To right wrongs. That is why Bettina is a lawyer.
Bettina Altizer is a trial attorney in Virginia. At the age of three, Bettina made the decision to become a lawyer. That decision never changed, never wavered. Fighting for others who have been wronged and hurt at the careless hands of another was her destiny. She attended University of Virginia School of Law. After law school, Bettina began practicing with her father in Roanoke, Virginia, and formally accepted her destined role.
During her legal career, Bettina has litigated wrongful death and personal injury cases arising from motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, defective drugs and products, and motorcycle and trucking accidents. Bettina is the founder, owner, and president of Altizer Law, P.C. She has dedicated her life and her career to serving and advocating for individuals.
Long before Bettina was a champion inside the courtroom, she dominated the sport of powerlifting. The multiple World champion and World record holder was considered the strongest, drug-free powerlifter pound for pound during her competitive career. Bettina brings that same champion spirit to the courtroom. She is fiercely committed to providing excellent legal counsel to her clients. What it is all about -- to right the wrong and to get her clients a full cup of Justice.
One of Bettina’s passions is applying all that she has learned and experienced in the attainment of excellence in sport and the study of health, well-being, and flow performance to the practice of law and to trial practice. She is on a relentless path and pursuit of human optimization and the discovery and application of the cutting-edge methods of law practice and trial advocacy. This journey has led her to study with the nationally recognized plaintiff’s trial lawyer, Chris Stombaugh, to discover, uncover, and unleash a trial methodology that embraces the optimized lawyer and the lawyer’s full abilities to influence and persuade, while at the same time radically increase the lawyer’s fulfillment and enjoyment in the practice of law. Bettina’s passion now is to assist with teaching of this new way to other plaintiff lawyers
When he was an infant, Alex Alvarez left Cuba and came to the United States with his family. He was introduced to the justice system in 1978 when, at the age of 19, he was accepted into the police academy. His choice of police work over college came as a surprise to his family. They supported his decision however and he repaid that trust and support by graduating with honors from the Academy and finishing first in his graduating class.
Even as one of the youngest members of the force, Alex quickly rose to the rank of detective and gained international prominence as the lead detective in the infamous “Miami River Cops Case,” which resulted in the arrest and conviction of 18 corrupt Miami police officers. He was named 1987 Officer of the Year by the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Dade County Police Benevolent Association and the Hispanic Police Officer’s Association. Throughout the course of his career he has received more than 30 commendations for his leadership role in this landmark case.
The investigation and subsequent trials consumed much of Alex’s time and afforded him the opportunity to sit for extended periods at the prosecutor’s table in the Miami courtroom where he was able to see another side of the justice system. What he saw intrigued him and it was during the trial that he made the decision to pursue a career as a trial lawyer.
While working as a detective, Alex earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from St. Thomas University in 1989, graduating cum laude. He went on to earn his Juris Doctorate degree in 1992 from the University of Miami Law School, where he was elected by the faculty to the prestigious national honorary society, Order of the Barrister.
Order of the Barrister is a national honorary society that promotes excellence in moot court, mock trial and other advocacy programs. Members of the faculty elect nine students to the organization each year, basing their selection on the candidates’ overall contributions to the moot court and trial advocacy programs.
Having earned his law degree, Alex retired from the police department and set out to make his mark as an attorney. From the moment he began his career as a trial lawyer, Alex quickly established himself as a talented, aggressive attorney who is not afraid to take a case all the way to a jury trial. His success comes from a combination of understanding the importance of meticulous preparation, something he learned well during his time on the police force, and his own tenacious personality. His attention to detail coupled with a natural ability to gather and process information has been a valuable asset as he has won numerous jury verdicts on behalf of his clients while settling others for the maximum possible amount.
Alex Alvarez is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and a member and Eagle Founder of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers and a member of the Florida Bar; American Board of Trial Advocates; Dade County Trial Lawyers Association; American Trial Lawyers Association; and the Cuban American Bar Association.
He serves as associate general counsel for the Dade County PBA, is past president of the Badge & Gavel Society. He was admitted to practice in Florida in 1992 by the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, and has been recognized by Miami – Dade County in its annual list of Top-10 Jury Verdicts, in 1999, 2000, and 2001.
Mr. Alvarez has earned the distinctive Martindale – Hubbell AV rating, an honor bestowed upon lawyers who have reached the height of professional excellence, exhibiting the highest levels of skill and integrity. As a longtime member of the South Florida community, he believes strongly in supporting local causes with pro bono work and other generous contributions.
Mr. Finkelstein is the Managing Partner of Finkelstein & Partners, LLP. He has become a noted consumer activist through his representation of injured individuals against corporate wrongdoers and irresponsible parties. An accomplished litigator, Mr. Finkelstein has represented Plaintiffs in wrongful death and catastrophic personal injury cases. He has successfully handled dozens of multi-million dollar cases.
