Some of the complex cases Podhurst Orseck has tried to verdict or negotiated to settlement have become landmark legal matters in domestic and international settings. As lead counsel for state court and federal multi-district litigation, many of these landmark matters are recognized both in legal circles and their respective industries.
This is most apparent in the aviation sector, where Podhurst Orseck’s landmark matters have helped establish case law and legal precedent. This began with the firm’s involvement in the groundbreaking decisions surrounding the 1972 crash of Eastern Air Lines Flight 401 in the Florida Everglades. Other significant aviation matters included the award of $43.6 million in damages to the families of three victims in the 1997 crash of a Silk Air jet in Indonesia, the $250 million in damages to families of passengers who died in the May 1996 ValuJet crash, and today involve matters related to the Boeing 373 Max 8 jetliner.
Recent significant and landmark victories not related to aviation have included a $410 million settlement with Bank of America over excessive fees; a $195 million against a banker who defrauded investors; a $187.5 million award for the personal representatives of three humanitarian mission members against the nation of Cuba; a $57 million settlement against Volkswagen over suspension defects; a $553 million settlement over faulty Takata airbags; a settlement with the N.F.L. over player concussion and brain damage issues; Podhurst Orseck has been the only firm to try a Commercial Part 121 case to verdict in more than two decades.
2019 – Following the tragedy in Parkland, Florida, Podhurst Orseck is representing victims’ families in two lawsuits: one seeking to hold gun manufacturers accountable in court and another seeking to classify the mass shooting as a series of “separate incidents,” rather than a “single incident.” The latter case would enable victims’ families to pursue individual awards in negligence lawsuits brought against the Broward County School Board
2019 – Peter Prieto and his team negotiated a $57 million preliminary settlement with Volkswagen Group of America Inc. and its German parent company, Volkswagen AG, in a move that could end a class-action lawsuit over allegedly defective suspension systems in models build from 2009 through 2017.
2017 – Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and BMW agreed to pay a combined $553 million to settle consumer claims over recalled Takata air bags in a multidistrict litigation consolidated in a Miami Federal court. The settlement amount is more than half of what the plaintiffs’ class believes it could have won at trial if damages were calculated based on how much the automakers paid for and marked up Takata air bags.
2017 – When a noted scientist and financial analyst was hit by a car during an August bicycle ride in Boca Raton, Podhurst Orseck attorneys promised his wife they would do their best to get the case behind them by the holidays. In the end, the attorneys were successful in obtaining a nearly $10.6 million pre-suit settlement from insurance companies for the driver and the victim’s family. The case was settled on Dec. 22, just before Christmas.
2015 – A federal district court judge approved a settlement brought by more than 5,000 former players who accused the N.F.L. of hiding from them the dangers of concussions, a major hurdle in ending one of the most contentious legal battles in league history. The settlement provided payments of up to $5 million to players who suffered one of a handful of severe neurological disorders, medical monitoring of all players to determine when or if they may qualify for a payment, and $10 million for education about concussions.
2014 – Peter Prieto, partner at Miami based litigation boutique Podhurst Orseck, served on the Plaintiff’s Executive Committee in a multi-district litigation against General Motors. The case alleged a defective ignition switch was installed in nearly 880,000 automobiles. Prieto was one of the 100 attorneys from across the nation who were chosen for the committee Prieto is the only attorney from Florida, which is one of GM’s most significant markets.
2014 – A Florida federal judge declared Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional in two suits brought by same sex couples who wanted Florida to recognize their out-of-state marriages and deem them married in in the state. Podhurst Orseck’s Stephen Rosenthal represented the plaintiffs, along with two ACLU attorneys.
2013 – A business owned by Miami nightclub owner Clive Seecomar was saddled with a judgment of $60 million for actions related to a cellular telephone recycling business. In the suit, the Brix Group, represented by Podhurst Orseck, alleged that Seecomar escaped with investment funds and operated a Ponzi scheme through his company which allegedly bought used cellular phones, refurbished them and sold them in the Latin American market.
2011 – Podhurst Orseck attorneys helped secure a $410 million settlement with Bank of America in a consolidated multi-district litigation stemming from unfair overdraft policies alleged to cost 13.2 million current and former customers roughly $4.5 billion over the course of a decade. The suit alleged that the defendant banks employed software programs designed to extract the greatest possible number of overdraft fees from its customers. Combined with other settlements in these cases, this litigation resulted in one of the largest settlements ever recorded in a consumer case.
2010 – Podhurst Orseck secured a jury award valued at $195 million in a case brought against a Miami-based Latin American banker who defrauded investors in a mutual fund he managed. The mutual fund’s investors included a nunnery that cared for orphaned children and an investor who took his own life because of the losses from the scheme and their impact on his family.
2006 – Podhurst Orseck attorneys secured a $25 million judgment in a case where a Boca Raton chaplain flying a Cessna 182 from the Bahamas to Florida collided with a Cessna 172 over Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier in Florida, killing five people in the two aircraft. The court found that the FAA air traffic controllers in the towers directing the chaplain’s plane had been understaffed and distracted.
2004 – Podhurst Orseck secured an award valued at $43.6 million in damages to the families of three victims in the crash of a Silk Air jet in Indonesia which abruptly rolled and plummeted 35,000 feet under suspicious conditions. The crash was ultimately linked to a defective rudder control valve. Another 29 cases received the benefit of the liability finding from Podhurst Orseck’s trial work.
2003 – Podhurst Orseck attorney Steven C. Marks secured a $30 million settlement in a group of cases in which the insurer of a Learjet 60 which overran a runway refused to pay damages under the owner’s policy because the pilots flying lacked sufficient experience and the aircraft was not located in the U.S. at the time of the accident. The litigation involved complex international civil litigation issues in a multi-suit legal dispute.
1999 – Podhurst Orseck led a successful appeal contesting the validity of a $37 million case against the Juno Beach, Florida-based, FPL Group. The firm represented the family of a 12-year-old Florida girl who died in a car crash because FPL workers disconnected a traffic control light.
1998 – The firm secured an award of $187.5 million for the personal representatives of three humanitarian mission members against the nation of Cuba. The crews of “Brothers to the Rescue” flew aircraft missions in the international airspace over the Florida Straits searching for rafters attempting to leave Cuba. The Cuban Air Force shot down two of the civilian organization’s planes, killing four.
1997 – The families of passengers who died in the ValuJet crash in the Florida Everglades received a $250 million award. Podhurst Orseck attorney Steven C. Marks served as lead counsel in state court and on the plaintiffs’ steering committee in a multi-district litigation stemming from the crash.