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FRVF_Newsletter_Spring_2011

VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 13

  • pg 1
									EXPERTISE • ADVOCACY • REACH • SUCCESS

Miami Jury Finds Rolls-Royce Committed Fraud Against                              Flint Wins for Ensco Offshore
Carnival Cruise Lines in Pod Litigation                                           Company
Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli obtained a $24 million verdict for Carnival
Cruise Lines against Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce was found guilty of fraud by
a unanimous jury. Rolls-Royce marketed its Mermaid pod propulsion sys-
tem to Carnival for operation on their largest and most prestigious ship,
the Queen Mary II. The jury found that at the time Rolls-Royce presented
its pod to Carnival, Rolls-Royce knew the pod was defective and not fully
developed.
George J. Fowler, III argued Rolls-Royce rushed into the market to defeat
their competitors and sold an untested product that failed throughout
the cruise industry. Furthermore, Fowler argued Rolls-Royce made money
not only on the sales of the pods, but each time the bearings on the pods
had to be replaced. He argued Rolls-Royce refused to pay for any of the
replacement costs and made money off the repairs, which forced Carnival
to file suit.
                                                                                    Linda Becnel, Delos “Dee” Flint, Julie
In his opening statement, Fowler expressed surprise as to why Rolls-Royce          Slocum (Ensco), Jacob Gardner and Pat
would allow this matter to go to trial. When the case was over, the judge                         Bridges
and jury echoed Fowler’s initial concerns. U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz
said the jurors asked her why the case ever went to trial. “The first ques-       It was ten days before Christmas and trial at-
tion they had was why didn’t these people settle when they have to work           torney Delos “Dee” Flint and associate Jacob
together,”. Judge Seitz also stated that she saw the trial possibly as a “bell-   Gardner sat in Federal Court waiting for a
weather for lawsuits” filed by other cruise lines that also found fault with      verdict. At 6:00 p.m., a jury of three wise men
Rolls-Royce’s pod system.                                                         and four equally wise women re-entered the
                                                                                  courtroom and returned a defense verdict
                                                                                  in favor of Ensco Offshore Company, send-
                                                                                  ing a plaintiff seeking $3 Million home to
                                                                                  Pensacola, Florida empty-handed.
                                                                                  John Chapman, an electrician with 17 years
                                                                                  experience both onshore and offshore , filed
                                                                                  a suit against Ensco Offshore Company alleg-
                                                                                  ing Jones Act negligence, unseaworthiness
                                                                                  and that he was owed additional mainte-
                                                                                  nance. Chapman was injured as he discon-
                                                                                  nected a manifold gauge from a semi-sub-
                                                                                  mersible’s air-conditioning system and sus-
                                                                                  tained severe Freon burns to the backside of
                                                                                  both hands. Mr. Chapman rehabbed for close
                                                                                  to a year and made over 150 visits to the physi-
                                                                                  cal therapists at the Andrews Institute (oper-
                                                                                  ated by noted orthopedic surgeon, Dr. James
                                                                                  Andrews) in Gulf Breeze and Pensacola,
 Arnie Perez (General Counsel of Carnival), Mary I. Hoelle, Martha De Zayas
                                                                                  Florida. A Functional Capacity Evaluation
                                                                                  was conducted at the end of his rehabilitation,
   (Assistant General Counsel of Carnival), George J. Fowler, III, and Frank
        Quesada outside the courtroom after the favorable jury verdict.
                            (continued on page 2)                                              (continued on page 2)
Cover Stories Continued:
Carnival Ltd. Case (continued)                                                       Flint Wins for Ensco Offshore
                                                                                     Company (continued)
At trial, Rolls-Royce argued that problems with Carnival’s propulsion system         and he was released to return to medi-
were isolated incidents and that the Mermaid pods were not faulty. However,          um to heavy level work. Mr. Chapman
Carnival demonstrated that four sets of bearings were replaced on four pods          alleged that he was negligently trained,
from 2003 to 2008. A Carnival witness testified that the pod was so poorly engi-     that he wasn’t provided a safe place to
neered that the bearings could be made out of kryptonite and still be rendered       work and that the rig’s equipment was
useless. Rolls-Royce also argued that Carnival knew they were purchasing a risky,    deficient in that the air conditioning
developmental product when they purchased the Mermaid pods.                          system did not have Schraeder valves in
                                                                                     all of the service ports. As a result of his
Micky Arison, the Chairman of Carnival Corporation, testified at tri-                injuries, Chapman alleged he could not
al that the notion that he would take a risk on one of his company’s                 return to work as an electrician.
most prestigious ships was ludicrous. He had trusted and relied on
Rolls-Royce’s assertions that the pods were going to function properly; he said      Ensco countered that it had a Safe Sys-
he took people at their word and did his business deals “on a handshake.” When       tem of Work in place, which provided
asked by Rolls-Royce counsel, the well-known criminal lawyer, Roy Black, wheth-      job safety analyses and work instruc-
er he considered himself a “shrewd” businessman, Arison made the courtroom           tions and that the plaintiff ignored the
chuckle. He responded that he preferred to be considered a good scout of bas-        safety precautions that were designed to
ketball talent, alluding to his successfull recruitment of LeBron James to his       prevent him from getting injured. Fur-
winning Miami Heat basketball team.                                                  thermore, he was injured when he per-
                                                                                     formed a job which he was not assigned
Arnaldo Perez, Carnival Corporation’s General Counsel, explained that                to do. The case was tried for three days
Carnival had trusted in the Rolls-Royce brand and its claim that the Mermaid         before the Honorable Judge Jay Zainey
pod was a “proven, well-tested product.” This highly contentious case took near-     in the United States District Court for
ly three weeks to try. Fowler and Black each took two hours for their closing        the Eastern District of Louisiana. Late
arguments.                                                                           in the evening on December 15, 2010,
Antonio J. Rodriguez said, “We are very pleased with the jury and their decision.    the seven person jury returned a verdict
This was an important case for Carnival, and it was made possible by the firm        finding that there was no Jones Act neg-
personnel from multiple offices functioning as one team.” Mary I. Hoelle, Frank      ligence, the rig was seaworthy and that
C. Quesada, and Michael A. Rosen, from the firm’s Miami office, acted as trial       no additional maintenance was owed
attorneys in support of the firm’s counsel from New Orleans, Messrs. Fowler          to the plaintiff. Essentially, the jury
and Rodriguez. The legal support team also included attorneys A.T. Chenault,         found that the plaintiff failed to follow
Michael Harowski, Cristi Fowler Chauvin, Sara E. T. Weber, and Thomas                the safety rules that were in place and
Oppenheimer.                                                                         that he, and he alone, caused his inju-
                                                                                     ries. Implicitly, the jury also found that
                                                                                     the plaintiff, despite having a physical
                                                                                     handicap as a result of the injury, could
                                                                                     return to gainful employment.
                                                                                     At trial, the plaintiff’s co-workers, in-
                                                                                     cluding his immediate supervisor, tes-
                                                                                     tified about the job to be performed
                                                                                     and the nature of the work the plaintiff
                                                                                     was involved in at the time of his injury.
                                                                                     Julie Slocum, Manager of Risk
                                                                                     Management, testified on behalf of
                                                                                     Ensco with respect to post accident re-
                                                                                     habilitation and maintenance and cure
                                                                                     issues. Rusty Fox, a rig manager based
                                                                                     in Houston, Texas, testified concerning
                                                                                     the Ensco Safe System of Work and the
                                                                                     various checks and balances that now
                                                                                     exist to ensure employees’ safety on-
                                                                                     board semi-submersibles.
                                                                                     In addition to assistance from Jacob
                                                                                     Gardner, new associate Andy Brown,
    Cristi Fowler Chauvin, Sara E. T. Weber, Reed A. Bourgeois (Back row)            paralegal Pat Bridges and secretary
  Michael A. Rosen, Martha De Zayas (Assistant General Counsel of Carnival), Arnie   Linda Becnel assisted in the trial prepa-
Perez (General Counsel of Carnival), Mary I. Hoelle, Frank C. Quesada (middle row)   rations which led to a successful out-
                                                                                     come at trial.
             Antonio J. Rodriguez, George J. Fowler, III (front row)




