Best's Insurance Professional Resources

Your Online Portal for Claims Industry Information

Best's Insurance Professional Resources

Your Online Portal for Claims Industry Information



Best's Recommended Insurance Attorneys

General Defense


200 South Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 4100, Miami, Florida 33131
  • Telephone: 305-358-6300
  • Fax: 305-381-9982
  • Toll Free: 800-325-2892
  • Website: www.shutts.com

Established: 1910

Practice Areas

  • Insurance Defense
  • Life and Health
  • General Liability
  • Fraud
  • Reinsurance
  • Disability
  • Class Actions
  • First- and Third-Party Bad Faith
  • Regulatory Issues
  • Attorney-General Investigations
  • Administrative Law Matters

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About Us

Since its establishment in 1910, Shutts & Bowen has taken great pride in its representation of the insurance industry. Currently, more than a dozen trial and appellate lawyers are members of Shutts & Bowen's Insurance Practice Group ("IPG"). Particular areas of experience include litigation relating to individual life, health and disability insurance policies, as well as issues arising under ERISA-controlled group policies. Shutts & Bowen's IPG also extensively litigates (and provides analysis and consultation on) all aspects of automobile, homeowners, and other property and casualty policies, including tort defense, coverage, bad faith, and claims handling issues. We are also frequently consulted on issues relating to directors and officers liability policies, and we regularly litigate coverage and tort issues arising under commercial general liability policies. The firm's insurance practice also includes class action defense. IPG lawyers represent insurers in state and federal trial and appellate courts throughout the state of Florida. The IPG conducts in-house training/educational seminars for its insurer clients on subjects important to the industry, including deposition and trial preparation for employees, detection and prevention of fraudulent insurance claims, the prevention of bad faith scenarios and recent developments and trends in Florida insurance law.

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Additional Locations

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • 200 East Broward Boulevard, Suite 2100
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301
    • Telephone: 954-524-5505
    • Fax: 954-524-5506
  • West Palm Beach, Florida
  • 525 Okeechobee Boulevard, Suite 1100
  • West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
    • Telephone: 561-835-8500
    • Fax: 561-650-8530
  • Tampa, Florida
  • 4301 West Boy Scout Boulevard, Suite 300
  • Tampa, Florida 33607
    • Telephone: 813-229-8900
    • Fax: 813-229-8901
  • Orlando, Florida
  • 300 South Orange Avenue, Suite 1600
  • Orlando, Florida 32801
    • Telephone: 407-423-3200
    • Fax: 407-425-8316
  • Sarasota, Florida
  • 1858 Ringling Boulevard, Suite 300
  • Sarasota, Florida 34236
    • Telephone: 941-552-3500
    • Fax: 941-552-3501
  • Jacksonville, Florida
  • 1022 Park Street, Suite 308
  • Jacksonville, Florida 32204
    • Telephone: 904-899-9926
  • Tallahassee, Florida
  • 215 South Monroe Street, Suite 804
  • Tallahassee, Florida 32301
    • Telephone: 850-241-1717
    • Fax: 850-241-1716

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Client Information

Insurance Clients

Non-Insurance Clients

  • Disability Management Services, Inc.

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Personnel Information

Partners


David O. Batista

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Practice Areas
  • Insurance
  • Litigation
  • Class Actions
  • Construction
  • Corporate Law
  • Financial Services
Admitted
  • Michigan, 1997
  • Florida, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
David is an accomplished trial lawyer with more than 20 years of experience in complex commercial litigation, including insurance, business torts, class actions, construction, financial services, corporate, shareholder and partnership disputes, and products liability cases. He has served as lead trial counsel in high-damage federal and state jury trials and arbitrations. David is well regarded for implementing winning strategies that are both cost-effective and aligned with his client’s business interests.
Education:
  • Florida International University, B.B.A., Finance, 1993
  • Michigan State University College of Law, J.D. (magna cum laude), 1997

Jerel C. Dawson

Miami, FL

Admitted
  • Florida, 1998
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1999
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 2000
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 2004
Jerel practices primarily in the areas of disability and life insurance defense, with particular focus on federal ERISA litigation and appeals. He has obtained more than 50 summary judgments in favor of insurers in federal ERISA actions, and successfully defended numerous appeals in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Jerel has also published several articles on significant issues in ERISA litigation.
Memberships:
  • The Florida Bar
Education:
  • University of Florida, B.A., 1990
  • The University of Alabama, M.A., 1993
  • Florida State University, J.D. (magna cum laude), 1998
Law Review:
Florida State University Law Review, 1996-1998

Steven M. Ebner

Miami, FL

Admitted
  • New York, 1998
  • New Jersey, 1999
  • Florida, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York
  • U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey
  • U.S. Supreme Court
A seasoned trial lawyer, Steven has litigated a broad range of cases throughout his career in public service and private practice. He is a former Senior Counsel for the City of New York and has been recognized among the Best Lawyers in America® in commercial litigation, as a “Legal Leader” by Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, and listed as a “Power Leader” and “Top Lawyer” by the South Florida Business Journal.