He is a frequent lecturer at the Finkelstein & Partners Center for Continuing Legal Education. Mr. Finkelstein’s lecture topics include, “Building the case using experts and lay witnesses”, “Science in the Courtroom”, “Technology in the Courtroom”, “Prosecution of a Pharmaceutical Case”, “The Ethics of On-line Advertising”, and “Structured Settlements and the Personal Injury Settlement”. In addition to these presentations, he volunteers his time to present the firm’s “Commit to Quit Texting While Driving” seminar to high school students throughout New York.
Mr. Finkelstein also served as Captain of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund in a pro bono capacity through “Lawyers Care”. Finkelstein & Partners, with Mr. Finkelstein’s oversight, obtained over $10 million for victims and waived all legal fees associated with this representation. He was honored by the Association of Trial Lawyers of America for his leadership participation in the program.
In recognition of his commitment to consumer protection, Mr. Finkelstein has been appointed to several committees overseeing nationwide litigation involving dangerous pharmaceuticals. Mr. Finkelstein is the Chairman of the Plaintiff Personal Injury Steering committee for the Neurontin Liability Multi District Litigation in Boston, MA. He has worked closely with the FDA regarding the adverse effects associated with Neurontin, having filed a Citizens Petition seeking enhanced warning of the side effects of this drug, specifically increased suicidal tendencies. Additionally, Mr. Finkelstein is a member of the Executive Steering Committee of the Hormone Replacement Therapy Multi District Litigation in both Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a member of the Plaintiff Steering Committee of the Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch New Jersey Coordinated Litigation, and the Plaintiff Steering Committee of the Viagra Multi District Litigation in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Joe Fried is regarded as one of the top truck crash lawyers in the country today. His passion for what he does is palpable, and his reputation speaks for itself. In addition to being one of the top attorneys in the nation, Joe is a recognized highway safety advocate and educational leader, sharing his knowledge with other lawyers on how to maximize results in trucking litigation. He has litigated cases in more than 30 states with record results and has given over 300 presentations to lawyer, judge, and police audiences on trucking and trial-related topics. Joe graduated with highest honors from Oglethorpe University, then with honors from the University of Georgia School of Law. He served as an attorney law clerk to the honorable B. Avant Edenfield, Chief U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Georgia. In 1994, Joe entered private practice in Atlanta and was also appointed as a part-time Magistrate Judge in Fulton County, Georgia. He was hand selected by then-chief judge Charlie Carnes and was the youngest judge to ever have been appointed in Fulton County, Georgia. Joe served as a part time judge for 20 years while simultaneously building and running a serious injury law firm with a national reach. He dedicated himself to learning every possible discipline of the commercial vehicle industry. When he saw that other lawyers were treating trucking cases as if they were simply “big car” crashes, he realized there were errors in that approach and developed innovative techniques based on the factors that made trucking cases unique. Mechanical testing, understanding cargo loading, weight, weather impacts, and the driving dynamics all brought keen insights to help present his client’s case thoroughly, and return the maximum result possible. To help lawyers represent their client’s better against billion-dollar trucking giants, Joe co-authored with his partner, Michael Goldberg, Understanding Motor Carrier Claims. Now in its sixth edition, the book’s tactics have been used by thousands of lawyers throughout the U.S. Joe brings to his cases uncommon multidisciplinary training and experience. This includes a thorough understanding of physics, engineering, forensics, biomechanics, human factors and accident reconstruction. Along with his insight, Joe has a strong background in psychology, psychodrama, story development and telling, neurolinguistics programming and persuasion sciences. These skills are invaluable for finding and presenting the compelling story of a case. Joe enjoys the honor as a faculty member of prestigious Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College in Wyoming and a regular lecturer at 360 Advocacy, where he equips other trial lawyers on how to gain a greater understanding of their client’s needs and win the best recovery on their behalf. More than a teacher, he is a trailblazer and dedicated years of his career towards founding the first-ever Board Certification in Truck Accident Law. Joe was the first of only 12 attorneys in the US to hold such a certification, making him a Specialist in this area. He is the Founding Chairman of the Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys, and over 95% of Joe’s cases are sent to him by other lawyers who know about his abilities and track record. Joe was named Trucking Trial Lawyer of the Year in 2014 and 2015 by the American Association of Justice Trucking Litigation Group, Best GA Personal Injury Lawyer by Best Lawyers in America in 2016 and has been named a Super Lawyer every year since 2007. His cases have received national attention from countless publications, including The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Joe is currently involved in the following trucking organizations: American Association for Justice, Trucking Litigation section (Chair 2016-2017, Executive Board 2010-Present) Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (Founder, Founding Director) National Board of Truck Crash Attorneys, National Board of Trial Advocacy (Co-Chair) National Trial Lawyers Association – Trucking Trial Lawyers (President 2015-Present) Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable (Founding Partner) Joe is licensed in Georgia, Florida, New York, Tennessee and Texas and has been retained in cases across the nation.
