Robert L. Blank
Rob Blank is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer concentrating his practice in the defense of product liability and casualty cases. Rob defends automobile manufacturers, industrial equipment manufacturers, power tool manufacturers, commercial food equipment manufacturers and beverage companies against claims of alleged product defect resulting in catastrophic injury and/or wrongful death. He also defends theme parks, water parks, trucking companies, beverage companies, retailers and other businesses against various tort claims.
Rob is the Administrative Partner of the Tampa office. He was selected as an “Attorney to Watch” in 2012 by Attorney at Law Magazine, and is recognized consistently in Florida Super Lawyers, Florida Legal Elite and Best Lawyers in America in the area of personal injury defense. Rob is also member of the invitation only Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC).
RumbergerKirk attorneys obtained a defense verdict in a theme park accident case in Hillsborough County, Florida in October 2023. In the case styled Belle v. Sea World Parks & Entertainment LLC d/b/a Busch Gardens, Plaintiff claimed foot injuries resulting in two surgeries due to a door on the Skyride shutting twice on her leg on July 14, 2018.
Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award just under $1.5 million in damages. The trial team of partners Rob Blank and Carie Hall, along with associate Passion Wells and paralegal Susan McClugage, convinced the jury there was no negligence on the part of Busch Gardens or its employee. Busch Gardens has moved for its attorneys’ fees and costs based on Plaintiff’s rejection of its proposal for settlement.
Plaintiff claims she was injured during a rescue training class on the Congo River Rapids. The Court entered Final Summary Judgment on June 29, 2022, finding Busch Gardens is entitled to enforce the rescue company’s liability waiver as both an agent and volunteer of the rescue company conducting the class, and also finding Busch Gardens did not breach any duty owed to Plaintiff.
On July 14, 2023, the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s granting of Busch Gardens’ Motion for Final Summary Judgment. Plaintiff argued several different grounds to attempt to convince the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s decision, but the Second District rejected all of them, issuing a per curiam affirmance without an opinion. Heather B
After only 23 minutes of deliberations, an Indian River County jury entered a defense verdict for Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (“Coke Florida”) and its driver. Plaintiff claimed a rear-end collision caused her to have a broken bone in her neck and two neck surgeries, asking the jury to award over a million dollars in damages. The trial team convinced the jury the accident was not the legal cause of Plaintiff’s injuries. Defendants will be moving for their attorneys’ fees based on Plaintiff’s rejection of their Proposal for Settlement. Judge Janet Croom presided.
After 10 minutes of deliberations, a Polk County jury entered a defense verdict for Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (“Coke Florida”) and its driver. Plaintiff claimed an accident caused him injuries, asking the jury to award over $2.2 million in damages.
The trial team of RumbergerKirk partners Rob Blank and Damien Orato, along with associate Aly Buhler and paralegal Susan McClugage, convinced the jury the accident was not the legal cause of Plaintiff’s injuries. Defendants have moved for their attorneys’ fees based on Plaintiff’s rejection of their proposal for settlement.
Plaintiff Shelly Roos alleged back, neck and shoulder injuries after a 50-pound, six-foot sunglass display fell on her while inside a gift shop during a storm. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $492,334.02 in closing argument. After 50 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict in the Hillsborough County Circuit Court case.
Plaintiff Julie Harlan alleged she broke her hand on a netted bridge in the Sesame Street Safari of Fun area at Busch Gardens. She contended that she caught her right hand on the netting when other guests began running across and/or were roughhousing on a netted ramp. She had an open reduction internal fixation of her right fourth metacarpal, allegedly impacting her ability to teach and perform ballet. Plaintiff asked the jury to award a total of $506,480.38 in damages. Busch Gardens proved there was nothing wrong with the attraction or the operation of the attraction, and Plaintiff failed to prove any negligence. After 37 minutes of deliberations, the jury returned a defense verdict.
The Sixth District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s denial of Plaintiff’s Motion for New Trial on July 3, 2023. Plaintiff’s counsel argued several different grounds to attempt to convince the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s decision, but the Sixth District rejected all of them, issuing a per curiam affirmance without an opinion.