Steven regularly represents a wide variety of clients, including financial institutions, real estate developers, property owners, general contractors, and other Fortune 500 companies in diverse and complex business disputes. He routinely advises clients involved in commercial disputes, insurance litigation, product liability, and trust and estate litigation.

Steven has represented high profile individuals such as Juan Gabriel, the most prolific and beloved singer-songwriter in the history of Mexico, and academic institutions, including Harvard University.

Prior to joining Shutts, Steven practiced in the New York City office of a large Northeast law firm, where he handled a variety of litigation matters, including those involving breach of contract, health care fraud, product liability, employment and labor law, subrogation, personal injury, and real estate litigation. He represented clients such as financial institutions, equipment manufacturers, real estate developers, insurance companies, health care providers, labor unions, and franchisers.
Memberships:
  • Florida Bar Grievance Committee for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit
Education:
  • State University of New York at Binghamton, B.A., 1994
  • Brooklyn Law School, J.D., 1997

Jonathan M. Fordin

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Disability
  • ERISA
  • First Party Matters
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Life and Health
Admitted
  • Florida, 1983
  • District of Columbia, 1990
  • New York, 1991
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated litigator and certified mediator, Jonathan has over 30 years of experience handling cases involving life, health and disability insurance. He regularly represents securities brokers and dealers, corporations and other business entities on claims under ERISA and state law, as well as issues related to HIPAA and first party claims.

Jonathan is certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a civil litigation mediator. He’s experienced in analyzing and developing efficient strategies on behalf of his clients, whether it involves negotiating an early settlement or effective litigation.

Jonathan is a member of the Defense Research Institute, an international organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. He’s also a graduate of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy Program, where he has been on the faculty for numerous NITA sponsored trial advocacy programs.
Memberships:
  • American (Trial Section) and Dade County Bar Associations
  • International Claims Association
  • Defense Research Institute
  • National Institute of Trial Advocacy
Education:
  • Cornell University, B.A., 1980
  • University of Florida, J.D., 1983

Joseph M. Goldstein

Miami, FL

Admitted
  • Florida, 1989
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated attorney, Joseph is among the less than one percent of attorneys who are Florida Bar Board Certified in Business Litigation. He has been recognized as a “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America ®, listed as a “Power Leader” by South Florida Business Journal as well as the “Top Lawyers in South Florida” by South Florida Legal Guide.

Businesses involved in disputes or government bid protests rely on his expertise, trial experience and government background. Joseph regularly represents defense companies, technology firms, construction firms and government service providers in their business disputes and government bid protests. His practice focuses on business litigation; government contracts, including bid protests; litigation involving non-competition agreements; and real estate related disputes.
Memberships:
  • American, Dade County and Broward County Bar Associations
  • The Florida Bar
Education:
  • Cornell University, B.S., 1986
  • Nova University, J.D. (cum laude), 1989
  • Georgetown University, LL.M. (with distinction), 1994
Clerkship:
Law Clerk to Judge Patricia Fawsett, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
Military:
Captain, U.S. Air Force, 1990-1994

Jeffrey M. Landau

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Life and Health
  • Long-Term Care
  • Disability
  • Insurance Defense
Admitted
  • Florida, 1990
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, First, Sixth and Eleventh Circuits
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Jeffrey has been named among the Best Lawyers in America® in insurance law and is an experienced litigator and arbitrator. He regularly represents insurance companies in coverage disputes involving disability, life, long term care and health insurance policies, and related ERISA issues.

Jeff has previously served as a member of both The Florida Bar and Dade County Bar’s Federal Court Committees. He assisted in the development of a Discovery Practices Handbook that is now an Appendix to the Local Rules of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Memberships:
  • American and Dade County Bar Associations
  • Defense Research Institute (Life, Health & Disability Committee)
Education:
  • City College of the City University of New York, B.S., 1968
  • Columbia University, M.A., 1971
  • Fordham University, Ph.D., 1977
  • University of Miami, J.D. (with honors), 1990

Sara Levy

Fort Lauderdale, FL
Practice Areas
  • Insurance
  • Litigation
Admitted
  • Florida, 2006
  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern and Southern Districts of New York
Sara’s practice focuses on a wide range of civil litigation matters, including insurance defense, commercial litigation, class actions, securities litigation, real estate litigation, labor and employment litigation and product liability matters.
Education:
  • New York University, B.A., 2002
  • Hofstra University School of Law, J.D. (cum laude), 2005

John E. Meagher

Chairman, Insurance Practice Group

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Bad Faith
  • Disability
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Life and Health
Admitted
  • Florida, 1985
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court
A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated trial lawyer, John has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America® in insurance law and has been named a “Top Lawyer” by South Florida Legal Guide. John primarily represents large insurance companies, defending them in trial and appellate actions throughout the state and federal court systems. John also litigates commercial, real estate, and banking cases.