In 2022 Mike Kelly was inducted into the National Trial Lawyer’s Hall of Fame, the Law Dragon Hall of Fame and acknowledged as the number 1 vote-getter in the Northern California Super Lawyers balloting for the third year in a row. As one of the nation’s top personal injury attorneys, Mike has protected consumers from corporate wrongdoing, medical mistakes, dangerous household products, unsafe medical devices, and motor vehicle accidents of every kind. He has tried, settled, and arbitrated more than 200 cases where the recovery by his client exceeded $1 million.
A member of the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates, in 2022 Kelly was selected by Best Lawyers to its prestigious roster for the 20th consecutive year. Recognized for his leadership in some of the most significant consumer protection cases in California, Kelly made the list of the Los Angeles Daily Journal’s 2021 and 2022 Top Plaintiff Lawyers for his many years of pro-consumer successes. In 2020 he helped negotiate the multibillion-dollar resolution of the 2017 California wildfire lawsuits brought against utility giant PG&E. Before that, his $8.341 million verdict in the first DePuy ASR/Johnson & Johnson metal-on-metal artificial hip litigation helped produce a $2.5 billion national settlement for all victims.
He is a sought-after speaker and teacher having presented more than two hundred invited lectures, tutorials, seminars and advocacy demonstrations across the United States, Asia, South America, the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe. He currently sits on the curriculum committee of Trial School, a nonprofit continuing legal education provider for consumer advocates across the country.
Zoe Littlepage’s practice focuses on complex cases including mass torts, defective medical product or drug cases as well as human rights issues. She typically spends months each year in trial, all across the country. Ms. Littlepage’s jury awards made the list of the Top 10 Largest Verdicts in the country for 2007, 2009 and 2010.
Ms. Littlepage led the charge for the state court Rezulin litigation. Littlepage Booth reviewed more than six million pages of Rezulin documents, took more than 100 days of depositions and Ms. Littlepage tried five of the nine Rezulin trials nationwide, achieving jury verdicts of over $40 million.
In 2003, Ms. Littlepage was appointed Lead Counsel of the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for the Hormone Replacement Therapy MDL Litigation. Ms. Littlepage went to trial more than a dozen times on hormone therapy cases and achieved jury verdicts in excess of $260 million for her clients.
In 2011, Zoe Littlepage was induced into The Inner Circle of Advocates. Founded in 1972, The Inner Circle of Advocates is an invitation only group of 100 of the best trial lawyers in America who are selected for their character, experience and success in the courtroom. The Inner Circle of Advocates was described by The Washington Post as, "A select group of 100 of the nation's most celebrated trial lawyers" and is recognized as one of the most exclusive groups of attorneys in the nation. Inner Circle members often work collectively to share experience, skills and knowledge in pursuit of justice.
American Lawyer magazine as well as Fortune magazine named Ms. Littlepage as one of America’s “Premiere Lawyers.” She has also been nominated as a “Super Lawyer” as well as “Top Lawyer” in the country multiple years running. In 2008, she received the Clarence Darrow award for Best Mass Tort Lawyer. Texas Lawyer praises Ms. Littlepage’s tenacity stating “all bets should be on Littlepage.” Chambers USA, a legal publisher, recognizes Zoe Littlepage as a leading lawyer in nationwide product liability litigation and notes that “Zoe Littlepage of Littlepage Booth does ‘a bang-up job for plaintiffs.’” According to lawyers interviewed by Chambers USA, “[w]hen you see her, you know you have a fight on your hands.”
Patrick Malone is a leading patient safety advocate and attorney who represents seriously injured people in medical malpractice lawsuits, product liability cases and other types of lawsuits. Mr. Malone has won a long string of exceptional verdicts and settlements on behalf of his clients. He is the co-author of an acclaimed book teaching other attorneys how to win cases: Rules of the Road: A Plaintiff’ Lawyer’s Guide to Proving Liability.
Attorney Malone’s verdict in Benedi v. McNeil PPC remains one of the largest collected judgments against a pharmaceutical company. Mr. Malone was the president in 2005-06 of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C.
Mr. Malone frequently is invited to give educational lectures to lawyer groups around the country and also speaks publicly to patients and health care providers about improving the safety of our health care system. He is a member of several prestigious invitation-only lawyer societies, including the Inner Circle of Advocates, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and Litigation Counsel of America. Patrick Malone has been recognized as a leader in the field by the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America, The Best Lawyers in America, Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers, and the Lawdragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Lawyers in America. In the Washington Super Lawyers, he has repeatedly been listed in the top 100 (of 70,000 lawyers in private practice in the D.C. Bar).