During the ten-day trial in the fall of 2021, Plaintiff claimed she suffered a traumatic brain injury, C1 fracture, C2 fracture, C5-6 fusion, lower back injury and shoulder injury from a fall, with $420,758.40 in past medical expenses and a life care plan totaling $1,037,137.78 for future medical care. In closing argument, Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award $10,449,890.93. The defense proved there was no defect in the flooring surface, and after three and a half hours of deliberations, the jury found no negligence, returning a verdict in Sea World’s favor on November 5, 2021.
Having already received an order entitling it to attorneys’ fees and costs, Sea World will be seeking an award of its fees and costs for both the trial and the appeal.
Attorney Rob Blank of the firm’s Tampa office along with attorney Damien Orato and paralegal Cindy Bowers of the firm’s Orlando office recently tried a case representing the Defendants in an industrial equipment accident resulting in a fractured talus bone in Plaintiff’s left foot, in which Defendants admitted liability and admitted causation. During closing arguments Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award a total of $2,118,760.55. On October 6, 2021 the jury returned a verdict awarding Plaintiff $45,000, the exact amount of Defendants’ offer before trial.
Attorney Rob Blank and his team of the firm’s Tampa office obtained a defense verdict in Marion County Circuit Court in Karen Archer v. Danny Evans and Three Rivers Xpress, Inc. In a rear-end collision truck accident, where negligence and entitlement to punitive damages was not disputed, Plaintiff asked the jury to award $3.2 million in damages. Plaintiff underwent two shoulder surgeries, neck injections and a recommendation for a future shoulder replacement surgery. The jury returned a verdict in Defendant’s favor on March 26, 2019.
2D17-1710 (Fla. 2d DCA Sep. 21, 2018)
RumbergerKirk attorneys Rob Blank and Mike Forte won the appeal of this case in which the Second District Court of Appeal of Florida affirmed the trial court’s denial of Plaintiff’s Motion for New Trial. Plaintiff argued 10 separate bases to attempt to convince the appellate court to reverse the trial court’s decision, but the Second District rejected all of them, quickly issuing a per curiam affirmance without an opinion.
At the trial Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Plaintiff total damages in the amount of $2.275 million. Although the jury awarded Plaintiff $250,000 for past medical expenses and $400,000 for future medical expenses, the jury assigned 75% of fault to Plaintiff and only 25% fault to Defendant Taylor. The jury also determined Plaintiff did not meet the no fault threshold, and therefore did not award any damages for pain and suffering. Due to Plaintiff’s comparative fault, her net verdict amounted to only $162,500 before setoffs for PIP payments and medical bill write-offs. Defendants had served a $350,000 proposal for settlement before trial, entitling them to attorneys’ fees and costs. As a result, Plaintiff’s net verdict was reduced to $0, and judgment in favor of Defendant was entered for $138,758 . In addition to that amount, the appellate court has ordered Plaintiff to pay Defendants’ appellate attorneys’ fees.
Attorneys Rob Blank and Mike Forte and paralegal Susan McClugage of the firm’s Tampa office obtained a defense verdict for their clients in St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Florida. In a rear-end collision accident where negligence was not disputed, Plaintiff asked the jury to award between $1.6 million and 1.8 million in damages. Plaintiff underwent a two level lumbar discectomy surgery and a lumbar fusion which, along with Plaintiff’s other medical treatment, resulted in over a half million dollars in medical bills. Despite Plaintiff not having any preexisting lower back issues, the jury agreed with Blank and Forte that the low impact collision did not cause Plaintiff’s damages. The jury returned a verdict in Defendants’ favor on October 11, 2018. Blank and Forte will be pursuing their fees and costs from Plaintiff.
Attorneys Rob Blank and Carie Hall of the firm’s Tampa office obtained a defense verdict for Busch Gardens in Hillsborough County, Florida in the case styled Alisa R. Kenney v. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment LLC d/b/a Busch Gardens Tampa. Plaintiff claimed she received a laceration to her foot resulting in a nerve injury and an aggravation of a pre-existing back injury when she fell exiting the SheiKra roller coaster. Blank and Hall proved there was no defect in the design of the exit area at SheiKra. The jury found no negligence, returning a verdict in Busch Gardens’ favor on December 1, 2017. Busch Gardens will be pursuing its fees and costs from Plaintiff.
