In 1967, Aaron S. Podhurst left one of Miami’s top firms to partner with Robert Orseck in founding a new law practice based on the philosophy of providing the highest possible caliber representation in state and federal trial courts. From its humble beginnings, Podhurst Orseck has carefully nurtured a strong appellate practice and relationships with other law firms and attorneys throughout the State of Florida, country and internationally. The growing law firm reached a turning point in 1972 when Mr. Podhurst was appointed, out of hundreds of lawyers, as lead counsel for the plaintiffs’ group in the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401.
Since the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 crash, our South Florida civil litigation firm has represented victims in over 100 airline crashes around the world, including some of the most industry-shaping cases in the aviation world. Podhurst Orseck’s representation of plaintiffs in landmark aviation matters ranging from the ValuJet Flight 592 crash in the Florida Everglades to the Colgan Air Flight 3407 in Buffalo, New York, helped shape the safety culture of the commercial aviation industry, prompting federal government review of fire protection systems and crew rest and training requirements and other changes in the law and aviation safety standards.
The firm has participated in international affairs as well. In April of 2000, Aaron S. Podhurst served as a mediator between the federal government and Miami family of Cuban émigré Elian Gonzalez. The divisive case of the Cuban boy who came ashore in the United States after his mother and several other refugees died at sea as they left Cuba in small crafts received international attention. Mr. Podhurst, a longtime friend of then-Attorney General Janet Reno, attempted to negotiate a peaceful handover of the child, who was to be sent back to Cuba at his father’s request. Mr. Podhurst has maintained strong ties to the Cuban exile community through his non-profit work and involvement in the Brothers to the Rescue litigation against the Cuban government.
The firm’s experience extends to general commercial litigation, which makes up approximately half of its practice. In 2011, the firm was involved in a multi-district overdraft settlement litigation involving over 30 or the largest financial institutions in the United States. After a record-setting $410 million civil settlement against Bank of America, the firm continued to build on its success to secure an additional half a billion dollars against the remaining defendant financial institutions.
Podhurst Orseck continued to build on its legacy, representing families of passengers killed aboard Air France Flight 447; a class of families who lost homes to defective Chinese drywall; and numerous players of the National Football League pursuing damages for concussive injuries they sustained during play.