Attorney Malone appeared on the Today Show to discuss his book for patients, The Life You Save: Nine Steps to Finding the Best Medical Care – and Avoiding the Worst.
Mr. Malone serves on the boards of several non-profits devoted to helping children and adults with life-changing disabilities. These organizations include:
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
Attorney Malone’s Story
Patrick Malone is a son of the Midwest. He grew up in an Irish Catholic family in Wichita, Kansas, the oldest of seven children. After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Kansas, he worked as a reporter for United Press International in Kansas City, then won a prestigious journalism fellowship at the University of Michigan, where he studied public health issues and wrote freelance articles for the Washington Post. Malone then worked as a medical writer and investigative reporter for the Miami Herald, where he won a number of awards, including a finalist designation for the Pulitzer Prize for a series co-authored on “dangerous doctors.”
After he was accepted at Yale Law School, Malone and his wife Vicki sold their home in Miami and moved to a rental apartment in New Haven, Connecticut with their infant son. They had one more son while at Yale and a third after moving to the Washington area. At Yale, Malone won several student awards, including best “moot court” argument. He worked for a year after graduating for a prominent federal judge, U.S. District Judge Gerhard Gesell in Washington, D.C. In 1985, Patrick Malone began his career as an attorney representing seriously injured people.
Rich Newsome is the senior partner of the Newsome Melton law firm and represents people and families in complex civil litigation.
After graduating from the University of Florida College of Law in 1989, Rich worked as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern and Middle Districts of Florida. Rich left the U.S. Attorney’s Office in 1993 and went to work for a large product liability defense firm in Orlando, Florida where he represented manufacturers. After defending a manufacturer in a case brought by a family who lost a child, Rich felt compelled to leave the defense practice and began representing only families and individuals. Since then, for more than 25 years, Rich’s practice has focused on representing people who have suffered catastrophic or fatal injuries.
In 2001, Rich was appointed by the Florida Governor to the Fifth District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission and served as the JNC’s Chairman during his term. He is a Past-President of the Orlando Federal Bar Association, Past-President of the Florida Justice Association, Past-Member of the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice, Past-President of the Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association, and is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocacy.
Rich is a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyer’s College and was invited to serve as a member of the College Faculty. Rich is a member of the Florida, Texas, New Mexico, and Oregon Bar Associations.
In 2016, Rich was selected as the “Orlando Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers, a peer review publication. In 2015, Rich received the Steven C. Sharpe Public Service Award from the American Association for Justice, in recognition of his representation of Corey Burdick who was severely injured by a defective Takata airbag. The Steven C. Sharpe Award is awarded annually to one attorney and their client.
In 2017, Rich was appointed to the Constitution Revision Commission by Richard Corcoran, the Speaker of Florida’s House of Representatives. The 37 member Commission drafted and submitted 32 amendments to the Florida Constitution which were placed on the ballot and approved by Florida voters to be part of the Florida Constitution in November 2018.
In 2019, Rich was recognized by the National Law Journal as having won two of the Nation’s 100 largest verdicts in 2018.
Rich is a member of the Summit Council, a national group of America’s best plaintiff trial lawyers. Membership is limited to less than thirty trial lawyers from across the country, is by invitation only, and is extended to lawyers who have a proven record of large jury verdicts and are recognized as leaders of the national plaintiffs bar.
Rich is a founding faculty member of Trial School, Inc., a not-for-profit organization which seeks to foster collaboration between lawyers on today’s best trial advocacy methods and to provide free education and practice for trial lawyers who exclusively represent people and families.
State of Florida, 1989
State of New Mexico, 2009
U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida, 1992
U.S. District Court Northern District of Florida, 1992
U.S. District Court Southern District of Florida, 1992
U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1990
U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 1998
Trial Lawyer’s College, Graduate, Class of September 2016
University of Florida, Juris Doctor, 1989
Winner, National Prince Evidence Appellate Moot Court Competition, 1988
Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, 1986 – Bachelor of Science, Economics, Political Science
Honors and Awards
Best Lawyers’ 2016 Orlando Personal Injury Litigation, Plaintiffs “Lawyer of the Year,” 2016
American Association for Justice’s Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, 2015
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers, 2013 to Present
The Summit Council, 2012 to Present
US News “Best Law Firms”, 2011 to Present
Florida’s Legal Elite by Florida Trends Magazine, 2005 to Present
Best Lawyers in Orlando, Orlando Magazine, 2004 to Present
AV Rated Attorney by Martindale-Hubbell, 2004 to Present
The Best Lawyers in America, 2003 to Present
Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award, 2001
FL Lawyer’s Action Group, Chairman’s Outstanding Electoral Achievement Award, 1999
United States Department of Justice Special Achievement Award, 1991
Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Top 100 Trial Lawyers
Million Dollar Advocates
Avvo rating 10.0 out of 10.0
Professional Associations and Memberships
International Society of Barristers
American College of Trial Lawyers
Florida’s Constitution Revision Commission, Commissioner, 2017-2018
Florida Guardian Ad Litem Foundation, Board of Directors, 2017
Florida Justice Association (FJA), President, 2010-2011
Florida Justice Association (FJA), Executive Committee, 2005-2012
American Association for Justice (AAJ), Board of Governors, 2005-2015
5th District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission, Member and Chairman, 1999-2002
Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association (CFTLA), President, 2004
Orlando Federal Bar Association, President, 1990-1996
National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 Diplomat
The National Crime Victim Bar Association, Member
Mel Orchard is a trial lawyer, trying cases in the courtrooms across America, for the past 27 years. Mel has litigated and/or tried hundreds of cases in his career and has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in settlement and verdicts for his clients. During his trial career, Mel has been a part of record-breaking civil jury verdicts in various jurisdictions (Wyoming, Arizona, and Iowa). He has also devoted significant time to pro bono work through Lawyers and Advocates for Wyoming, and many local and national charities.