In the insurance context, John has experience defending first, third party, and bad faith claims involving life, health, long term care, and disability insurance litigation. He has handled large, complex cases and numerous jury and non-jury trials for clients such as MetLife, Northwestern Mutual, Unum, and Lincoln Financial Group. A recent jury trial on a large disability insurance policy before a federal Nashville court resulted in a defense verdict for his client, the insurer. In another matter, John represented a national insurer before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals that resulted in a favorable summary judgment under a $2 million life insurance policy. He has argued before the Florida Supreme Court in a case involving far-reaching issues of attorney-client privilege in first-party bad faith claims. He also was lead counsel in a precedent setting case before the Third District Court of Appeals on the issue of whether bad faith claims could be pursued simultaneously with an insured’s breach of contract claim, resulting in lower costs and exposure to insurers throughout the State.
Memberships:
  • Federal District Trial and Dade County Bar Associations
  • The Florida Bar
  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys
Education:
  • University of South Florida, B.A. (cum laude), 1982
  • Georgetown University, J.D. (cum laude), 1985

Harold E. Patricoff, Jr.

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Agent/Broker Liability
  • Coverage Issues
  • Directors and Officers Liability
  • Disability
  • ERISA
  • General Liability
  • Life and Health
Admitted
  • Florida, 1985
Patricoff is a Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated veteran litigator who represents clients in disputes across multinational borders. In his nearly 34 years of experience, Patricoff has successfully resolved more than 100 high-stakes legal disputes in Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia for multinational corporations and financial institutions.
 
Patricoff is widely known for his experience in domestic and international fuel sales, supply and distribution and the power generation industry. He serves as outside counsel for an international power generation supplier and a global distributor of aviation, marine and diesel fuel.

A former chair of the firm’s Business Litigation Practice Group, Patricoff also has extensive experience in general commercial litigation. In addition to power, fuel and aviation industries, Patricoff has handled cases in banking, cases involving the blocking or unblocking of assets in the U.S. and abroad, insurance, manufacturing, construction, banking, and real estate. Specific matters include product liability claims, corporate shareholder disputes, developer-contractor disputes, disability claims, commercial foreclosures, and lender liability claims, among others.
Memberships:
  • American and Dade County Bar Associations
Education:
  • Stetson University, B.A. (cum laude), 1982
  • Stetson University, J.D. (cum laude), 1985

Miranda Lundeen Soto

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Accountants and Attorneys Liability
  • Business Litigation
  • Catastrophic Injury
  • Civil Defense
  • Civil Trial Practice
  • Complex Commercial Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Professional Liability Defense
Admitted
  • Florida, 2003
Additional Biographical Details:

Drake Law School Board of Counselors

Miranda is Florida Bar Board Certified in Civil Trial Law and has tried more than 50 cases, bench and jury trials. Her practice includes from commercial and business disputes, professional and legal malpractice claims, product liability, complex fraud matters, public policy matters, cases of first impression, high-stakes personal injury cases, franchisee/franchisor litigation, trust and estate litigation and premises liability at the state and federal levels.

Miranda began her career as an Assistant State Attorney in the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s office. Miranda was Lead Counsel for Allstate’s Miami and Ft. Myers legal offices.
Memberships:
  • The Florida Bar (Grievance Committee, 2016-2019)
  • Dade County Bar Association (Board of Directors)
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (Insurance Fraud Committee)
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
Education:
  • The University of Alabama, B.A., 1998
  • Drake University Law School, J.D., 2002

Frank A. Zacherl

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Automobile
  • Bad Faith
  • Commercial General Liability
  • Directors and Officers Liability
  • First and Third Party Matters
  • Homeowners
  • Litigation
  • Tort Litigation
Admitted
  • Florida, 1990
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
A Martindale-Hubbell AV® rated attorney, Frank concentrates his practice in complex civil litigation and electronic commerce, with an emphasis on trial work, class action defense, and high-stakes commercial matters. His practice areas include insurance litigation, electronic commerce and cybersecurity consultation and litigation, and commercial litigation.

Frank has served as lead counsel in dozens of significant jury trials (to verdict), and numerous bench trials. He’s tried the issue of class certification in numerous large class action cases, and has coordinated complex insurance litigation and class actions on a state and national level for insurers and telecommunications companies.