Attorneys Rob Blank and Carie Hall of the firm’s Tampa office obtained a defense verdict in a negligence case in Orange County, Florida in October of 2017. Blank and Hall represented the SeaWorld park located in Orlando, Florida in the case styled Glenda Torres Perez v. SeaWorld of Florida LLC. The plaintiff claimed she fractured her ankle and injured her back going down the stairs in the Manta roller coaster queue line. Blank and Hall proved there was no defect in the stairs, no problem with the lighting in the staircase and nothing wrong with the procedures for operating the queue at Manta. The jury found no negligence, returning a verdict in SeaWorld’s favor on October 27, 2017. SeaWorld will be pursuing its fees and costs from Plaintiff.
Dorman v. Mid-State Plumbing, Inc., No. 2015-CA-000461 (Fla. 10th Cir. Dec. 12, 2016).
RumbergerKirk attorneys Rob Blank and Mike Forte defended Mid-State Plumbing, Inc. and its employee Gregory Taylor in a motor vehicle personal injury trial in the Tenth Judicial Circuit in Bartow, Polk County, Florida. Plaintiff alleged the right side of her Blazer was struck by the Mid-State van Taylor was driving, causing her Blazer to rollover. Plaintiff was ejected from her Blazer and landed in the roadway. Plaintiff underwent a fusion at her sacroiliac joint; her past medical specials amounted to approximately $250,000. Her surgeon recommended a future lumbar fusion and future cervical fusion at a cost of approximately $200,000 each.
Plaintiff claimed she was wearing her seatbelt, that her injuries occurred in the vehicle and that she came from out of the seatbelt during the rollover. However Blank and Forte proved to the jury that Plaintiff was not wearing her seatbelt, that the seatbelt was fully functional, and that Plaintiff’s injuries were the direct result of blunt force trauma from her ejection into the road due to being unbelted.
During his closing argument, Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award Plaintiff total damages in the amount of $2.275 million. Although the jury awarded Plaintiff $250,000 for past medical expenses and $400,000 for future medical expenses, the jury assigned 75% of fault to Plaintiff and only 25% fault to Taylor. The jury also determined Plaintiff did not meet the no fault threshold, and therefore did not award any damages for pain and suffering. Due to Plaintiff’s comparative fault, her net verdict amounted to only $162,500 before setoffs for PIP payments and medical bill write-offs. Defendants served a $350,000 proposal for settlement, entitling them to attorneys’ fees which should result in a judgment in Defendants’ favor.
RumbergerKirk attorneys Rob Blank and Jessica Tetrick represented Defendant Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. in a premises lawsuit in the Tampa Division of the United States District Court, Middle District of Florida. Plaintiff alleged that on March 31, 2011, he was injured while working as a temporary employee of an independent subcontractor, Intelligrated Systems, LLC, at Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc.’s Auburndale bottling facility. Plaintiff alleges Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. was negligent in failing to keep its premises in a reasonably safe condition and failing to warn of perils unknown to Plaintiff that could have been discovered by Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. through the exercise of reasonable care.
Blank and Tetrick filed a Motion for Final Summary Judgment arguing Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. was entitled to judgment as a matter of law based, in part, on workers’ compensation immunity. Specifically, Blank and Tetrick argued that Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. was Plaintiff’s “statutory employer” pursuant to the workers’ compensation scheme, Plaintiff previously received workers’ compensation benefits through his employer for the subject accident, and therefore, Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. was immune from suit. Middle District of Florida District Court Judge Covington agreed, granting the Motion for Final Summary Judgment on November 20, 2015 and entering Final Judgment in favor of Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc. on November 23, 2015. Coca-Cola Refreshments USA, Inc.’s Motion for Attorneys’ Fees and Costs pursuant to a previously served proposal for settlement and Motion to Tax Costs are pending.
Attorneys Rob Blank and Jessica Tetrick of the firm’s Tampa office obtained a defense verdict in a product liability case concerning a 2004 Toyota Camry in Volusia County, Florida on November 17, 2015 on behalf of Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., the manufacturer and distributor of the Camry. Plaintiff alleged the 2004 Camry was an unreasonably dangerous, defective product because it was not equipped with curtain shield airbags as a standard feature and because Defendants failed to provide any warnings regarding the risks of that design. Plaintiff alleged that due to the lack of curtain shield airbags, her daughter suffered permanent injuries and her granddaughter suffered loss of parental consortium, seeking over $63,000,000 in damages. Defendants denied the 2004 Toyota Camry was defective or unreasonably dangerous, asserted it was a reasonably safe vehicle without curtain shield airbags, exceeded all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, conformed to the state of the art in the automotive industry at all relevant times and proved that curtain shield airbags would not have prevented or reduced Plaintiff’s injuries in this severe crash. The jury returned a defense verdict after four weeks of trial.