In addition to preparing for trial or being in trial, Mel was a senior faculty member and board member at the Trial Lawyer's College in Wyoming and was recently selected to join the Board.
Mel also lectures and presents to various legal organizations throughout the country including Bar Associations, Leadership Organizations and has taught Judicial Ethics to various groups of judges. He was Chairman for the Wyoming Commission for Judicial Conduct and Ethics where he served as a member for six years after appointment.
Throughout his 30-year legal career, Ben Rubinowitz has made his mark as a leading trial lawyer combining hard work and dedication with his remarkable courtroom skills and presence. Mr. Rubinowitz began his career as a prosecutor, where he honed the trial skills that would become his hallmark. From there, he began serving as a trial lawyer representing severely injured plaintiffs in personal injury cases, eventually joining GGCRBHS&M in 1989. For the past 16 years Mr. Rubinowitz was featured in New York Magazines' article on "Best Lawyers in New York". For the past 2 years Ben has been recognized in the New York Times as one of the "Top 10" lawyers in the New York Metro area, as evaluated by New York Super Lawyers. Ben was honored by being elected to be a member of the prestigious Inner Circle of Advocates. The Inner Circle of Advocates is limited to 100 members considered among the best plaintiffs attorneys in the United States and also to be "lawyers of excellent character and integrity."
Ben's meticulous approach to the preparation and trial of cases has produced 28 verdicts and over 180 settlements in excess of one million dollars in cases arising out of car accidents, premises accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, civil rights violations and products liability. Mr. Rubinowitz has a thorough grasp of the nuances of complex issues. This, coupled with his ability to translate complicated information into clear terms for a jury, has left an indelible impression on all those who have witnessed him in action--including even defendants' medical experts that he has cross-examined. In addition to his skills as a trial lawyer, Mr. Rubinowitz has successfully argued appellate cases before the Appellate Division and the highest court in the State of New York, the Court of Appeals.
Mr. Rubinowitz's experience and legal acumen is also sought out outside of the courtroom. He has appeared as a legal expert on Court TV and co-authors a regular column in the NY Law Journal on the subject of trial advocacy. His successes as a trial lawyer and expertise in his field have earned him national recognition as a trial advocacy teacher both to attorneys and to law students. Mr. Rubinowitz has lectured, chaired, and participated in seminars and programs at Harvard, Yale, Emory, Fordham, Hofstra, St. John's, Pace and Cardozo law schools, as well as more than 500 continuing legal education programs throughout the country and internationally. In recognition of his trial skills, Mr. Rubinowitz has been asked by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy to serve as a national and regional team leader and thereafter, served as Chair of the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
More recently, Mr. Rubinowitz was asked by the Duke University School of Medicine and Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons to lecture physicians about Medical Malpractice at the American Urologic Association, and Mt. Sinai Hospital, NYU School of Medicine and at the Mayo Clinic.
In recognition of his experience and talent Ben has been asked to lecture to Judges at the Judicial Institute and has represented Judges before the Judicial Conduct Commission.
