Exchange v. Dunn, 56 F.3d 1390 (11th Cir. 1995)
Appeals

Mr. Keller’s cases resulting in published appellate decisions include:

  • ARI Mut. Ins. Co. v. Hogen, 734 So. 2d 574 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999)
  • Goldman v. State Farm Fire Gen. Ins. Co., 660 So. 2d 300 (4th DCA 1995)
  • Sembric v. Allstate Ins. Co., 434 So. 2d 963 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983)
  • Sparacino v. Laganiere, 429 So. 2d 1299 (Fla. 4th DCA 1983)

Raymond L. Robin

Representative Matters

Professional Liability
  • After Keller Landsberg took over defense of a case from other counsel following adverse rulings permitting the addition of punitive damage claims, Mr. Robin, along with partners David Keller and Elizabeth Izquierdo, successfully defended a major law firm and one of its former lawyers against claims for conspiracy, negligent misrepresentation, aiding and abetting fraud, breach of contract and civil theft in a two week jury trial. After obtaining directed verdicts as to the individual plaintiff’s claims, and on the claims for civil theft and punitive damages against the law firm, the Keller Landsberg defense team obtained a defense verdict as to all of the remaining claims.
Business Litigation
  • Represented Ottawa-based public company, Nordion Inc. and its affiliates (“Nordion”), in a lawsuit seeking damages in excess of $90 Million brought by BioAxone BioSciences Inc. (“BioAxone”) alleging that Nordion was negligent in preparing a Master Cell Bank used by BioAxone in connection with the development of BioAxone’s new spinal cord injury drug. After Keller Landsberg filed the Motion for Summary on behalf of Nordion, the case was quickly settled for what Nordion described in a press release as “a nominal amount … expected to have a non-material impact on Nordion’s financial position.” Wall Street Journal, September 24, 2013.  View the Motion for Summary Judgment and Statement of Undisputed Facts. The case was the subject of a front-page report in the Daily Business Review on October 8, 2013, entitled “Drug Companies Settle Mad Cow Contamination Claim.”
  • Represented foreign corporation in suit brought by Florida corporation for unfair competition and claims under Florida’s Unfair and Deceptive Practices Act related to a real estate development in Central Florida. Removed case to federal court and successfully had case dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.
  • Represented national printing company in breach of contract action against customer for failure to make payment for work done. Customer filed counterclaims. Court granted final summary judgment for client on all claims.
  • Represented large produce marketing company in “appeal” to the District Court under the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act of 1930, § 1 et seq., 7 U.S.C.A. § 499a et seq. (“PACA”) filed by customer that failed to pay for produce delivered. Customer lost administrative proceeding before Secretary of Agriculture. After settlement the client found favorable, customer dismissed appeal.
  • Involved in defending law firm and attorneys in $25 million 28 USC § 1983 suit brought in federal district court against firm and attorneys for allegedly improper action taken during execution of judgment. Case dismissed with prejudice for lack of jurisdiction based on the Rooker-Feldman doctrine.
  • Represented corporation in a shareholder’s derivative action against shareholder for injunction, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty after shareholder embezzled funds from the corporation. Court entered preliminary injunction requiring shareholder to return funds. Had defendant incarcerated for contempt until he returned funds. Obtained settlement that the client found favorable.
  • Represented corporate owners of skilled nursing facilities in cases filed throughout Florida against operators. Obtained summary judgment, dismissal or settlements the clients found favorable.
  • Represented corporate tenant in breach of real estate lease brought by landlord. Obtained judgment in favor of corporate tenant after two-day trial.
  • Represented large developer in action brought by employee claiming to have been excluded from participating in leveraged buyout offered to executives. Filed counterclaim for breach of fiduciary duty based on employee’s self-dealing. Obtained verdict in favor of developer after two-week jury trial on employee’s claim and judgment against employee plus punitive damages on counterclaim.
  • Represented large produce importer in action against warehousing facility in Pennsylvania on various contract and negligence issues related to produce damage from improper storage. Procured a settlement the client found favorable.
  • Represented owner of assisted living facilities in tort action brought by personal representative of former resident. Obtained summary judgment on all claims.
Real Property
  • Represented purchaser in an action for specific performance on a vacant land agreement when seller refused to close transaction. Obtained settlement the client found favorable.
  • Represented various financial institutions in foreclosure actions involving commercial loans.
  • Represented condominium association against owner who refused to comply with condominium regulations. Obtained summary judgment in trial court and prevailed on appeal. Recovered attorneys’ fees for condominium association.
  • Represented landlord in action against commercial tenant for payment of annual expenses (CAM) and rent increases. Procured settlement the client found favorable after prevailing on appeal.
Insurance and Reinsurance
  • Represented third party administrator in a suit against five reinsurers on reinsurance treaties to recover amounts paid by third party administrator on health insurance policies. Procured a settlement that the client found favorable, recovering substantial portion of amounts paid.
Bankruptcy
  • Represented debtor in adversary proceeding filed by creditor to prevent discharge of debt based on transfer of assets. Prevailed on all counts at trial with court overruling creditor’s objections to discharge.
Appellate
  • Represented personal representative in an appeal challenging the trial court’s refusal to set aside an altered “agreed” order. Appellate court reversed trial court and remanded with instructions to set aside altered “agreed” order and enter order to which the parties had agreed.
  • Represented rabbi in action on a written contract against his temple in the Third District Court of Appeal, Florida Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court (jurisdictional brief.) Case dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction based on separation clause of the First Amendment to U.S. Constitution.
  • Represented Bahamian corporation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Denver, Colorado, and U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, in investigation by SEC.

