Verdicts and Settlements
Proven Results for More Than Four Decades
Colson Hicks Eidson has settled or received verdicts totaling in excess of a billion dollars for its clients, including many landmark cases covering a wide range of litigation from aviation, professional negligence, product liability and other types of personal injury and wrongful death cases to commercial and business tort litigation and white-collar criminal defense. The Washington DC, New Orleans and Florida attorneys at Colson Hicks Eidson have the skill, experience and resources to be successful in the most complex and difficult litigation.
Class Action and Mass Tort
Partner Mike Eidson was appointed national lead co-counsel in the Ford-Firestone multi-district litigation in Indianapolis, Indiana. To date, Eidson has handled more than 40 accident cases involving Firestone tires for more than 200 claimants.
$100 Million Recovery for Grave Desecration
Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez led the firm’s class action litigation team to achieve a $100 million settlement against Menorah Gardens Cemeteries and its parent company Service Corporation International (SCI), the largest funeral home operator in the nation. Partner Julie Braman Kane managed the personal relationships with the more than 15,000 class members. The class case and individual cases settled on behalf of families whose loved ones allegedly had graves desecrated had been buried in the wrong cemetery plots. In addition, the defendants agreed to provide in-kind services with a value in excess of $10 million as part of the settlement.
Recovery for Front End Design Defect
Partner Curtis Miner settled a class action in California against a carmaker arising out of a front-end suspension design that caused excessive noise and premature wear of the front tires. As a result of the litigation, the defendant redesigned the front end tires to eliminate the tire problem.
Premium Sales, Largest Mass Fraud Case in South Florida
The firm served as co-lead trial counsel in a class action lawsuit in the Premium Sales case, the largest mass fraud case in South Florida history. The case settled after the start of the jury trial for $170 million.
Monumental BP Gulf Oil Spill Settlement
In 2010, Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez was selected by Federal Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana among 300 highly qualified applicants to sit on the Plaintiff Steering Committee in the multi-district litigation surrounding the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill. Gonzalez was one of 17 lawyers from around the country selected to serve on the PSC and oversee plaintiffs’ claims stemming from the spill.
As a member of the PSC, Gonzalez was instrumental in securing a monumental settlement in March 2012 between BP and hundreds of thousands of victims of the 2010 BP Gulf Oil Spill. Under the terms of the settlement – which still must receive approval from Judge Barbier before it can be considered final – BP is obligated to fully satisfy all eligible business and individual claims. BP has estimated the value of the settlement at $7.8 billion but there is no limit and all claimants’ damages that qualify under the terms of the agreement will be fully compensated. The settlement is broken down into two parts: The Economic and Property Damages Settlement and The Medical Benefits Settlement, which will resolve the majority of private economic loss, property damage and medical injury claims. Gonzalez was additionally appointed as the settlement class counsel to represent each of the settlement classes.
In 2009, Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez was selected by Federal Judge Eldon Fallon to serve on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Chinese drywall multi-district litigation, representing hundreds of homeowners who were victims of high-sulfur Chinese drywall linked to odor and metal corrosion in new home construction. He was one of 15 lawyers selected to the PSC.
$2.5 Million Defective Chinese Drywall Verdict
In June 2010, Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez represented a Miami couple in the nation’s first defective Chinese drywall jury trial against Banner Supply Company, a Miami-based firm that supplied the vast majority of Chinese drywall in Florida. Jurors found Banner liable for knowingly selling the defective drywall used in the couple’s home and awarded $2.5 million in damages. Gonzalez argued that Banner had knowledge that their Chinese drywall was defective and sold the defective drywall to the couple after entering into a confidential agreement with manufacturer Knauf Plasterboard Tianjian to not disclose the defect to others. The verdict would later be instrumental in achieving a $55 million Florida class action settlement between Banner and a class of Florida homeowners.