                                                              2
  In The News...
Motion Victories Lead to Favorable Settlement                   FRVF Aids in $200 Million Vessel Financing for
in Construction Contract Dispute                                Royal Bank of Scotland




  Edward “Bret”      Todd Crawford      Stuart Ponder
    LeBreton
In Seaward Marine Services, Inc. v. Grillot
Construction, LLC et al, C.A. 08 cv 587, U.S.D.C -
SDMS., Fowler       Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli obtained
favorable rulings on key motions, which lead to
a settlement and significant recoveries for Grillot             With the leadership of Firm attorneys Edward “Bret”
Construction, Inc., and its co-plaintiff, Seward                LeBreton, Delos “Dee” Flint, and Wade P. Webster, the
Marine Services, Inc. The case was litigated primarily by       Royal Bank of Scotland recently issued a $200 million loan
Edward “Bret” LeBreton, Todd Crawford, and Stuart               with a fleet mortgage on vessels operated in the Gulf of
Ponder.                                                         Mexico by a NYSE corporation. The Firm’s attorneys assisted
                                                                McGrigors of Edinburgh, Scotland in the preparation of
Beau Rivage hired Grillot as its general contractor             the loan agreement and prepared the fleet mortgage, secu-
to perform a variety of maintenance and repair op-              rity agreements, guarantees, and structured insurance for
erations on the barges supporting its casino in Biloxi,         the client. The fleet mortgage covered a total of 23 vessels
Mississippi, including underwater painting, removal of          supporting the oil and gas industry on the Outer Continen-
marine growth and dredging. Grillot hired Seaward               tal Shelf. Utilizing the wealth of resources at the Firm, the
Marine as its subcontractor to assist with removal of           Houston, Texas closing and funding all occurred within
growth and debris from the barges. When a dispute               the short deadline required by the borrower.
arose concerning what work was included in the bid
and what would cost extra, Seaward filed suit against
Beau Rivage and Grillot.                                        Antonio J. Rodriguez receives the New Orleans
The firm’s attorneys first negotiated a settlement be-
                                                                CityBusiness Leadership in Law Award
tween Seaward and Grillot and then began prosecuting
their claims jointly against Beau Rivage. Beau Rivage
counter-claimed against Grillot alleging breach of con-
tract, fraud, misrepresentation and failure to pay sales
taxes.

The court granted motions brought by FRVF dismiss-
ing Beau Rivage’s claims based on alleged inconsistent
terms in the general and subcontracts regarding de-
bris, day rates, per diems and applicable law; failure to
pay sales tax; overestimating the amount of debris and
growth on the barges; waiver and settlement and attor-
neys fees.