Attorneys Rob Blank and Carie Hall of the firm’s Tampa office obtained a defense verdict in a negligence case in Orange County, Florida in January of 2015. Blank and Hall represented the SeaWorld park located in Orlando, Florida in the case styled Hope Estrada v. SeaWorld of Florida LLC d/b/a SeaWorld. The plaintiff claimed she was injured when she slipped on green slime in the Manta Aquarium while on a field trip with her son’s school. SeaWorld proved there was no green slime on the floor and that the floor of the aquarium exceeded slip resistance standards. The jury found no negligence, returning a verdict in SeaWorld’s favor.
Attorneys Rob Blank and Carie Hall of the firm’s Tampa office obtained a favorable verdict in a negligence case in Hillsborough County, Florida in April of 2014. Blank and Hall represented Busch Gardens, a theme park located in Tampa, in the case styled Rafael Ramos-Lopez v. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment LLC d/b/a Busch Gardens. The plaintiff claimed he was injured when an actor struck him in the leg with a steel barrel while performing a scare at Howl-O-Scream, a Halloween-themed event. Busch Gardens denied the actor was negligent and denied the back and neck injuries claimed by the plaintiff were caused by the accident. The jury originally returned a verdict for plaintiff for only $274, which represented approximately 25% of the bill for his emergency room visit the night of the accident, despite a two-level back surgery and $130,274.46 in claimed medical expenses. When instructed by the judge that they needed to also award some amount of non-economic damages, the jury determined plaintiff was only entitled to $1 for past pain and suffering and $1 for future pain and suffering, making the total verdict $276. Busch Gardens has moved for its attorneys’ fees pursuant to plaintiff’s rejection of Busch Gardens’ $10,000 proposal for settlement.
Attorneys Rob Blank and Carie Hall, of the firm’s Tampa office, obtained a mid-trial dismissal with prejudice in a negligence case in Hillsborough County, Florida in August of 2013. Blank and Hall represented Busch Gardens, a theme park located in Tampa, in a case in which the plaintiff alleged her minor son was injured on the Tanganyika Tidal Wave ride when he leaned outside the boat and cut his left cheek. Busch Gardens denied the Tidal Wave ride is unsafe and demonstrated that it provided adequate and appropriate written and verbal warnings to guests to remain sitting upright with their bodies inside the boat. The minor plaintiff failed to obey these warnings when he leaned his head over the side of the boat, and plaintiff was negligent for her failure to properly supervise her minor son while she was sitting next to him on the ride when he was injured. Plaintiffs dismissed the case with prejudice in the middle of trial.
RumbergerKirk attorney Rob Blank represented Defendants Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC and Central Florida Toyota in a products liability lawsuit in Osceola County, Florida. On January 13, 2011, Plaintiff Gilsiri Rivera-Lopez was involved in an off-set head on collision in her 2010 Toyota Venza. A 2004 Nissan Altima began to drift into her lane. In an attempt to avoid a collision, Plaintiff veered to the right while pressing hard on her brakes; she was either at a complete stop or almost at a complete stop when the Altima lightly impacted the right side panel and bumper on the driver’s side of the 2010 Toyota Venza.
Plaintiff claimed the driver’s front airbag was defective because it failed to deploy during this low-speed side-impact collision causing her to suffer injuries to her neck and back.
Blank argued Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law because there was no evidence Plaintiff suffered an enhanced injury resulting from the non-deployment of the frontal airbag. Osceola County Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey Fleming agreed, granting the Motion for Final Summary Judgment and entering a Final Judgment in favor of Defendants. Defendants’ Motion for Fees and Costs is pending.
