School of Law at Indiana University, Juris Doctor, 1973, magna cum laude
Franklin College of Indiana, Bachelor of Science, 1969
Florida Bar, 1973
Indiana Bar, 1973
District of Columbia Bar, 2010
United States District Court for the District of Colorado, 2014
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1974
William R. Scherer co-founded the firm in 1974 with his late partner Rex Conrad. Over the past almost four decades, Mr. Scherer has grown Conrad & Scherer into one of Florida’s leading law firms and has expanded the firm’s presence with offices in New York, New York, Brevard, North Carolina, and Quito, Ecuador.
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell® since 1987, Mr. Scherer is a seasoned trial attorney. He has litigated over 100 trials in both jury and non-jury cases before state, appellate, and federal courts. Mr. Scherer’s cases and legal accomplishments have received coverage by major television networks such as CNN, CNBC, MSNBC and FNN and national and local newspapers such as The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, South Florida Business Journal, the Daily Business Review, the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald.
Mr. Scherer was lead counsel for victims of the infamous multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by Scott Rothstein. Notably, Mr. Scherer led his complex litigation team and achieved an historic settlement returning to investors what is said to be the highest percentages of recovery for victims of a Ponzi scheme. News outlets described the settlement as a “huge victory” and a “landmark” lawsuit.
In 2005, Mr. Scherer served as plaintiff’s counsel in a high-profile commercial lawsuit involving the sale of a health insurance company and obtained, by jury verdict, one of the largest damage awards in Broward County history.
During the historical 2000 Presidential Election Litigation in Florida, Mr. Scherer led a team of attorneys representing President George W. Bush and personally represented the President in the Broward County recount.
In addition to his litigation practice, Mr. Scherer has also served as counsel to various government entities. From 1988 to 2005, Mr. Scherer served as General Counsel to the North Broward Hospital District, one of the largest public health care providers in the nation, with four hospitals and nine specialized treatment centers. As General Counsel for the Hospital District, he supervised teams of legal experts in healthcare and malpractice law, and was responsible for all trials and legal actions taken by or against the Hospital District.
Mr. Scherer began his legal career as a law clerk to the Indiana Supreme Court and the Honorable Charles Fulton, Former Chief of the United States District Court for the South District of Florida.
American Board of Trial Advocates, Member/“Advocate,” 1989 to present
Broward Workshop, Board Member, 2002 to 2012
Broward County Ethics Commission, 2009 to 2010
City of Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, Board Member, 1989 to 1996 and 2003 to 2010
Franklin College Board of Trustees, 2000 to 2008
Judicial Nominating Commission for the Seventeenth Circuit, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Martinez, Governor Bush and Governor Scott), 1987 to 1999, 2001 to 2003, 2003 to 2007 (Chair in 2006), 2011 to 2012
Judicial Nominating Commission for the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush), 1999 to 2003
Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Interim General Counsel, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush), 2000
Florida Lawyers for Bush, Statewide Co-Chair, 1998 to 2000
Florida Lawyers for Bush, Broward and Palm Beach County Chair, 1998 to 2000
Federal Bar, Grievance Panel for the Southern District of Florida, 1995 to 1997
Florida Patient Compensation Fund, Board of Directors, 1992
Federal Bar Association, Broward County Chapter, Past President, 1982 to 1983
Lori Parrish, Broward County Property Appraiser v. Board of County Commissioners, Broward County, Florida, Case No.: 13-023090. Successfully obtained a writ of mandamus on behalf of Broward County Property Appraiser Lori Parrish after the Broward County Board of Commissioners failed to comply with its statutorily mandated duty to fully fund the first quarter payment of the Property Appraiser’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget as approved by the Department of Revenue.
Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys and para-professionals in the representation of a diverse group of plaintiffs seeking recovery of over $225 million in investor losses resulting from a multi-billion dollar structured settlement Ponzi scheme. This nationally publicized case focused on Toronto Dominion Bank’s (TD Bank) role in facilitating this criminal enterprise asserting novel claims that the Bank willfully aided and abetted the Ponzi fraud. After months of litigation, the matter was resolved through settlement resulting in the highest percentage recovery for victims entangled in a Ponzi scheme.
In conjunction with the Rothstein Ponzi scheme civil litigation, Mr. Scherer served as Chairman of the Creditors’ Committee in Rothstein’s law firm’s bankruptcy proceeding from December 2009 through December 2012.