The court also denied Beau Rivage’s motions based on:
alleged failure to remove dredge spoils; whether unex-
pected debris and extra painting were included in the           Jose Cruz, Philip Brickman, A. T. Chenault, Christian
bid price or extras; premature billing for painting; al-        Sauce, Virginia Rodriguez, Antonio J. Rodriguez, Stephen
leged fraud in relation to a disposal subcontract and
certain pay applications; negligent misrepresentation;          Rodriguez, and BeedeMoore Udechukwu attended the
and breach of contract.                                         award ceremony. Mr. Rodriguez was selected based on his
                                                                professional achievements and community involvement.
While the court dismissed Grillot’s claim for quantum
meruit, it denied Beau Rivage’s motion to dismiss
claims for unjust enrichment. Following the rulings,
the parties settled.
                                                            3
 In The News... (cont.)
Jason Savarese v.                              Bellsouth Extends Appreciation
Pearl River Navigation, LLC                    to FRVF
                                                                                         Louisiana Supreme Court, which grant-
                                                                 BellSouth recently      ed a writ of certiorari and has scheduled
                                                                 thanked       Fowler    oral argument in May, 2011. The pre-
                                                                 Rodriguez Valdes-       sentation included a history of puni-
                                                                 Fauli attorney, Wade    tive damages, Louisiana public policy
                                                                 P. Webster, for what    against punitive damages to protect
                                                                 it described as “Ex-    the integrity of its judicial system from
                                                                 cellent!!” work per-    inherently speculative awards, and the
                                                                 suading the United      serious impact of importing punitive
                                                                 States Fifth Circuit    damages into Louisiana cases by use of
                                                                 Court of Appeals to     the Conflict of Law Articles, which in
Todd Crawford          John Scialdone               Wade P.      reject the claims of    certain circumstances allow the applica-
                                                    Webster      a telephone splicer     tion of the law of another state. The ad-
The United States District Court Eastern                         for overtime wages      dress focused on the importance of lim-
District of Louisiana issued an important      for repair work in the aftermath of       iting the application of the Conflict of
ruling on burden of proof in denying a         Hurricane Katrina. BellSouth had to       Law Articles consistent with their word-
Jones Act personal injury claimant any ad-     pay nothing under the decision. The       ing and intent, and not in the expansive
ditional recovery. The case presented an       Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected   manner interpreted by the state district
obvious risk of liability. A 120-foot crane    the overtime wage claims under the        court judge.
boom aboard a deck barge catastrophi-          Fair Labor Standards Act, even though
cally failed when a shackle tore loose from    the splicer worked twelve hour days       FRVF Attorney Frank C. Quesada
the load, causing the boom to release,         for several months repairing the devas-   Wins Campaign for Coral Gables
rise aloft, arc and crash onto the stern of    tated telephone network surrounding       City Commissioner
the barge. The parties stipulated that the     New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
defendant was solely responsible for the                                                                   Dedicated to the
crane failure. But the issue of medical cau-Wade P. Webster persuaded the Fifth                            character          and
sation was reserved because the plaintiff’s Circuit Court of Appeals to reject the                         quality of life of
injuries did not occur as a direct result ofovertime wage claims on the grounds                            Coral Gables, Florida,
the plaintiff’s response to the noise and   that the splicer was an independent                            Frank C. Quesada
commotion caused by the failure and sub-    contractor, even though the Court                              campaigned for and
sequent crash. The plaintiff was not direct-had previously held that the splic-                            won the position of
ly involved in the operation of the crane;  ers working for BellSouth in Mis-                              Coral Gables City
he was cooking in the galley at the time.   sissippi performing the same work                              Commissioner. Born
                                            were employees entitled to an award                            in Miami, Florida, Mr.
There were no eyewitnesses to the plain- of overtime wages and penalties.                                  Quesada has served
tiff’s injury, and the Court found his tes-                                                                the city of Coral
timony was not credible. The plaintiff Mat Gray Speaks at the Louisiana                       Frank C.
                                                                                                           Gables      for   over
testified that he injured himself while Surplus Lines Association’s 2010                      Quesada
                                                                                                           ten years. He has
exiting the galley door, but an eyewit- Mid-Year Meeting                                 worked tirelessly to improve traffic
ness contradicted his testimony. The                                                     throughout the city, create new ini-
court disbelieved the plaintiff’s conten-                     Mat Gray, III was in-      tiatives to raise funds for city proj-
tion that he fell exiting the galley door.                    vited to speak at the      ects, and planning and implement-
Without other evidence in the record of                       Louisiana Surplus          ing the Coral Gables Trolley system.
how he was injured, the Court could not                       Lines Association’s        Frank and his wife, Anna De La Rosa
relate his injury to the crane collapse.                      Mid-Year Meeting.          Quesada, Assistant State Attorney Felony
“It is possible that Savarese injured him-                    Mr. Gray’s presen-         Prosecutor, are passionate about the
self in some way as a result of this inci-                    tation     examined        well being of the City of Coral Gables
dent, but the Court need not speculate                        the potential for          and its community. He is proud to be
about that. The falling boom did not hit                      the expansion of           the Coral Gables City Commissioner.
Savarese or the galley, and it fell 10 to                     punitive damages
15 feet away. The standard of causation                       into proceedings in        Frank currently is an associate attor-
may be light for Jones Act negligence                         Louisiana       state      ney with Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli
claims, but it is the plaintiff’s burden to    Mat Gray, III  courts      involving      where he has been practicing law since
show how he was injured and relate the Louisiana accidents and citizens                  2006. Mr. Quesada is a founding mem-
injury to the defendant’s negligence or based on the Conflict of Law Articles            ber and President of United Against
the unseaworthy condition of the vessel, in the Louisiana Civil Code. Autho-             Cancer Foundation and sits on the
and Savarese has not met this burden.” rized by the Association, Mr. Gray                Coral Gables Traffic Advisory Board
Ultimately, the Court determined filed an Amicus Curiae (Friend of                       of Directors and the Coral Gables
that even though there was an obvi- the Court) brief in Craig Stevens                    Community Foundation Board of
ous event that might result in a num- Arabie, et al. v. CITGO Petroleum                  Directors.
ber of personal injuries, the plaintiff Corporation and R&R Construc-
still has the burden of proving how he tion, Inc., a case pending before the
was injured and tying that injury to the
defendant’s negligence or other fault.                       4
                                                                                           In The News... (cont.)
Florida’s New International Commercial                               Give Away $10 Million Tax-Free
Arbitration Law
by Mary I. Hoelle                                                    by Mark D. Rich and Wade P. Webster