Rob Blank, of the firm’s Tampa office, obtained a defense verdict in a negligence case styled Gomez v. RCMA in Collier County, Florida in March 2012. Blank represented Redlands Christian Migrant Association, a non-profit organization that helps migrant workers, for a collision between a maintenance bus driven by an RCMA employee and a bicycle driven by the plaintiff. The plaintiff was not wearing a helmet and landed head first on the pavement, resulting in several brain surgeries. Plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to award over $1.2 million in damages. Blank proved the plaintiff had a blood alcohol level of between .25 and .29 at the time of the accident, and that the accident was solely the plaintiff’s fault for darting in front of the bus. Defendant’s motion for attorneys’ fees is pending.
RumbergerKirk attorney Rob Blank represented Defendant SeaWorld of Florida LLC (“ SeaWorld”) in a personal injury lawsuit. While visiting SeaWorld, Plaintiff Emma McKnight rented an Electric Convenience Vehicle (“ECV”) to tour the park. Before she received the key to the ECV, Plaintiff signed a Release, Waiver and Indemnity Agreement in connection with the ECV. After touring the park for several hours, Ms. McKnight was injured while using the ECV.
Blank argued the exculpatory clause in the release contained clear and unambiguous language waiving Plaintiff’s right to bring this this case. Because a clear and unequivocal pre-injury release is valid and enforceable under Florida law, Blank contended the Court should enter a final summary judgment in favor of SeaWorld. Orange County Circuit Court Judge Lisa Munyon agreed, finding the release signed by Plaintiff barred her lawsuit against SeaWorld. Judge Munyon therefore granted SeaWorld’s Motion for Final Summary Judgment and entered a Final Judgment in favor of SeaWorld.
The Plaintiff claimed serious injuries from two rear-end car accidents, one in 2004 and one in 2006. Both accidents were joined in the same lawsuit. According to the Plaintiff, these accidents caused her to undergo surgery to her neck, two left shoulder surgeries and one surgery for her right knee. In addition, her doctor recommended a future jaw surgery. Attorneys Rob Blank and Mike Forte from the Tampa office of RumbergerKirk represented the 2004 driver and vehicle owners. In closing arguments, Plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award $2.2 million against both drivers. The RumbergerKirk trial team convinced the jury there was no permanent injury from the 2004 accident, persuading them to award only prior medical expenses of $33,217.48 for the 2004 accident, no future medical expenses, no lost wages, no past pain and suffering and no future pain and suffering. Reduction of set offs left the total judgment against RumbergerKirk’s clients at $18,217.48. (The jury awarded $1.2 million in damages against the 2006 driver and vehicle owners.)
Without a written opinion, the three appellate judges who heard oral arguments and unanimously affirmed the trial court’s granting of BEC’s motion for summary judgment. Still pending in the appellate court is BEC’s motion for appellate attorney’s fees.
The Plaintiff fell on a walkway at Busch Gardens, allegedly twisting his knee. He sued Busch Entertainment Corporation (“BEC”) for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. At his deposition, Plaintiff admitted he fell while running in the rain. On September 29, 2009, Hillsborough County Circuit Court Judge Martha Cook granted BEC’s Motion for Final Summary Judgment and entered Final Judgment in favor of BEC. BEC’s Motion for Fees and Costs are pending.
Mr. Coral died when the crane he was repairing tipped over when he extended the boom after performing a repair to the crane’s hydraulic system. Plaintiff alleged Garrard Carpentry, Inc. (“GCI”), the lessee of the crane, failed to prevent people who were not authorized crane operators from operating the crane. Plaintiff’s demand was $1,000,000. GCI served a Proposal for Settlement for $1,000. Final summary judgment was entered for the defendants.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, Florida – RumbergerKirk attorneys Rob Blank and Jared Smith of the Tampa office obtained a defense verdict on February 12, 2010 in the case of Robert Myers and Joyce Myers v. Cook / Tampa Bay Moving Systems, Inc., Case No.: 06-08377. RumbergerKirk attorney Anna Upton of the Tampa office also assisted at trial.
Plaintiff, a roofer, was hired to fix a leak on the Cook Moving warehouse roof. He fell through a skylight on the warehouse roof while he was working; Plaintiff alleged he did not see the skylight due to coating placed on it three years earlier that he claimed blended with the rest of the roof. The defense successfully argued that Plaintiff was on notice of the skylights since he had been inside the warehouse before going on the roof, knew he was there to repair skylights and because the skylights were in fact distinguishable from the rest of the roof, while Cook Moving did not have notice of how the roof looked at the time of the accident. Plaintiff underwent an open reduction internal fixation surgery of his pelvis and an open reduction internal fixation surgery of his right wrist.