$55 Million Settlement with Chinese Drywall Suppliers
Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez helped negotiate a Florida class action settlement in June, 2011 between a chain of family-owned Florida-based drywall suppliers, including Banner Supply Company, their insurers, and thousands of Florida homeowners whose homes were damaged by tainted Chinese drywall. Under the terms of the settlement, Banner’s insurers will pay approximately $55 million to affected homeowners in Florida.
Global Settlement with Chinese Drywall Manufacturer
In December 2011, Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez, a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Chinese drywall multidistrict litigation, was instrumental in securing a global settlement between Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin, a major manufacturer of defective drywall imported from China, and homeowners whose homes were damaged by the tainted drywall. Under the terms of the settlement, Knauf Plasterboard Tianjin will pay approximately between $600 million and $1 billion to affected homeowners throughout the country to fix their homes.
Partners Dean Colson, Mike Eidson, Roberto Martínez and Enid Duany Mendoza successfully concluded the international litigation and arbitration against AeroPeru and The Boeing Co. in its representation of 42 families who lost their loved ones in the crash of an AeroPeru Boeing 757 off the coast of Peru. Although the cases were initially filed in the United States federal court, they were arbitrated to a conclusion in Chile. The compensation levels in these cases were among some of the highest ever received for an aviation accident in South America.
The firm represented 18 families of the victims of Gol Flight 1907 who were killed September 30, 2006 in a midair collision over the Brazilian rainforest. A collision-avoidance system on the jet was not operating at the time, according to U.S. and Brazilian investigators.
A Boeing 737-300 operated by Indonesia’s Adam Air crashed in January 2007 killing 102 people. The firm played an active role in investigating safety violations by the budget carrier and handled litigation on behalf of the victims’ families.
On November 30, 2004, Lion Air Flight 538 made a crash landing in Solo City, Indonesia, killing 23 of 146 passengers, the captain and a flight attendant. The firm settled the case on behalf of family members in the crash in Chicago, Illinois.
American Airlines Flight 587
On November 12, 2001, an Airbus 300, operated by American Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff in Belle Harbor, New York killing all those onboard. The firm represented several families who lost loved ones on the plane, and worked with a foundation in Bani, Dominican Republic to construct a memorial park in memory of those who died in this tragic accident.
Kenya Airlines 737 in Cameroon
Colson Hicks Eidson represented many families who lost loved ones in an accident involving a Boeing 737 operated by Kenya Airlines, which crashed shortly after takeoff from Douala Airport in Cameroon in 2007.
ValuJet Flight 592
Partner Mike Eidson represented families in the accident that occurred when the airplane crashed into the Everglades on May 11, 1996 shortly after leaving Miami International Airport, killing all onboard.
Chalks Ocean Airways Seaplane Crash
The firm represented four families whose loved ones were killed in the tragic crash of a Chalks Ocean Airways seaplane on December 19, 2005, shortly after takeoff in Miami en route to Bimini.
Brothers to the Rescue
Partner Roberto Martínez served as co-lead counsel in the litigation against the Government of Cuba in the murders of four men shot down by the Cuban Air Force while flying a humanitarian mission for Brothers to the Rescue. That litigation resulted in a $188 million judgment in Miami federal court against the Cuban Government. After the 2001 passage of two laws through Congress, the victims recovered approximately $100 million from assets of the Cuban Government frozen by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Air National Guardsman
In 2007, Partner Roberto Martínez represented the family of a former Air National Guard member who flew over the Bay of Pigs in 1961. A judge awarded a $22 million judgment, and the family was able to collect that judgment from frozen Cuban assets.
$325 Million Arbitration Case in Latin America
Partners Roberto Martínez and Curtis Miner represented a Latin American media owner who held a stake in a major media venture. Several lawsuits alleged that the majority owner of the venture had committed fraud in connection with the sale of the business. The matter was resolved in arbitration with the client’s investment in the business being purchased for $325 million and the dismissal of all pending litigation.