Among Ben's recent Court victories are: a $59,200,000 verdict for a former high school student disfigured by a chemistry experiment, a $41,500,000 Verdict for the family of a city sanitation worker fatally struck by a street sweeper, this is one of the largest wrongful death award in Queens County; a $71,000,000 Verdict in a car accident case in which his client suffered Spinal Cord Injuries, this is the largest Verdict in the Country for this type of injury; a $27,500,000 verdict obtained in New York Supreme Court for a bus accident in which a woman, who was struck by a bus while crossing the street, lost her leg, this is the largest award in New York State history for this type of injury; a $26,000,000 settlement in a wrongful death claim by the husband of a woman struck and killed by a truck, this is one of the largest wrongful death awards in the country for the death of one person; a $17,250,000 verdict in a medical malpractice case in which a man was rendered partially incontinent as a result of a doctor committing medical malpractice, this case was tried to verdict in Syracuse, New York and is one of the largest verdicts ever obtained in that county; an $11,400,000 verdict for the sexual abuse of two teenagers; a $10,000,000 settlement for a woman who was rendered blind as a result of being struck by a drunk driver. Ben successfully argued this case before the highest Court in the State, The New York Court of Appeals winning a 7 to 0 decision for his client (to see the legal argument click here). Ben later settled this case during trial in Nassau County Supreme Court; an $8,000,000 settlement during trial in Queens, New York for a woman who suffered brain damage as a result of anesthesiologic malpractice; an $8,000,000 settlement obtained during trial for a baby rendered brain damaged shortly after birth and an $8,000,000 settlement on behalf of a man who lost his wife as result of the reckless conduct of a man who was driving while intoxicated.
Ben obtained a multi-million verdict for a bicyclist who was struck by a bus. The bicyclist suffered degloving injuries to her leg. Immediately following this verdict, the New York City Transit Authority settled a case with Ben for $6,500,000 for an 80 year old woman who suffered crush injuries to her feet. To date, Ben has obtained many of the largest awards ever on behalf of pedestrians and bicyclists struck by Buses and Trucks.
More recently, Ben secured the largest Pain and Suffering award ever in New York State history. You can see Ben's winning argument before the First Department, Appellate Division in the video below.
Christopher has been a consistent thought leader, applying cognitive neuroscience techniques to trial advocacy for most of his 25-year career.
For more than 30 years, Chris Stombaugh has been devoted to his true passion, advancing the art and science of trial advocacy. Chris focuses on trial. He has successfully tried to verdict cases for people around the country injured by hospitals, aircraft manufacturers, insurance companies, agribusiness, construction companies, and truck companies and many other industries. His approach empowers people to tell their stories in a way that resonates with juries and has led to several record-setting, seven and eight figure jury verdicts.
Chris speaks regularly to state bar and trial lawyer associations nationwide on modern and effective trial advocacy and is a key member of DiCello Levitt’s Trial Practice Team. In addition to his own successful practice, Chris teaches trial lawyers cognitive neuroscience to benefit their clients.
Chris is the past president of the Wisconsin Association for Justice, having served as president of the WAJ 2014 term. He has been chosen as a Wisconsin Super Lawyer every year since 2010. He is an active member in a number of other trial lawyer associations.
John Uustal reveals the critical decisions that went into accepting and then building a case that settled for $27 million, while uncovering one of the most devious corporate cover-ups in history.
John Uustal is a founding partner of the Kelley | Uustal law firm in Fort Lauderdale. Uustal leads a team of fourteen elite trial lawyers, who have won some of the largest verdicts in the country. He limits his own practice to a small number of “cases that can’t be won for families that can’t afford to lose.” He has taken on some of the most complex and difficult legal cases of our time. His successes have resulted in safer fuel tanks, safer seatbelts, safer medical care, and safer equipment for firefighters. That success has earned him some powerful enemies. A car company promised to bankrupt him, he was attacked and maligned by Big Tobacco, and he was threatened in Argentina after antagonizing government officials who had been complicit in Argentina’s dirty war. He has won every case he has tried against tobacco companies. He has won every one of his cases involving keyless ignition defects. He has been named Product Liability Lawyer of the Year by America’s Best Lawyers, awarded the Most Effective Lawyer for Product Liability by the Daily Business Review, and has been interviewed and chronicled by national newspapers and television news programs.
The day after John Uustal started law school, Hurricane Andrew tore through the University of Miami, destroyed parts of the city, and shut down the school. Once the campus and surrounding areas reopened, his first-year class was forced to complete a full year of law school in much less time. For months they studied law at a ridiculous pace under tremendous pressure while living without electricity or phone service and at the same time struggling to help those still in need. At the end of that school year – with all its impossible demands and incredible responsibility – Mr. Uustal ranked first in the entire student body and had earned the Book Award for the highest grade in the class in every single class that year.
He turned his attention to trial skills and was prosecuting criminals in Miami courtrooms even before he graduated. He earned what was reportedly the highest score in the entire state on the Florida Bar Examination. In his first few years of practice, he obtained a $51 million verdict trying a car crash case himself, helped make national news when he discovered a massive corporate scheme to cover up the real reason that people were burning alive in General Motors vehicles, and tried cases across the country.
Mr. Uustal now handles incredibly complex and difficult cases against the best defense attorneys in the world. His successes have resulted in safer fuel tanks, safer seatbelts, safer medical care, and safer equipment for firefighters and paramedics.