Dena Sacharow

  • One year before trial, Partners David Keller, Dena Sacharow, and Maria Vernace assumed the representation of an excess insurance carrier in a long-running insurance coverage dispute spanning a full decade. After a jury trial lasting over two weeks in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in September and October 2018, Keller Landsberg PA secured a defense verdict against an excess professional liability insurer, that was seeking to avoid and shift responsibility to our client, the prior excess insurer, for its share of a $10 Million settlement of a professional liability claim against a prominent mid-size Miami commercial litigation firm. The Plaintiff excess carrier employed a well-known, highly regarded jury consultant to assist before and during jury selection, and presented expert testimony from a nationally recognized authority on excess and surplus lines insurance coverage matters. The Keller Landsberg team and its client prevailed without the use of a jury consultant and without reliance on expert testimony. A confidential resolution was reached after the defense verdict and no appeal was taken.
  • Successfully obtained a dismissal with prejudice which was affirmed on appeal in a legal malpractice case against a sole practitioner in Broward County. After the co-personal representative named in a will failed to qualify as personal representative under Florida Statutes, he sued the lawyer who drafted the codicil to the will alleging legal malpractice in failing to advise the potential personal representative and decedent of the qualification requirements for serving as personal representative. Plaintiff alleged damages in excess of $2 million, based on the Estate’s value of nearly $200 million. The Court granted Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice because the plaintiff was not a third party beneficiary of the attorney-client relationship between the lawyer and the decedent, and thus could not state a claim for legal malpractice. Two days after oral argument before the Fourth District Court of Appeal, the Appellate Court affirmed the ruling in a per curiam decision. Haber v. Kliston, 247 So. 3d 502 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).

Elizabeth A. Izquierdo

  • After Keller Landsberg took over defense of a case from other counsel following adverse rulings permitting the addition of punitive damage claims, Ms. Izquierdo, along with partners David Keller and Raymond Robin, successfully defended a major law firm and one of its former lawyers against claims for conspiracy, negligent misrepresentation, aiding and abetting fraud and civil theft in a two week jury trial. After obtaining directed verdicts as to the individual plaintiff’s claims, and on the claims for civil theft and punitive damages against the law firm, the Keller Landsberg defense team obtained a defense verdict as to all of the remaining claims.