$19 Million Judgment against the Government of Aruba
Partner Roberto Martínez and his team obtained a $19 million judgment in federal court in Miami against the Government of Aruba on behalf of racecar promoter Ralph Sanchez in connection with a failed effort to build a racetrack in Aruba. The case was settled.
$9 Million Award against Big 4 Accounting Firm
Partners Roberto Martínez and Joe Matthews obtained a $9 million arbitration award against a “Big 4” national accounting firm for professional negligence. The firm failed to provide competent accounting services in substantial losses for the firm’s business clients.
$1.5 Million Landmark Verdict in Pathologist Case
Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez represented Florida Pathology Services in a “landmark case” for the nation’s health plans. A Miami-Dade Circuit Court jury awarded a $1.5 million verdict against Health Options, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida insurance plan, for withholding pathologists’ payments since 1999. Gonzalez also represents pathologists in 11 similar suits involving more than $25 million in clams.
$60.9 Million Verdict for Brain-Injured Baby
Led by partners Ervin A. Gonzalez and Deborah J. Gander, the firm in 2005 obtained a $60.9 million award, the largest amount ever awarded in a Federal Tort Claims Act case in the country. Federal Judge Jose A. Gonzalez found the Obstetrics Clinic in Mayport Naval Station in Jacksonville, Florida liable for medical negligence in the delivery of a brain-injured baby and awarded damages to the boy and his parents, Raiza Bravo and U.S. Navy Serviceman Oscar Rodriguez.
One of the Largest Malpractice Recoveries in Pinellas County History
Partner Joseph Kalbac was counsel for the plaintiff in a 2005 case involving medical malpractice that resulted in severe brain damage to a young child. The case was settled on the first day of trial for a confidential amount that was believed to be the largest single claimant recovery in Pinellas County, Florida.
Negligent Treatment Following Routine Tonsillectomy
Partner Joseph Kalbac represented a family who lost their teenage daughter following a tonsillectomy when she bled to death the day following the surgery due to mistakes made both during the surgery itself and in failing to diagnose and treat a bleeding problem as the result of the surgery. The case was settled for a confidential amount the first day of the trial in Orlando, Florida.
Misdiagnosis Malpractice Case
Partner Deborah J. Gander represented a South Florida fisherman suffering from a marine bacterial infection who was repeatedly misdiagnosed over a 22-month period. The plaintiff required prolonged hospital and rehabilitation treatment, incurring medical expenses in excess of $700,000. The case against a clinic and consulting rheumatologist was settled in May 2007.
Inadequate Care for Nursing Home Patient
An elderly nursing home patient died two years after first noticing a swelling on his penis. The nursing home failed to follow up on his complaints for a full year, until a growing cancerous tumor had to be removed. Deborah J. Gander represented the estate in a case involving violations of Florida’s nursing home statute that was settled in 2006.
Product and Premises Liability
Partner Mike Eidson was appointed in 2000 to serve as national lead co-counsel in the Ford-Firestone multi-district litigation in Indianapolis, Indiana. Since then, he has worked on approximately 250 consolidated personal-injury lawsuits and class-action cases against Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. Most stem from accidents in which the tread peeled off Firestone tires, leading to rollover accidents in Ford Explorers. To date, Eidson has settled cases for more than 200 clients involving 40 separate accidents worldwide and assisted hundreds of other cases in preparation and recovery.
$17 Million Verdict against Ford Econoline
In 2001, Ervin A. Gonzalez and Mike Eidson obtained a $17 million jury verdict in a Miami state court against Ford in a wrongful death lawsuit arising out of the faulty installation of a tire valve stem.
$6 Million Verdict against Ford Aerostar
In 2007, Ervin A. Gonzalez and Deborah J. Gander obtained a $6 million verdict against Ford in a personal injury case arising out of injuries received when the roof of a Ford Aerostar 15 passenger van failed in an accident.