His most prominent recent cases have been against companies that knowingly sell dangerously defective products. He represented a young girl who was severely burned when a pressure cooker malfunctioned and won one of the largest recoveries ever in the entire country, and this was on a case that other lawyers rejected. He handled cases involving keyless ignition defects that killed people in their homes and won every case. He was so infuriated by the refusal of automobile companies to fix their vehicles in the ways their own engineers specified that he worked with the New York Times on a comprehensive story of the defect, which lead to hearings in the U.S. Senate. He has won every case he has tried against tobacco manufacturers, who have been selling dangerous products for decades. He has been named Product Liability Lawyer of the Year by America’s Best Lawyers, Awarded the Most Effective Lawyer for Product Liability by the Daily Business Review, and has been interviewed and chronicled by national newspapers and television news programs.
His work has also earned him some powerful enemies. A car company promised to bankrupt him, he was attacked and maligned by Big Tobacco, and he was threatened in Argentina after antagonizing government officials who had been complicit in Argentina’s dirty war. His firm is organized specifically so that it can withstand such intimidation. The words of Clarence Darrow, painted on the walls, create clarity in every decision that requires sacrifice: “I have lived my life, and I have fought my battles, against power. I have asked no odds from them, and I never will.”
Mr. Uustal limits his practice to representing families who have suffered catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, even when other attorneys say the case can’t be won. With truly devastating injuries, the difference between a good recovery and a great recovery may be all the difference in the world. To make that kind of difference he can only handle a few cases at a time. There is no other way.
Clients have called him “the real deal;” “an old-school fighter” who “cared about us as people first.”
Mr. Uustal grew up in Fort Lauderdale. His mother was a teacher, his father was a coach, and he saw the real impact they each had on so many young lives. He coaches competitive soccer for Fort Lauderdale Select, and he finds opportunities to coach in the law as well. He believes that it is important to freely give his time advising, assisting and teaching other attorneys who ask for help. He gives lectures across the country and teaches trial skills.
Kimberly L. Wald’s practice is dedicated to catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, products liability, medical malpractice, and tobacco litigation.
In July 2021, Ms. Wald obtained a $35 million dollar jury verdict for a paralyzed Navy veteran who suffered catastrophic injuries in a car crash case.
During the past five years Ms. Wald participated as first or second chair attorney in trials obtaining over 150 million dollars in jury verdicts. In 2019 she served as second-chair in two landmark trials against the largest cigarette manufacturers in the country with verdicts exceeding $13 million dollars.
Recently, in 2021 Ms. Wald was honored to be selected by the Broward County Trial Lawyers Association to receive the inaugural “Rising Star Award.” She also was named a “Rising Star” by the Super Lawyers organization in both 2020 and 2021 and additionally was named one of the Best Lawyers in America “Ones to Watch” in 2020 and 2021.
In 2017 Ms. Wald served as second chair in Konzelman v. RJ Reynolds and obtained a $28.795 million dollar jury verdict. Further, in 2016, she was recognized by the Daily Business Review as one of the “Most Effective Lawyers” for her involvement in a $4 million medical malpractice arbitration.
Ms. Wald recently joined the Haggard Law Firm in 2022. Ms. Wald began her legal career as a law clerk with Kelley|Uustal, specializing in complex product liability and medical malpractice cases. During her last year of law school, she served as a Certified Legal Intern with the Office of the State Attorney for the 17th Judicial Circuit where she tried numerous misdemeanor cases.
Ms. Wald graduated with honors from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business in 2011 where she received her Bachelor of Science in Management. She earned a double major in Legal Studies and Business and Marketing, with a minor in Jewish Studies. Upon graduating summa cum laude from Nova Southeastern University Law School in 2014, Ms. Wald returned to Kelley|Uustal to help victims of negligence and their families.
Ms. Wald has also served as a guest lecturer at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center and serves on the faculty of the National Institute of Trial Advocacy.
Ms. Wald is a South Florida native, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale. She is an avid sailor and enjoys cooking and spending time with her family and her dog, Bruno.
Jesse Wilson is a Juilliard Theater Graduate with over 20 years of working on the stage, TV, and film. In 2015, Jesse created “Tell The Winning Story,” a communication breakthrough company to empower trial lawyers to deliver high-impact presentations, as well as rapidly transform their communication and collaboration skills to effectively prepare clients and witnesses to testify.
Jesse was inspired to create “Tell The Winning Story” after co-developing a Theater-Behind-Bars program for inmates.
The program helped inmates make powerful changes in their lives. From this experience, The 8 Fundamentals of Breakthrough Communication – the foundational element of “Tell The Winning Story” was born.
The true power of a story always comes from inside us, the storyteller…And the path to developing a winning story begins with the trial lawyer owning their own story. “Tell The Winning Story” provides attorneys the difference between telling a “hidden, safe, ‘surface’ story,” and powerfully connecting to a story that goes right to the heart of their audience… whomever that audience happens to be.
