Professional Liability

Within the legal industry, there is a unique distinction in being selected to provide legal representation for fellow attorneys. Frequently called upon to do just that, we handle professional liability defense matters and have been recognized as "the attorney's attorney."  Our team has a clear understanding of the depth and importance of all that is at stake when suit is brought against practicing professionals. 

We provide counsel to professionals in a wide variety of industries:

  • Lawyers and legal professionals
  • Accountants
  • Insurance agents and brokers
  • Real estate agents and brokers
  • Engineers
  • Dentists
  • Architects
  • Doctors and nurses
  • Boards of directors and corporate officers

Medical Malpractice 

The lawyers in RKC’s medical liability defense practice represent hospitals, long-term care facilities, medical professional associations, and individual healthcare providers including doctors, nurses, physical and mental health therapists, and other medical practitioners. We understand the unique operational issues facing health care providers, as well as the insurance, regulatory, and litigious climates in which medical professionals must provide patient care. More importantly, we have a thorough command of the complex legal framework impacting professionals in the various healthcare fields. Members of RKC’s medical liability defense practice combine courtroom skill and experience with a thorough understanding of the applied science of medical diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of illness or injury.  Over the years, we have developed specific strategies designed to expose meritless claims and maximize the chances of a successful malpractice defense including:

  • an aggressive approach in the mandatory malpractice presuit investigation process designed to demonstrate the weaknesses of the claimant’s theories and the risks he will face in proceeding to a lawsuit;
  • the use of specialized and highly accomplished medical experts who are talented not just in their respective fields, but also in the art of effectively testifying to the judge and jury;
  • the creative employment of other, sometimes arcane legal limitations on malpractice claims that can be found in “Good Samaritan” statutes, medical consent laws, birth-related neurological injury compensation acts, and special statutes of limitations or damage caps that may be found in certain, relatively uncommon legal provisions impacting the medical field.  

Representative Professional Liability Work

  • Obtained a defense verdict in a case involving an allegation of negligence by the surgeon and ICU nursing staff in the care of a trauma patient who was a paraplegic, as the result of the blood supply being cut off to her spine because of the need to repair a rip in her aorta.  
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a case representing a hospital and a surgical resident in the death of a 29-year old mother who had just given birth the week before she died.  She died of toxic shock-like symptoms probably related to a bacterial infection that arose from flora in her uterus, vagina or GI tract.        
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a case involving a still birth.  Allegations were brought against the nurses for not following the physician’s orders appropriately, and not questioning the physician’s orders that allegedly contributed to the still birth. 
  • Obtained two defense verdicts in legal malpractice cases.  One involving the sale of a business and another that involved the failure to timely file a claim against an estate.  
  • Represented a prominent criminal defense attorney accused of numerous ethical lapses, including charging excessive fees, missing deadlines, failure to communicate with client, and failure to supervise subordinate attorneys. Case was resolved by referral to The Florida Bar's diversion program. 
  • Represented an attorney accused of a conflict of interest for filing an action on behalf of former wife of attorney's former client against the former client. The former client claimed that our client had confidential information acquired during the representation which was being used against the former client. Case was resolved by the issuance of a letter of admonishment (not a form of discipline) against the attorney.     
  • Obtained summary judgment in a federal court action asserting violations of the federal and state Debt Collection Practices Act.  Case involved allegations against a law firm and its debt collection activities with respect to foreclosure actions.      
  • Won an appeal in federal district court involving sanctions entered by a federal bankruptcy court against a lawyer.  The bankruptcy court was sanctioning the attorney for activities taken with respect to his representation of a creditor in a bankruptcy proceeding.      
  • Represented a commercial broker who brokered the sale of travel agency and was subsequently sued claiming reliance on their statement.  Obtained summary judgment on the claims and went to trial on counter claims and won a jury verdict for $300,000.      
  • Obtained  a Defense Judgment in a case involving an allegation of negligence by an insurance broker for an alleged failure to notify his client that a million dollar life insurance policy had lapsed two months prior to the death of the insured.        
  • Obtained numerous favorable settlements defending accounting malpractice cases through the in pari delicto doctrine.   In these cases, the corporation sued the auditors for failure to detect  the fraud of its management.       
  • Served as Florida counsel representing a Big Four accounting firm in which investors brought suit alleging that they were advised improperly and now faced tax penalties as a result of the tax strategies they purchased.     
  • Represented  accountants in a variety of different cases including allegations of securities fraud, negligence, and embezzlement.  Several of the cases have involved class actions.         
  • Represented  brokers and agents in FINRA (previously NASD) arbitrations and lawsuits.  The cases have involved numerous products including, annuities, securities, and limited partnerships.  Likewise, the litigated issues have included blue sky laws, selling away, securities fraud, suitability, common law claims such as negligence/fraud and rule violations under the regulatory rules. 
  • Represented an engineering firm in conjunction with a case involving the construction of a hanger at Orlando International Airport.  The arbitration proceeding involved five parties including the owner of the project, the engineering firm, general contractor, subcontractor and the architect.  A confidential favorable settlement was reached.

Administrative Law

Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell attorneys appear on behalf of clients before the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings.   We represent private and public institutions and individuals facing administrative and regulatory proceedings before state agencies involving employment, environmental, construction, and rule challenge proceedings.  We assist professionals including lawyers, accountants, doctors, insurance agents and agencies, real estate brokers, contractors, nurses, government officials and others in administrative matters involving professional licensure and disciplinary hearings.

Our attorneys have also represented clients before several state agencies including The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, The Florida Board of Medicine, the Department of Financial Services, Florida Commission on Ethics, The Florida Bar, and the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.  We also represent clients in statutory and regulatory matters when they are facing a compliance audit and provide counsel on maintaining compliance with licensing boards and other agency regulations.  Our attorneys also handle administrative appeals including reconsiderations and obtaining administrative reversals. 

Florida Bar Admission Representation and Florida Bar Discipline Defense

Rumberger, Kirk & Caldwell attorneys have been representing applicants in bar admission matters for more than twenty years. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to guide clients through every stage of the bar admission process. At the initial stage of preparing the Florida Bar application, we assist clients in providing the detailed answers and explanations expected by the Florida Board of Bar Examiners. Having the assistance of an experienced attorney at this stage will often allow clients to avoid the mistakes and omissions which may lead to further proceedings before the board.

If a Notice to Appear for Investigative Hearing before the Florida Board of Bar Examiners is received, the need for experienced counsel is even greater. Our attorneys prepare clients for the often grueling and nerve-wracking experience of appearing before a panel of the board.   We will thoroughly review the bar application and other documents being considered by the Board to ensure the accuracy and completeness of representations made to the Board.  Our attorneys work closely with clients to prepare them for every possible question which may be directed at them during the hearing. One of the most important facets of this preparation is assisting clients in developing concise, accurate, and truthful answers to the Board’s concerns. 

Some applicants for admission to The Florida Bar are called to appear for a Formal Hearing before the Board of Bar Examiners. After conducting an investigative hearing, the Board may elect to file Specifications, which are formal charges alleging that the applicant may not be qualified for admission to The Florida Bar. The filing of Specifications and proceeding to Formal Hearing can add months to the admissions process.

If specifications have been filed, the need for experienced counsel is even greater. RKC attorneys clients navigate through these formal proceedings. A formal hearing (which is considered an adversarial proceeding) is held before a five-member panel of the Board, as opposed to three members in an investigative hearing. In addition, the Office of the General Counsel of the board is directly involved in a formal hearing. 

Product Liability
 
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