Akerman has developed into one of the most comprehensive legal shops on the East Coast, particularly in the Southeast region, where it is one of the area’s dominant players. Clients cheer the “strategy, timeliness and responsiveness” of the firm’s litigation team. One specifies, “They provide great strategy in an environmental toxic tort case and product liability matters. They provide excellent advice and [they] staff matters appropriately.”
While its reputation and client base has grown well beyond its original Florida stronghold, the Sunshine State is still where many of its key litigators reign supreme. Tallahassee’s Kathi Giddings, a renowned appellate practitioner (and consistent repeat appearance in Benchmark’s Top 250 Women in Litigation) was part of a team that triumphed on behalf of Florigrown, a local player in the budding medical cannabis industry, (and, one could argue, the local industry itself) when she successfully challenged the Florida Department of Health’s and the Legislature's efforts to subject all licensed medical marijuana businesses in the state to mandatory full vertical integration, meaning that each licensee is solely responsible for all aspects of the medical marijuana supply chain, from the time that it originates as a seed until the time it is sold or delivered to the patient, as well as the state’s imposition of a strict limit on the number of medical marijuana businesses operators in the state. This integration effectively shuts out new entrants. Florigrown retained Akerman in late 2017 to assist in its stalled application for a medical marijuana license and In July 2019, Florida’s First District Court of Appeal issued a decision upholding all key aspects of a temporary injunction. The Florida Supreme Court was due to conduct oral argument via remote videoconference in May 2020. Miami’s Michael Marsh, a celebrated commercial litigator, represented Meritor, a manufacturer of automobile components for military suppliers, trucks, and trailers, and several of its subsidiaries, in a product liability and wrongful death action filed by the estate of a man killed after a braking system of a semi-tractor trailer truck allegedly malfunctioned and broke apart, striking the man while driving on a highway. The estate alleged that Meritor manufactured the braking system, which was comprised of a purportedly defective brake shoe and brake drum. The estate demanded damages in excess of $19 million dollars. Without the actual truck driver having gone MIA, the plaintiff could not prove causation and thus agreed to dismiss the claims against Meritor with prejudice. Marsh also represents E-Alternative Solutions, a company that sells vaping devices and cartridges, in a dispute with a supplier in Delaware Chancery Court. The lawsuit includes claims for fraud, breach of contract, breach of the implied duty of good faith and fair dealing, and declaratory relief. The supplier alleges that the client intentionally sought to limit sales of the products that they supplied and preferred a separate line of products that the client also distributed. Stephen Hurlbut, domiciled in the Tyson’s Corner, Virginia office and is known as an authority in construction litigation, is counsel for CDJV in proceedings against the Navy pending before the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (ASBCA). The case involves claims against the Navy for damages and additional compensation of $13.5 million that the client claims are owed as a result of changes and differing site conditions associated with a contract for Airfield Vegetation Conversion and Clear Zone Restoration at Naval Air Station Boca Chica in Key West, Florida. The case is still in the discovery stage and is now scheduled to commence in January 2021.Brian Fraser, who recently joined the firm from Richards Kibbe & Orbe, provides an augmentation to the firm’s New York office. Fraser represents the designated certificate holder under a securitized trust of commercial mortgages in a case in which the plaintiff owner of a $60 million office tower in Memphis has sued the trustee, the servicer and special servicer to the trusts alleging that the defendants conspired to deprive it of the right to refinance and has obtained an injunction against a foreclosure sale in Tennessee.