                  This past July, the Florida Legislature                                                You can take advantage
                  took a major step in placing South                                                     of the recent tax-cut leg-
                  Florida at the forefront of internation-                                               islation by giving away
                  al commerce and arbitration. With its                                                  $10 million tax-free.
                  passage of the United Nations’ Model                                                   Commencing January
                  International Commercial Arbitration                                                   1, 2011, the lifetime gift-
                  Act, the Florida Legislature has opened                                                tax exclusion will jump
                  the door to resolving international busi-                                              to $5 million for an in-
                  ness disputes in Florida. This model ar-                                               dividual U.S. taxpayer.
                  bitration law was originally created by                                                Now, parents may trans-
 Mary I. Hoelle the United Nations’ Commission on                      Mark D. Rich        Wade P.       fer cash, stocks, busi-
                  International Trade Law, also known as                                   Webster       ness ownership or other
UNCITRAL. Since its inception, UNCITRAL’s goal has been                                                  assets to their children
to improve the flow of international trade by removing or            and grandchildren so that all future growth will accrue to
reducing the legal obstacles created by numerous foreign             the children’s and grandchildren’s benefit. Thus, a $10 mil-
and international regulations.                                       lion gift in 2011 may grow to $20 million by the time the
                                                                     taxpayer dies. The estate and gift tax exemptions are now
Under the new law, any international party to an arbitration         unified under the new legislation.
agreement that designates Florida can arbitrate their inter-
national business dispute in Florida. Among the many fea-            You can transfer $10 million in 2011 or 2012, but the benefit
tures of the new law are the recognition and enforcement             disappears in two years, so act soon while this tax planning
of awards, including the equal treatment of all awards irre-         advantage is available. If a parent is concerned about giving
spective of international origin. This feature will allow, for       too much money to a child or grandchild before he or she is
example, two Latin American business entities to arbitrate           mature enough, then the parent may utilize a trust to restrict
in Florida and reach a final binding decision without the            use by the children. In addition a dynastic trust also may be
expenses of traveling to traditional arbitration venues, such        utilized which may shield the assets from future estate taxa-
as London, and limit the time delays and the uncertainties           tion.
of international litigation. Other advantages to the new law         The $10 million is also available to a married couple. The
include Florida circuit court supervision over international         new legislation sets a $5 million exemption for an individual,
arbitrations and authorizing an arbitral tribunal to rule on         or $10 million for a couple, as to both the estate and gift-tax
its own jurisdiction and power to order interim measures             levies. A tax rate of 35% applies for estates and gifts over $5
and enter preliminary orders.                                        million, or $10 million per couple.
Generally, arbitration provisions are beneficial in interna-         In addition to the lifetime gift-tax exclusion, an individual
tional transactions as they can reduce the instances where           may continue to give another individual $13,000 per year,
a dispute leads to the termination of a commercial relation-         or $26,000 for a couple, tax free. There also are numerous
ship. As an alternative to litigation, a well drafted arbitra-       other ways to transfer wealth to your heirs to allow growth
tion provision can be beneficial in addressing the potential         of the assets outside of your estate, such as GRATs (Grantor
controversies in an international business relationship. Ad-         Retained Annuity Trusts) and dynastic trusts. For further in-
ditionally, the relaxed rules of evidence and civil procedure        formation on these tax planning opportunities, contact the
in arbitration can assist in streamlining the dispute resolu-        Firm’s estate and tax planning attorneys, Mark D. Rich and
tion process.                                                        Wade P. Webster.
The state of Florida joins five other states in the U.S. and
more than 50 countries that have adopted UNCITRAL’s                  Juan E. Serralles, IV Aids in Hotel
model arbitration law. Florida inevitably will attract more          Acquisition
international commerce. Moreover, South Florida is ideally                               Juan E. Serralles, IV represented a
suited to handle any increase in international arbitrations                              Venezuelan principal and a group
as our federal and state courts in Miami have considerable                               of investors in the acquisition of a
experience in dealing with international business matters.                               160 room - 14 story hotel in the Mary
                                                                                         Brickell Village area. The representa-
                                                                                         tion also included negotiating a multi-
                                                                                         year franchise agreement with Starwood
                                                                                         Hotels. Located in the heart of Miami’s
                                                                                         financial district, the hotel will be the
                                                                                         first Starwood Hotel under the aloft
                                                                                         flag. The client plans to acquire four
                                                                         Juan E.         additional hotels in the South Florida
                                                                       Serralles, IV     area.