The jury found that Cook Moving did not have actual or constructive knowledge of a latent danger on the roof and entered a verdict in favor of the defense. Following the defense verdict, the Honorable James M. Barton, II entered final judgment in favor of the Defendants. Plaintiff’s last demand to Cook Moving was $1,000,000. Cook Moving served a $1,000 proposal for settlement on December 22, 2006, and will be moving for its attorneys fees.
Rob Blank and Anna Upton of the Tampa office obtained a defense verdict on August 14, 2009 in federal court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, for Delta International Machinery Corporation and Home Depot in the case of Joseph Larue Richter, M.D. v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. and Delta International Machinery Corporation, Case No.: 8:05-cv-2153-T-17.
The lawsuit was a product liability case alleging the defective design and manufacture of a 10 inch portable bench saw. Plaintiff, a medical doctor practicing internal medicine, alleged that while using the saw his work piece kicked back, striking and severing his left middle finger. Plaintiff asked the jury to award $27 million. The defense established that the Plaintiff was not using the guard, and the accident occurred due to Plaintiff’s own negligence when Plaintiff’s finger came in contact with the unguarded saw blade. The jury found that the saw was not defective, returning a verdict in favor of the defendants in under an hour.
Moncrieff v. Toyota Motor Corporation, 2008 WL 6137936 (Fla. 6th Cir., Sep. 5, 2008)
On September 5, 2008, after a five week trial, a Pinellas County, Florida jury found that the 2000 Toyota 4Runner driver’s seat belt system was not defective in the matter of Moncrieff v. Toyota Motor Corporation, et. al. In so doing, the jury rejected claims that the seat belt suffered from a design defect which caused it to unbuckle during a severe rollover accident. The jury also denied the Plaintiff’s request for more than $11 million in damages. RumbergerKirk Tampa partner, Brian Baggot defended the case at trial with Susan McClugage serving as the trial paralegal. Partner Rob Blank also briefly appeared at trial to perform witness examinations during an emergency absence by Baggot. Anna Upton from RumbergerKirk’s Tallahassee office was the associate attorney at trial. RumbergerKirk tried the case with David W. Graves Jr. and Ted Dorenkamp from Bowman & Brooke, LLP in Minneapolis, MN.
The lawsuit arose after the Plaintiff was partially ejected from the Toyota 4Runner and suffered paraplegia during a single vehicle rollover accident on I-75 near Ft. Myers, Florida, in which she was the driver. The Plaintiff alleged that the driver’s seat belt was defectively designed which caused it to inertially or inadvertently release during the rollover. Toyota denied this claim and alleged, among other things, that Plaintiff was not wearing her seat belt at the time of the crash. Toyota also put on evidence that the occupant restraint system complied with all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and that the design of the system was consistent with industry practice, providing exemplary occupant protection in a wide variety of accident scenarios. Additionally, a Toyota engineer, Motoki Shibata, testified about the extensive testing the company performed on the 4Runner during its development and how that testing proved the 4Runner provided superior occupant protection in all types of crashes.
Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, Florida
Plaintiff claimed she was injured at Busch Gardens while attending the Howl-O-Scream event when she tripped and fell over a crate, striking her forehead on the corner of another crate. The crates were being used as scenic props. Although Plaintiff claimed she was scared by a chainsaw clown, the evidence showed that Plaintiff fell 21 feet from where the scare occurred. The jury found no negligence on the part of Busch Gardens or its employees and entered a defense verdict.
Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida (December, 2006)
Plaintiff claimed she was injured while boarding a parking lot tram at Busch Gardens. She ultimately underwent back surgery and claimed the incident prevented her from working. The jury found no negligence on the part of Busch Gardens or its employees, and entered a defense verdict. The district court denied Plaintiffs’ motion for new trial. Busch Entertainment Corporation’s motion for attorneys fees and motion for costs were granted, after which the court granted a judgment in favor of Busch Entertainment Corporation and against Plaintiffs for the principal sum of $141,518.32.