Maria Vernace

  • One year before trial, Partners David Keller, Dena Sacharow, and Maria Vernace assumed the representation of an excess insurance carrier in a long-running insurance coverage dispute spanning a full decade. After a jury trial lasting over two weeks in Miami-Dade Circuit Court in September and October 2018, Keller Landsberg PA secured a defense verdict against an excess professional liability insurer, that was seeking to avoid and shift responsibility to our client, the prior excess insurer, for its share of a $10 Million settlement of a professional liability claim against a prominent mid-size Miami commercial litigation firm. The Plaintiff excess carrier employed a well-known, highly regarded jury consultant to assist before and during jury selection, and presented expert testimony from a nationally recognized authority on excess and surplus lines insurance coverage matters. The Keller Landsberg team and its client prevailed without the use of a jury consultant and without reliance on expert testimony. A confidential resolution was reached after the defense verdict and no appeal was taken.
  • Successfully argued appeal affirming final summary judgment. Keller Landsberg won summary judgment and attorneys’ fees in Palm Beach County, Florida on claims of malicious prosecution, and conspiracy against an attorney and his law firm for his actions taken while representing a condominium association, establishing that probable cause existed for the attorney to bring the contempt proceeding against the condominium owner on behalf of the association to secure payment of the judgment awarded the association for unpaid association fees. Rivernider v. Steven Meyer, et al., Palm Beach County Circuit Court Case No. 2013CA005398XXXXMB., Summary Judgment Affirmed, Rivernider v. Meyer, __ So. 3d ___, 2015 WL 5244635, at *2 (Fla. 4th DCA Sept. 9, 2015).

Alan Landsberg, Of Counsel

  • Obtained summary judgment on behalf of lawyer-client in action alleging Conspiracy to Defraud, Fraud in the Inducement and Misrepresentation and a subsequent Order by the Judge finding that the claim when initially presented to the Court was not supported by the material facts necessary to establish the claim in accordance with Florida Statute 57.105, Charles v. Algarin, et al., Broward County Circuit Court Case No. 08-03625 (12).
  • Successfully defeated effort to enter judgment for $265 million against foreign insurer following default judgment against insured in wrongful death product liability claim and then successfully resolved matter, including vacating the original judgment.
  • Defense verdict in personal injury action where client ophthalmologist hit a pedestrian at night causing severe personal injuries and damages in excess of $750,000.
  • Summary judgment on behalf of South Florida tax lawyer on claim of legal malpractice and fraud in connection with alleged loss of $1.8 million in offshore annuity investment.
  • Obtained summary judgment in multiple matters on behalf of legal professional liability insurer based on misrepresentations in insurance application.
  • Obtained summary judgment in United States district court defeating attempt to obtain personal jurisdiction over foreign manufacturer.
  • Obtained summary judgment in United States district court defeating a claim of strict liability against an owner of exotic wild animals.
Reported Decisions
  • Atienza v. Physicians, Ins. Co. 980 So. 2d 502 (Fla. 3d DCA 2008)
    • Successfully argued that actions of attorney as agent for insured defeated insurance coverage based on misrepresentation in policy application.
  • Crossin v. Fixel, 80 So.3d 1036 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012)
    • Obtained summary judgment in favor of matrimonial attorney who was sued for professional malpractice as a result of the plaintiff’s pleadings being stricken shortly after order of withdrawal. Affirmed Per Curiam after oral argument. No 4D3430 (February 22, 2012).
  • Elliott v. City of Hollywood, 399 So. 2d 507 (Fla. 4th DCA 1981)
    • Motion to dismiss amended complaint was upheld on appeal, with the court holding that the mere enactment of a municipal shrub ordinance did not make the enforcement of that ordinance a ministerial function of government and therefore the city was immune from suit which was alleged that the failure to enforce the ordinance against a homeowner, whose bushes obstructed the line of sight, was the proximate cause of an intersectional motor vehicle accident.
  • Black v. Dist. Bd. of Trustees, 491 So. 2d 303 (Fla. 4th DCA 1986)
    • Defense verdict obtained at trial was upheld with the court holding that: (1) doctrine of express assumption of risk could be applied to police training, and (2) jury could find under the facts of the instant case that trainee voluntarily assumed a specific, known risk of being accidentally struck by another officer while attempting to disarm that officer in a realistic training exercise.
  • In Re Fl. Rules of Civ. Proc., 641 So. 2d 343 (Fla. 1994)
    • Argued issue of insurance representative attendance at mediation before the Florida Supreme Court.

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