                                                                 5
FRVF Announces:
FRVF Parther Mary I. Hoelle Appointed to the                         FRVF Co-hosts Investment Opportunities
Florida International University’s President’s Council               Presentation with Colliers International
                            On July 23, 2010 Mary I. Hoelle
                            was appointed to the Florida
                            International University’s President’s
                            Council, which is comprised of
                            business and civic leaders that
                            act as brand ambassadors and ad-
                            vocates for FIU in the commu-
                            nity, working to strengthen one
                            of the most vital resources of the
                            South Florida infrastructure. The
                            President’s Council serves as a
                            link between business and aca-
                            demia which brings the needs
of the business community into the classroom. Ms. Hoelle
is a partner in the law offices of FRVF and heads the litiga-
tion division in the Miami office. Ms. Hoelle’s practice fo-         Luis Espino(FRVF), Millie Muñoz(FRVF), Donna Abood, and
cuses on complex commercial litigation, civil litigation and         Stephen Nostrand
products liability. Her experience includes representing
both domestic and foreign litigants before U.S. and foreign          FRVF co-hosted a presentation with Colliers International,
courts, as well as litigating issues of jurisdiction and forum       a prominent international commercial real estate services
non conveniens in both federal and Florida state courts.             firm. The theme of the presentation was “Tax Structures
Ms. Hoelle has handled numerous international discovery              and Investment Opportunities in the U.S. for Foreign
requests through the Hague Convention on the Taking of               Investors.” FRVF and Colliers extended invitations to
Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial                   Matters.    a variety of business contacts in the community. Luis
Her practice also includes representing hospitals and                Espino gave an overview of the Firm and introduced
physicians in the defense of medical malpractice actions.            the FRVF team to the group followed by an impres-
                                                                     sive tax structures presentation by Millie Muñoz.
FRVF Attorney Eve S. Reardon Receives LSBA                           Millie went through nine different tax structures used
Award and Completes Leadership Program                               for real estate investments by foreign investors. Dur-
                                         At    the     2010          ing the Questions and Answers segment the audience
                                         Louisiana State             demonstrated much interest in the topic and copies
                                         Bar Association             of Millie’s presentation were distributed to the guests.
                                         Annual Meeting in           Her presentation was followed by a report of the cur-
                                         Sandestin, Florida,         rent state of the real estate markets and investment
                                         Eve S. Reardon              opportunities by a representative of Colliers, Stephen
                                         received        the         Nostrand. Approximately 85 guests attended the event,
                                         Certificate      of         which attendees included prominent real estate develop-
                                         Appreciation from           ers, financial advisors, accountants, bankers and clients.
                                         Melanie Mulcahy,
                                         the Chair of the
                                         Louisiana State Bar
                                         Association Young
                                         Lawyers     Section
                                         Council, for her
                                         exemplary service
as a member of the Young Lawyers Section Council from
June 2009 through June 2010. Mrs. Reardon was re-elect-
ed in 2010 and currently is serving her second consecutive
two-year term as the Orleans District Representative on the
Council. The Young Lawyers Council is the service-arm of the
Louisiana State Bar and is involved in numerous com-
munity service, member outreach and professional
development programs. Mrs. Reardon also was selected for
the Leadership Northshore program in St. Tammany Parish,
Louisiana. Leadership Northshore is a ten month program              Francisco Arocha, Leonardo Simon, and Juan E. Serralles,
consisting of monthly lectures, simulations, panel discus-           IV(FRVF)
sions, and community research projects. The objective of
Leadership Northshore is to prepare emerging community
leaders for leadership positions in local government, busi-
ness and community affairs. Mrs. Reardon successfully com-
pleted the program and graduated with her class in June of
2010.
    Getting to know...
Michael J. Thompson, Jr.                                                     Kelly Poteet
Associate - Gulfport,                                                        Legal Secretary - New Orleans,
Mississippi                                                                  Louisiana
Do you have a nickname?                                                      Where were you born and where did
None that I am aware of. However, I                                          you grow up?
am sure I have been called a few names                                       I grew up on the Westbank and currently
when I am out of ear shot.                                                   live in Barataria, LA. Although I live on
Where did you grow up?                                                       the water, my home is a real house.
Born and raised in Metairie, Louisiana.                                      What do you enjoy doing in your spare
Moved to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi in                                       time?
1994 immediately prior to my senior year of high school.                     Currently I am researching my family history on Ancestry.com.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?                                  What is something most people don’t know about you?
Spending time with my wife, Lindsay, and two sons, Mitchell (2)              I love OZZY OSBOURNE.
and Charlie (6 mos.), and fishing.
                                                                             Any awards/publications/distinctions/committees?
What is something most people don’t know about you?                          I was honored and humbled when I was asked to return to work
 I cannot run. I have been told that when I run, it looks like my            for the Maritime Group. This place is like a family.
knees are fighting one another.
                                                                             What is your favorite memory at Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli?
Do you have any interesting plans for your future?                           The many potluck Christmas luncheons. Those were always memo-
I want to have the largest and most obnoxious Christmas light dis-           rable and fun.
play in my neighborhood.
                                                                             If you could meet anyone from any era who would it be and
What did you dress as for the FRVF Halloween Costume party
                                                                             why?
this year?                                                                   I would want to meet an ancestor from my past to see what life was
The Gulfport office went with a Gilligan’s Island theme. I was the           like for “my family” back then.
Professor. I wore khaki pants and a white shirt. Everyone made fun
of me for not dressing up.                                                   Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
                                                                             I believe wholeheartedly in KARMA: “What goes around comes
What is your favorite memory at Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli?               around”.
Zephyr’s baseball game when I was clerking at FRVF during the
summer of 2009. Many of the attorneys and staff attended with                What do you like about working at Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-
their families and it was nice to see everyone interact outside of the       Fauli?
office.                                                                      I absolutely love the atmosphere and the way everyone gets along
                                                                             and works together…it’s like home….
Christy Cancienne
Legal Secretary - New Orleans,                                               Brittany Marie Frey
Louisiana                                                                    Receptionist - New Orleans,
Where did you grow up?                                                       Louisiana
Barataria, LA.
                                                                             Where were you born and where did
What do you enjoy doing in your spare
                                                                             you grow up?
time?
                                                                              I was born and raised in New Orleans.
I enjoy spending time with my husband
and three daughters. We are usually                                          What do you enjoy doing in your spare
pretty busy, so it is the quiet days at                                      time?
home that I cherish the most.                                                I enjoy shopping, boating, fishing, spend-
What is something most people don’t know about you?                          ing time with my friends and family and
I recently started waking up earlier in the morning to make time to          playing sports, especially soccer. I love being a SAINTS FAN!
go walking. It’s really peaceful; I look forward to it each morning.         What is something most people don’t know about you?
Do you have any interesting plans for your future?                           I am a tomboy at heart.
Raising three daughters (one teen and two preteens) keeps each               How long have you been practicing with this group?
day pretty interesting.                                                      I have been with FRVF for 5 months now and I absolutely love it!
What is your favorite office activity and why?                               Who at the firm makes you laugh and why?
I just love the holidays so I would have to say the firm Christmas           Sandra Middendorf “Ms. Daisy.” She is very humorous and doesn’t
party. It is nice to be able to have fun and celebrate the holidays          even realize it.
with the people that I get to work with each day.                            If you could meet anyone from any era who would it be and
What is your favorite memory at Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli?               why? Michael Jackson and Mia Hamm. MJ because he is a very tal-
My favorite memories would be of various holidays celebrated at              ented singer and moonwalker. I am inspired by Mia Hamm’s disci-
the firm, from competing for Easter eggs with fellow co-workers              plined dedication and her fierce competitive nature.
to the anticipation of the various costume ideas for Halloween. It           Do you have a favorite quote or saying? “I am building a fire, and
was also a special treat to attend the Saints Super Bowl parade with         everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light
friends from work.                                                           the match.” ~ Mia Hamm
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
Happiness is not getting what you want, it’s wanting what you al-
ready have.                                                              7
New Hires:

                      James     P.     Gueits                          Andrew R. Brown                                  Eve S. Reardon
                      joined the Firm in                               joined the Firm in                               joined the Firm
                      2010 as an associate in                          2010 as an associate                             in July of 2010
                      the Miami office. Mr.                            in the New Orleans                               as an associate
                      Gueits concentrates                              office. His practice                             attorney in the
                      his practice on                                  emphasizes maritime                              New Orleans office.
                      complex commercial                               law, insurance de-                               Prior to joining
                      and business litigation                          fense, interstate and                            the     firm,  Mrs.
                      and has represented                              international trans-                             Reardon practiced
                      clients in state and                             portation, construct-                            law for four years,
federal court in matters involving business      ion and renewable energy contracts. Mr.         specializing in maritime and admiralty
torts, real estate investment fraud, post-       Brown’s professional experience includes        law as well as general civil and commercial
judgment execution and partnership               arguing in the Southern District of New         litigation. Mrs. Reardon was born in
disputes.                                        York, the District of New Jersey, the New       New Orleans, Louisiana. Mrs. Reardon
                                                 York Appellate Division, and the U.S. Third     attended Louisiana State University,
Mr. Gueits is actively engaged in the South Circuit Court of Appeals.
                                                                                                 where she received her B.S. in Business
Florida community and is currently serving
                                                                                                 Administration in 2002. In 2006, she
a six-year term as a member of the Board Mr. Brown obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in
                                                                                                 earned her Juris Doctorate from Loyola
of Directors of the Doral Business Council, English from Ohio State University in 2003
                                                                                                 University Law School where she was a
the economic development entity in the and received his J.D. from the University of
                                                                                                 member of Moot Court, the Maritime
City of Doral. Mr. Gueits is also a member of Tennessee College of Law in 2006. He was
                                                                                                 Law Journal Editorial Board, the St.
the Board of Directors of DFYIT, Drug Free admitted to practice in New Jersey in 2006,
                                                                                                 Thomas Moore Catholic Legal Society,
Youth In Town, a 501(c)3 organization whose New York in 2007, and Louisiana in 2010.
                                                                                                 and vice president of Pi Alpha Delta legal
mission is to educate school-aged children
                                                                                                 society. Mrs. Reardon was admitted to the
about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Mr. Brown is a native of Cleveland, Ohio
                                                                                                 Louisiana State Bar in 2006. Mrs. Reardon
DFYIT now has 70 active programs in public and received a highly coveted Eagle Scout
                                                                                                 now serves on the Louisiana State Bar
schools across Miami-Dade and Broward Award in February 1999. He enjoys running,
                                                                                                 Association Young Lawyer Council as a
Counties. In 2007, Gueits served on the writing and sailing in his free time. He has
                                                                                                 representative for District One (Orleans).
Miami-Dade Mortgage Fraud Taskforce as written and published several articles.
                                                                                                 She is a member of the Leadership
part of its Regulatory and Business Practices
                                                                                                 Northshore Class of 2010 and a board
committees. Mr. Gueits has been a trustee
                                                                       Sara E. T. Weber          member for Kids Unlimited Playground
member of the Greater Miami Chamber
                                                                       joined the Firm in July   Non-profit Organization, a leadership
of Commerce, and is a current member of
                                                                       2010 as an associate      Northshore 2010 initiative. She and her
the Cuban American and Coral Gables Bar
                                                                       specializing in the       husband are proud parents to their two
Associations.
                                                                       areas of admiralty        year-old son and new eight month old
Mr. Gueits received his Juris Doctor cum                               and maritime law.         daughter.
laude from St. Thomas University School of                             Ms. Weber was born
Law in 2004, where he was the Moot Court                               in Atlantic City,                                Kenneth J. Milne
Board President and an Articles Editor for                             New Jersey. She                                  joined the Houston
the Law Review. Mr. Gueits has a Bachelor of                           attended       Boston                            office of Fowler
Science degree from the University of Miami.                           University, where she                            Rodriguez Valdes-
He is admitted to practice law in the State of graduated cum laude in 2004 with a B.A.                                  Fauli as an associate
Florida and the United States District Court in International Relations, with minors in                                 in     2010.     Mr.
for the Southern District of Florida. A Miami History and Political Science. In 2007, Ms.                               Milne specializes in
native of Cuban decent, Gueits speaks fluent Weber obtained her J.D. and a Certificate                                  general litigation,
Spanish.                                         in Maritime Law from the Tulane School                                 maritime law, and
                                                 of Law. While at Tulane Law, Ms. Weber                                 personal injury. He
                                                                                                 has practiced for five years and has tried
                       Jennifer Lynn joined worked as a Notes and Comments Editor of
                                                                                                 cases before the state court.
                       the New Orleans the Tulane Maritime Law Journal.
                       office of the Firm as                                                     Mr. Milne graduated from The University
                       a paralegal in April Ms. Weber is admitted to practice law in             of Texas with a B.A. in Economics in 1999.
                       2010. Ms. Lynn grad- both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, after              He then attended South Texas College of
                       uated from Indiana passing both states’ bar exams in 2007. Prior          Law where he graduated cum laude in
                       University and contin- to joining the firm, Ms. Weber clerked for         2005.
                       ued her studies at the Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood,
                                                 Chief Judge of the United States District       Mr. Milne is admitted to practice law in
                       University of Louisville.                                                 Texas and is a member of the Houston
                                                 Court of Guam.
                       She now works with                                                        Bar Association and Houston Mariner’s
Norman Sullivan, Edward LeBreton, and                                                            Club. He is a committee member of the
Jacob Gardner. Jennifer was born in New                                                          Central Houston Coastal Conservation
Albany, Indiana and raised in Louisville,                                                        Association. In his free time, Mr. Milne
Kentucky.                                                                                        enjoys trolling for blue marlin and sight
                                                                                                 casting to redfish.