Jesse’s hands on Communication & Presentation training for trial lawyers is featured in his seminars, law firm retreats, intensives, and small and large group workshops.
Kurt Zaner has dedicated his legal career to representing folks against the modern day Goliaths. In battling corporations that refuse to take responsibility, Kurt enjoys the challenge of standing up for people that seemingly have the odds overwhelmingly stacked against them.
A sought-after national speaker, Kurt frequently lectures on his winning trial techniques, effective legal writing strategies, and iconic discovery tactics that force top value settlements. Kurt has secured the largest premises liability verdict in the history of Colorado ($16,000,000.00). He has appeared on Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and every local media outlet including the Denver Post and local CBS, ABC, and Fox affiliates. He is a published author of Federal and State case law, including Colorado law establishing the right to punitive damages for victims of drunk drivers; he also authored legal articles on distracted driving as well as articles on ancient Roman trial methods.
As a trained stage actor, Kurt credits much of his trial success to his theatrical training in college and in Los Angeles prior to law school. After graduating law school near the top of his class and receiving the American Bar Association’s and American Law Institute’s Best Graduate Award – awarded to the one student of the graduating class who best represents a combination of scholarship and leadership – Kurt went on to clerk for United States District Judge Ken Marra. Working side by side with a Federal Judge on one of the largest caseloads in the country, Kurt learned the art of persuasive advocacy both through legal writing and courtroom theatrics. Most importantly, he learned how cases are won from behind the bench.
Prior to co-founding Zaner Harden Law, Kurt practiced with some of the best-known trial lawyers in the country. Kurt has successfully represented hundreds of clients across the State of Colorado, trying and winning cases at every level of Colorado State Court, including several million and multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. In 2017 him and his partner were recognized as having two of of the largest verdicts of the year across all practice ares, including a 1,700,000.00 verdict against an oil company’s distracted driver as well as a $2,500,000 verdict against a drunk driver that killed his client’s son and then fled the scene. This drunk driving verdict landed on the front page of the Denver Post as the community was fed up with these kinds of reckless drivers avoiding accountability by running away. Kurt defended this verdict all the way to the Colorado Supreme Court, In 2018, Kurt secured the largest premises liability verdict in the history of Colorado – $16,000,000.00 in Boulder for a father of three who was diagnosed with the crippling neurological condition CRPS after a temporary electrical box exploded. A few years later, Kurt secured a verdict on another electrocution case where his client also developed CRPS, with a Denver jury delivering a $10,600,000.00 verdict (with interest).
No matter how big or small the case, Kurt takes great pride in helping those that entrust their most significant legal problems to his law firm.
Kurt is very active in the Trial Lawyer Community, both locally and nationally. Locally, he was recently elected to the Board of the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association (CTLA) for his fifth consecutive year and serves on several committees. Nationally, after serving as President of the New Lawyers Division for the American Association of Justice (the 5,000 member NLD division of the most pre-eminent national trial lawyer organization in the Country), Kurt now serves on the Budget Committee of the entire 20,000 member organization as well as the Board of Governors. He also acts as a certified End Distracted Driving (EndDD Program) presenter, donating his time in high school classrooms in Colorado educating the next generation of drivers on the dangers of distracted driving.
Kurt is invited to speak across the country on novel legal strategies and methods that he has developed – techniques that have resulted in unprecedented successful results for his clients. He has been a regular speaker for the American Association of Justice, having spoken in Boston, Palm Springs, Denver, Los Angeles, and Montreal on a variety of topics including trial techniques, writing strategies, and insurance bad faith. On the State level, Mr. Zaner regularly teaches for the Colorado Trial Lawyers at their state convention, statewide CLEs, and for CTLA’s new lawyer bootcamps, He has also spoken at the prestigious Arkansas Trial Lawyers College on one of his favorite topics: transplanting 2,000-year-old trial techniques from the Roman trial lawyer Cicero and demonstrating how they can be effective in today’s trials.
Kurt has been recognized by his peers for his achievements, earning the Super Lawyer designation – a recognition for the top 2.5 percent of lawyers in Colorado. He has also been named as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer in Colorado by The National Trial Lawyers, an invitation-only organization comprised of the most celebrated trial lawyers across the country. Kurt consistently maintains a 10.0 SUPERB rating with AVVO, an attorney rating system that considers a lawyer’s practice, professional achievements and industry recognition. He is also published in Who’s Who and is recognized in a variety of other national organizations as a preeminent trial lawyer. Finally, he was awarded the prestigious Top Lawyer by 5280 in 2017 and 2020, an award bestowed on only 14 personal injury lawyers in the State of Colorado and was named one Denver’s 3 best personal injury lawyers by the independent online rating company Three Best Rated.
When not practicing law, Mr. Zaner spends much of his time with his wife and two young boys, outdoors in the mountains or on the stage in a local theater production.