Circuit Court, Thirteenth Judicial Circuit in and for Hillsborough County.
Plaintiff claimed a defect in the right rear brakes of his 1995 Chevrolet Corvette caused him to lose control of his car. Plaintiff’s chiropractor testified Plaintiff suffered from a disc herniation at L5-S1, ligament damage to both wrists, and ulnar nerve entrapment in left elbow.
RumbergerKirk demonstrated that neither the brake components nor on the road showed evidence of the brakes locking up. Eyewitnesses testified the plaintiff was driving at an excessive rate of speed and made a sudden lane change in between two cars, hitting the front of one and the back of the other. Plaintiff then lost control of the Corvette.
The jury did not find any defect in the Corvette that caused Plaintiffs’ injury and damages, and entered a defense verdict for General Motors after deliberating for 24 minutes.
787 So. 2d 22 (Fla. 2d DCA 2001)
The appellate court reversed the trial court’s granting of a motion for new trial after a defense verdict on all grounds.
Circuit Court for Lee County, Florida
932 So. 2d 1111; 2006 Fla. App. LEXIS 10291 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006)
Plaintiff, Anthony Alaimo, claimed a carpet cutting machine bumped him in the back. He ultimately underwent a lumbar fusion surgery and claimed the incident rendered him 100% disabled. The jury, however, found no negligence on the part of Home Depot or its employees that legally caused Plaintiffs’ injury and damages, and entered a defense verdict.
Plaintiffs appealed the trial court’s denial of their motion for new trial to the Second District Court of Appeal. RumbergerKirk partner Rob Blank persuaded the appellate panel to affirm the case. Alaimo v Home Depot, U.S.A., Inc., 932 So. 2d 1111; 2006 Fla. App. LEXIS 10291 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006).
Circuit Court, Eleventh Judicial Circuit, in and for Miami-Dade County, Florida
This was a products liability action in which Plaintiff injured his ankle playing tennis while wearing a pair of Reebok tennis shoes. After deliberating for fourteen minutes, the jury found no defect in the tennis shoes.
The court granted Defendants’ motion for attorneys fees and costs, after which Plaintiff paid $48,700 in fees and costs to Defendants.
725 So. 2d 1190 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998)
The appellate court reversed the trial court’s granting of a motion for new trial, which was entered due to the fact the original trial court judge died before the motions for new trial could be heard.
- Retail and Hospitality
- Motor Vehicles
- American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
- Litigation Counsel of America (LCA), Fellow
- Barrister, Order of Veritas
- Member, Trial Law Institute
- Member, Diversity Law Institute
- Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (FDCC)
- Defense Research Institute (DRI)
- Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA)
- Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA)
- International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA)
- The Florida Bar, Trial Lawyers Section
- Hillsborough County Bar Association, Trial Lawyers Section
Stetson University College of Law — J.D., magna cum laude, 1992
- Member, ABA Trial Team (winner, National Invitational Trial Competition “Tournament of Champions,” Southeast Regional Champion for the ABA National Trial Competition)
- Notes Editor, Stetson Law Review
University of South Florida — B.A., Business Management, 1988
- Florida — 1992
- U.S. District Courts of Florida (Northern, Middle, Southern)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
- Board Certified Specialist in Civil Trial Law by The Florida Bar
- Board Certified in Civil Trial Law by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
- AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants, Product Liability-Defendants, and Litigation - Insurance, 2018-2024
- Listed in Florida Super Lawyers, Personal Injury Defense: General, 2007-2023
- Florida Trend Magazine Florida Legal Elite 2010-2016
- Attorneys to Watch 2012, Attorney at Law Magazine
- Invited into the American Board of Trial Attorneys
- Invited into the Litigation Counsel of America
- Moderator, "What Civil Court Judges Want You to Know," National Business Institute, November 22, 2019
- "Theme Park Defense: 10 Things to Know," May 2017
- "The Expanding Safety Responsibilities of Crane Operators," Greater Florida Constructor Magazine
- "Providing Attorney's Fees in a Pest Control Contract; Who Benefits?," Pest Control — March 2001
- "Pulling the Nails out of the Avallone Coffin: Should Excess Liability Coverage on a Self Insurance Fund Constitute a Waiver of Sovereign Immunity?" Stetson Law Review 971