                                                                    8
  New Hires:

                    Luis Llamas joined                              Francis X. Sexton,                             Susan      G.     Keller-
                    the Firm in August                              Jr. joined the Firm                            Garcia joined the Firm
                    of 2010. Mr. Llamas                             in 2010 as partner in                          in 2010 as an associate
                    was born in Miami,                              the Miami office. Mr.                          in the New Orleans
                    Florida. In 2007,                               Sexton concentrates                            office. Prior to joining
                    he received his                                 in commercial lit-                             the firm, Ms. Keller-
                    B.A. in Business                                igation, and has                               Garcia practiced for
                    Administration from                             represented clients in                         four years specializing
                    Loyola University                               the state and federal                          in admiralty and
                    New Orleans, grad-                              courts of New York                             maritime law, as well
uating cum laude. In 2010, Mr.                                      and Florida in cases                           as litigation under the
Llamas obtained his J.D. from Florida       involving products liability, construction         Defense Base Act and general litigation.
International University School of Law.     defects, business torts, professional liability,   Ms. Keller-Garcia was born in Cheyenne,
During his time there, he founded the       real estate foreclosures and other real-           Wyoming and grew up in St. Louis,
“Gavel for Human Rights” award through      estate-oriented     litigation,    investment      Missouri. She graduated cum laude from
his work with the Cuban American Law        fraud, intra-corporate and partnership             Tulane University in 2002 with a B.A. in
Society.                                    disputes, business breakups, trademark             Latin American Studies. Ms. Keller-Garcia
                                            infringement, shipping disputes, banking
Mr. Llamas has prior experience as a                                                           earned her J.D. and Admiralty and Maritime
                                            disputes, and creditor/debtor problems,
Federal intern for Senior Federal Judge                                                        Law Certificate from Tulane University
                                            and has conducted many trials, arbitrations
James Lawrence King at the United States                                                       Law School in 2006, where she earned the
                                            and appeals. He is licensed in New York and
District Court and as a law clerk for the                                                      highest grade in Carriage of Goods by Sea
                                            Florida. He brings 37 years of experience to
Office of the City Attorney in Miami. He                                                       and was active in Tulane Child Advocates.
                                            the firm.
also served as a summer associate for
                                                                                               Ms. Keller-Garcia was admitted to the
Fowler Rodriguez Valdes-Fauli in 2009.       Mr. Sexton is an arbitrator affiliated with       Louisiana State Bar Association in 2006.
Mr. Llamas is a member of the Cuban the American Arbitration Association                       She also is admitted to practice before the
American Bar Association and Belen and the International Centre for Dispute                    United States District Court for the Eastern
Jesuit Alumni Lawyers’ Section. He Resolution. He was born in White Plains,                    District of Louisiana. Ms. Keller-Garcia
recently passed the Florida Bar Exam and New York. He received his bachelor of arts            also is a member of the New Orleans Bar
                                             degree from Georgetown University and his
is awaiting admission to the Florida bar.                                                      Association and is a corporate member of
                                             juris doctor degree from the Georgetown           the Young Leadership Council. Ms. Keller-
                                             University Law Center. Mr. Sexton is on           Garcia is fluent in Spanish.
                       Reed A. Bourgeois the Board of Trustees of HistoryMiami
                       joined the New (formerly the Historical Museum of                                             Edward C. Kiss, is
                       Orleans office of Southern Florida) and he is Past President                                  an associate at the
                       the Firm as a clerk of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables.                                       Houston office of
                       in August 2010. Ms.                                                                           the Firm. Originally
                                                                  Sofia    P.     Bellini                            born in Romania,
                       Bourgeois received                         began working at the                               Mr. Kiss specializes
                       her     BBA     from                       Firm in 2009 when                                  in Maritime, Person-
                       the University of                          she assisted in-trial                              al Injury and Com-
                       Mississippi       and                      preparation for Royal                              mercial law. He has
assisted Mr. George Fowler during the                             Caribbean v. Rolls-                                practiced law for eight
Carnival v. Rolls-Royce trial in Miami, FL.                       Royce. She works as a        years, frequently at the state court level.
Reed grew up in Pass Christian, Mississippi.                      legal assistant in the
                                                                  New Orleans office.          Mr. Kiss graduated the University of
                                                                  Mrs. Bellini was born        Connecticut with a B.A. in 1998 and
                       Carey F. Brassette                         in Miami, Florida            afterward proceeded to enroll in the J.D.
                       joined the firm as and grew up in Huntington, New York and
                                                                                               program at the University of Hofstra.
                       a legal secretary Allentown, Pennsylvania. She attended                 During his time there, Mr. Kiss clerked
                       in May 2010. She Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison,             at the Nassau County Supreme Court,
                       works in the New New Jersey and graduated cum laude in                  under the Honorable Alan Winick. He
                       Orleans office with 2006. While attending Fairleigh Dickinson,          completed his degree at Hofstra in 2001,
                       Larry DeMarcay, Sofia was a member of the Lambda Pi Eta                 and passed the Bar Admission of New York
                       Gene Preaus, and student honor society. Sofia is a volunteer            in September of 2002. In 2008, Mr. Kiss
                       Eve Reardon. Mrs. for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s                passed the Bar Admission of Texas, and
                                             Azucar Ball. In 2010, she assisted in the         since then has practiced law in Houston.
Brassette was born and raised in New
                                             preparation and trial of Carnival vs. Rolls-      In his free time, Mr. Kiss enjoys basketball,
Orleans, Louisiana and graduated from Royce in Miami, Florida.
Our Lady of Holy Cross College.                                                                tennis, and traveling.




                                                                   9
   FRVF Proudly Supports:
    The Houston Marine Insurance                                           Florida’s Hispanic Outreach
              Seminar                                                           “SUNPAC” Event




FRVF attorney Delos “Dee” Flint (center) at FRVF’s Houston           Max Amster, Christian Chauvin, FRVF Attorney Mark D. Rich,
Marine Insurance Seminar Dinner Party with Steve Bertenshaw          Edward Crawford, and Jeb Bush, Jr. at “SUNPAC.”
and Eddie Cave of Lloyd and Partners.
                                                                         New Orleans Early Childhood
  Association of Corporate Growth                                             Learning Center




FRVF attorney Philip Brickman introduced the keynote speaker,        FRVF International Legal Trainees BeedeMoore Udechukwu and
Jose Suquet, at the ACG function.                                    Christian Sauce (shown with his daughter) attended the from
                                                                     Symphony to Jazz to Kids Event.