Frank is actively defending, and has extensive experience handling, national and statewide class actions in state and federal courts throughout Florida. He’s obtained early dismissal of these cases in many instances. He also provides consultation and representation to insurers regarding claims handling issues, and he’s frequently consulted on matters presenting significant potential exposure to insurers and other companies.
Memberships:
  • American Bar Association
  • The Florida Bar (Trial Lawyers Section)
  • Defense Research Institute
Education:
  • University of Notre Dame, B.A., 1987
  • The George Washington University, J.D., 1990

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Of Counsel


William J. Gallwey, III

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • ERISA
  • Life Claims
  • Disability Claims
Admitted
  • Ohio, 1972
  • Florida, 1975
  • U.S. District Court, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Bill is a Martindale-Hubbell AV® Rated attorney experienced in representing life and health insurance companies and banks in a wide range of complex commercial litigation disputes. He focuses his practice on disability insurance defense work and has litigated high-profile cases.

Bill is an environmental advocate, having served as past President of the Zoological Society of Florida, an organization committed to the education and conservation of Zoo Miami. He has held numerous board and leadership positions with the Miami-Dade County MetroZoo Oversight Board.
Education:
  • The University of New Orleans, B.S., 1968
  • Duke University, J.D., 1972

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Associates


Daniel R. Lazaro

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Insurance
Admitted
  • Florida, 2012
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Florida
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
Dan concentrates his practice on complex insurance coverage and civil litigation cases. Throughout his career, Dan has successfully represented clients in areas such as property, casualty, collateral protection, life, disability, ERISA, professional liability, directors and officers, commercial general liability, employment practices liability, and automobile. His representative experience includes representing government officials, prison personnel, and police officers in the defense of constitutional rights claims, a Fortune 200 energy company in multiple wrongful death actions, a foreign corporation seeking to collect a judgment, and an individual in a code enforcement hearing.

Dan interned with Senior United States District Judge Paul C. Huck in Miami and the Florida Department of Health Regional General Counsel’s Office in Gainesville. During law school, he served as Vice President of the Florida Moot Court Team, when he received numerous awards for brief writing, oral advocacy, and contributions to the team.
Education:
  • University of Miami, School of Business, B.B.A. (cum laude), 2009
  • University of Florida, Levin College of Law, J.D., 2012

Jake Monk

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Appeals
  • Class Actions
  • Disability
  • Insurance Coverage Litigation
  • Insurance Defense
  • Cybersecurity and Data Privacy
  • Deceptive Trade Practices
Admitted
  • Florida, 2012
  • U.S. District Court, Middle and Southern Districts of Florida
Before entering private practice, Jake clerked for the Honorable F. Rand Wallis and Honorable Bruce W. Jacobus at Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal. During his time at the court, Jake taught legal writing courses and a senior seminar as an adjunct faculty member for the University of Central Florida’s Department of Legal Studies and Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law.

While in law school, Jake interned with the Appellate Division of the Public Defender’s Office in the Eleventh Judicial Circuit and completed a health law externship. He also competed nationally and won first place brief for appellate advocacy in moot court.

Prior to practicing law, Jake spent several years working in consulting and project management with hospitals and regional physician networks that transitioned from paper to electronic medical records. He has experience training on medical systems and best practices in clinical charting, administrative systems, and medical billing.
Education:
  • The Ohio State University, B.S.B.A., 2006
  • University of Miami School of Law, J.D., 2012

Oliver Sepulveda

Miami, FL

Practice Areas
  • Insurance
  • Litigation
Admitted
  • Florida, 2014
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
Oliver has experience representing insurance companies throughout the claim process. Oliver has litigated declaratory judgment actions involving third-party liability claims under homeowner personal liability or commercial general liability policies. Oliver also has experience representing insurance companies and their insureds in the appellate courts, including appeals to the Florida Supreme Court.

While in law school, Oliver held internships in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal, and the Florida Office of the Attorney General.
Education:
  • Florida International University, B.B.A., 2007
  • Florida International University, M.S., 2008
  • University of Miami School of Law, J.D., 2014

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Events

News

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High Profile Cases

Florida Tube v. MetLife (S.D. Florida, USCA 11th Circuit); Martin v. MassMutual (M.D. Florida, USCA 11th Circuit); Jeffers v. MetLife (M.D. Tenn., USCA 6th Circuit, Supreme Court of the United States); Frame v. Hartford Life (M.D. Fla., USCA 11th Circuit); Ness v. Aetna Life (M.D. Fla., USCA 11th Circuit); Sobh v. Hartford Life (M.D. Fla., USCA 11th Circuit)

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Service Areas

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA 27 miles

Jacksonville, Florida, USA 345 miles

Orlando, Florida, USA 232 miles

Sarasota, Florida, USA 223 miles

Tallahassee, Florida, USA 469 miles

Tampa, Florida, USA 249 miles

West Palm Beach, Florida, USA 66 miles

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