Partners Mike Eidson and Julie Braman Kane resolved significant litigation arising from the catastrophic failure of aging tires. Aging impacts tires dramatically, without regard to miles driven, and the firm continues to address this important safety issue in products liability litigation.
The firm has handled more than 100 cases involving many other car models and consumer products, including defective door latches, restraint systems, fuel systems and lack of crashworthiness, among other defects.
The firm has been and remains involved in dozens of cases involving pharmaceutical products.
$38.3 Million Verdict against McKesson Medication, LLC and Local Neurosurgeon
Partners Julie Braman Kane and Joseph Kalbac secured a $38.3 million verdict on behalf of their client, a former Miami Beach emergency room nurse who suffered a debilitating condition after undergoing surgery for a repair of a spinal fluid leak. The neurosurgeon injected the plaintiff’s intrathecal space with Methylene Blue, a drug product the FDA warned was contraindicated for intraspinal injection. The warnings were eliminated from the operating room and thus unavailable to the surgeon. In 2009, a Miami-Dade jury found the defendants, McKesson Medication, LLC and the local neurosurgeon, negligent and at fault for damages.
A $65 Million Bus Shelter Electrocution Verdict
In 2005, a Miami jury awarded a $65.1 million verdict on behalf of the firm’s client against Eller Media Company for the electrocution death of a 12-year-old boy. Partners Roberto Martínez and Ervin A. Gonzalez represented the family and presented the case to the jury, which found that the boy’s death was caused by Eller Media employees’ shoddy electrical work performed at a Miami bus shelter. The jury awarded both compensatory and punitive damages against Eller Media.
$11 Million Policy Limits Settlement
Partner Ervin A. Gonzalez had an $11 million policy limits settlement in 2007 involving a gas tanker explosion case that killed a husband and wife leaving two adult college age children without parents. The gas tanker was traveling at a high rate of speed with 9000 gallons of fuel when it lost control on highway 595 in Broward County. It rolled on its side and blew up, incinerating everyone in the car next to it.
Partners Roberto Martínez and Curtis Miner have been retained by many Fortune 500 companies and their executives for representation in criminal trials and all phases of government investigations, as well as to conduct forensic investigations.
SEC Insider Trading
In December 2010, Partner Curtis Miner secured a favorable ruling for his client, a prominent Ft. Lauderdale cardiologist and public servant, in a long-running Securities and Exchange Commission insider trading case. The SEC brought a civil action against Miner’s client alleging he had engaged in insider trading to make nearly $1 million in illegal profits in two separate series of stock purchases related to two publicly held corporations and tipped off his brother and close friend to by the stock as well. The SEC mounted an aggressive attack during trial however, after a multi-year investigation and 12 days of a bench trial, the Federal Court issued a 60-page decision exonerating the cardiologist in every respect.
Mutual Benefits Corporations
In 2004, Partner Roberto Martínez was appointed the federal receiver of Mutual Benefits Corporation– formerly the nation’s largest viatical settlement company and one of the biggest “Ponzi” schemes in Florida history. The SEC shut down Mutual Benefits for selling unlicensed securities. Colson Hicks Eidson partners Curtis Miner and Julie Braman Kane assisted Martínez in successfully recovering in excess of $120 million for more than 30,000 defrauded investors worldwide.
Million Dollar Maritime Verdict
In November 2011, Partners Ervin A. Gonzalez and Deborah J. Gander secured a million dollar jury verdict against Celebrity Cruises for a crewmember that underwent unnecessary surgery to insert a pacemaker. Celebrity Cruises flew the 31-year old chef to Santo Domingo after experiencing headaches and pain to his face while working on a Celebrity cruise ship. Following the surgery, the crewmember suffered debilitating injuries and was forced to use a walker. Gonzalez argued Celebrity Cruises sent his client to Santo Domingo to save money on medical costs. A Miami jury found the cruise line negligent in its care and treatment of its employee and awarded the one million verdict.