                                 The Hispanic National Bar Association




FRVF managing partner George J. Fowler, III(far right) spoke         George J. Fowler, III (FRVF), Odell Guyton (Compliance
on the “The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act” with Grant                Director of Microsoft), David Maldonado (the Senior VP
Petersen (Shareholder of Ogletree Deakins), Odell Guyton             of Special Counsel), Juan E. Serralles, IV (FRVF), and
(Compliance Director of Microsoft) and Monica MacGregor              BeedeMoore Udechukwu (FRVF).
(Director, Alvarez & Marsal).                                   10
  FRVF Proudly Supports:
   Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s                                                      Federal Bar
            Azucar Ball                                                                Association




FRVF attorneys Gene Preaus and Norman Sullivan with Mayra          FRVF attorneys Jon Wise, Stuart Ponder, and Jacob Gardner at
Pineda(center) at Azucar Ball 2010 (courtesy of Nola.com).         the Federal Bar Association Annual Judges’ Reception.

                                                                        The Bureau of Governmental
     Greater New Orleans, Inc.                                                   Research




Eve S. Reardon, Sofia P. Bellini, Susan G. Keller-Garcia, Jacob    Stuart Ponder, Luis Llamas, Andrew R. Brown, Reed
Gardner, Stuart Ponder & Andrew R. Brown at the G.N.O.             A. Bourgeois, BeedeMoore Udechukwu, Carey F. Brassette, and
Annual Meeting sponsored by FRVF.                                  Eugene Preaus at the BGR meeting sponsored by FRVF.


United Way         Luncheon hosted by Pan-American Life Insurance                       Bayside Little League
Group and the InterContinental Hotel                                                    in Houston
                                                                                                              FRVF       partner
                                                                                                              Tim Strickland’s
                                                                                                              son Evan proudly
                                                                                                              shows off his FRVF
                                                                                                              jersey. FRVF sup-
                                                                                                              ports local youth
                                                                                                              sports throughout
                                                                                                              the Gulf Coast,
                                                                                                              such as Bayside,
                                                                                                              which had its
                                                                                                              field destroyed by
                                                                                                              Hurricane Ike.
  Eugene Preaus and Sara E. T. Weber                  Jacob Gardner and
                                                   BeedeMoore Udechukwu


                                                              11
FRVF Proudly Supports (continued):
                                New Orleans Chamber of Commerce




Chamber Board and Staff Members Lucy Chun,                          Anthony D’ Alto, Cristi Fowler Chauvin, Robert R.
Mullady Voelker, Ben Johnson, Sheila Burns, Ed Bush, Cristi         Richmond, Richard Roth, Luis Llamas, Susan G.
Fowler Chauvin, Maggie Woodruff and Sandra Lindquist.               Keller-Garcia, Jennifer L. Dippel, Susan Tranchina, Sofia
                                                                    P. Bellini, and Reed A. Bourgeois at the annual meeting
                                                                    where FRVF was a Gold Sponsor.
FRVF Announces:
George J. Fowler, III receives a bronze medal of the Seal of the City of Coral Gables. It was presented to
Mr. Fowler by Mayor Don Slesnick on the anniversary of the Coral Gables office.




Commissioner Bill Kerdyk, Jr. (City of Coral Gables, FL), Raúl J.     Mark D. Rich, Mary I. Hoelle, Juan E. Serralles, IV, Frank C.
 Valdes-Fauli (FRVF), George J. Fowler, III (FRVF), Mayor Don            Quesada, Michael A. Rosen, Rolando Anillo, Francis X.
Slesnick (City of Coral Gables, FL), and Mayor Eduardo Muhina        Sexton, Jr., Guillermo Luis Dominguez, Milagros Muñoz, James
                    (City of West Miami, FL).                                           P. Gueits, and Luis A. Espino.




             Mario and Clara Del Valle, George J. Fowler, III,      Dan Hanrahan (of Celebrity Cruises), Guillermo
                         and Nestor Machado.                         Quirch, George J. Fowler, III(FRVF) and David
                                                                    Long (of Royal Caribbean) at the FRVF party in
                                                                                        Miami.
                   FRVF Congratulates:
                   Richard Fain          on receiving the Silver
                   Medallion from the Miami Coalition of
                   Christians and Jews (MCCJ) :




   FOWLER
  RODRIGUEZ
 VALDES-FAULI




                    Richard Fain, Chairmen of Royal Caribbean
                    Cruises, received the Silver Medallion from
                    the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews
                    (MCCJ). For 76 years, the MCCJ has pro-
                    moted understanding and respect for all
 New Orleans        faiths, cultures and races. The MCCJ Hu-
 504.523.2600       manitarian Awards Dinner, which took
                    place on February 26th of 2011, recognized
                    Fain for his important and significant lead-
                    ership within the community. Fain’s work
                    with the United Way of Miami-Dade, World
     Miami          Wildlife Fund, and other charitable organi-
                    zations makes him an ideal candidate for
  786.364.8400      the honor.



   Houston
  713.654.1560
                      Additional New Hires:
                                Gulfport office
    Mobile
  251.344.4721                      Attorneys
                                MichAel thoMpson
                                 skip neGrotto
                               christopher schMidt
   Gulfport
  228.822.9340                        stAff
                        Michelle tAunton, LegaL assistant
                                & administration
                             Auriel toney, ParaLegaL
    Bogotá                  eMMA GonzAles, ParaLegaL
011.571.313.4488           Jennifer lohfink, ParaLegaL
                         susAn eMerson, LegaL secretary
                          lynn WAtson, LegaL secretary
                          pAtriciA JAubert, recePtionist
www.frvf-law.com

  Spring 2011

								
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