In 2005, Mr. Scherer co-represented a doctor and health care entrepreneur who had purchased HIP of Florida—now Vista Health Plans of Florida—from HIP of New York. Scherer filed a suit on behalf of his client against HIP of New York alleging that HIP hid financial information from his client who had purchased the company for $40 million. Following a 14 week trial, and despite HIP of New York’s countersuit for breach of contract, a jury awarded one of the largest individual verdicts in Broward Circuit Court history. That award included an award of compensatory damages for fraud and the cancellation of a multi-million dollar note to the defendant. Jurors had found liability for punitive and compensatory damages, but before they could determine an award on punitive damages, the case was settled out of court.
Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys representing President George W. Bush during the historical 2000 vote recount and personally represented the President in the high stakes Broward County recount. Conrad & Scherer’s responsibilities as counsel to President Bush included advising the President on his legal strategy in Broward County and also acting as a key contributor in Bush’s distinguished statewide Florida legal team. In fact, President Bush has praised Conrad & Scherer’s attorneys for their important legal contributions to his success in Florida. The firm’s contribution has also been implicitly recognized in the United States Supreme Court decision of Bush v. Gore, 531 U.S. 98 (2000), where the high court freed Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris’s certification of George W. Bush as the winner of Florida’s electoral votes in the 2000 presidential election.
Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys in defending a client against a third-party government agency’s interference with Broward County’s public bid process, which put at risk an existing five year janitorial services contract for the Fort-Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport totaling approximately $69 million. The firm successfully asserted constitutional due process violations challenging the third-party agency’s involvement in the process and deviation from the County Code and Charter. The firm prepared to file a bid protest and to seek judicial relief for the constitutional violations if a successful political resolution was not reached.
Mr. Scherer led his team of attorneys defending one of the largest mega-yacht marina and shipyards in the US from being over-regulated by a local fire marshal and was able to resolve the matter favorably through the political process and without litigation. The fire marshal had attempted to regulate the shipyard’s spray painting of mega-yachts/large vessels within temporary enclosures – an industry-wide practice already regulated under OSHA. Resolution required multi-government lobbying of the Florida CFO in his capacity as the State Fire Marshal, Broward County Commission, the Broward Board of Rules and Appeals (“BORA”), the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the local Fire Prevention Bureau. If the fire marshal was successful, the impacts to the Tri-County’s multi-billion dollar marine industry would have been devastating. In addition to the government relations aspect of this matter, the firm prepared to seek judicial relief for the constitutional violations if a successful political resolution was not reached.
Successfully enforced a $41 million judgment against a prominent real estate developer by attacking an offshore Nevis trust. Pursued multiple court actions in domestic and international jurisdictions, including the Cayman Islands. This was one of the first instances in the U.S. where a U.S. creditor was able to successfully attack a Nevis trust. The case resulted in a settlement of over $44 million for the client.
Represented a municipality and prevailed at trial in a $100 million dollar lawsuit brought by a large developer against the municipality for breach of an alleged contract to develop 11 acres of Florida oceanfront property.
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, since 1987
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad law Center, Juris Doctor, 2004
University of Florida, M.E. Rinker School of Building Construction, Bachelor of Science, 2000
State Certified General Contractor, CGC# 1517189
Florida Bar, 2004
John Scherer is a partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Mr. Scherer’s government relations practice focuses on providing clients throughout South Florida with strategic counsel on procurement and government contract issues. Mr. Scherer focuses his litigation practice on construction and land use litigation.
As a Certified General Contractor with significant experience in construction, Mr. Scherer is able to serve the firm’s clients either as special counsel or as an expert witness on large complex commercial and residential construction cases.
In addition to his role at Conrad & Scherer, Mr. Scherer is the President and Owner of Gulf Building and Gulf Design Group. Mr. Scherer’s experience at Gulf affords his clients the benefit of his business acumen and his hands-on knowledge of construction, development and government contracts.
Broward County Enterprise Zone Board, Board Member, 2013 to present
City of Fort Lauderdale, Economic Advisory, Board Member, 2013 to present
Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Council, Board Member, 2013 to present
Florida Building Commission, Board Member, Governor Crist Appointee, 2009 to present
Construction Association of South Florida, 2006 to present
Board of Directors for Associated Builders and Contractors, Southeast FL Division, Director, 2006 to 2012
Associated Builders and Contractors, Florida Chapter, Member, 2006 to 2012
Unsafe Structures Board for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Board Member, 2006 to 2012
Named “Top 40 Under 40” by South Florida Business Journal, 2014
Named “Top 40 Professionals Under 40 – Broward County Rising Stars” by Gold Coast Magazines, 2009
Florida State University, College of Law, Juris Doctor, 2009
Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, 2006
Michael E. Dutko, Jr. is a partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Mr. Dutko’s practice focuses on government relations and public policy, procurement and government contracts, zoning, land use and development, land use and real property litigation and general commercial and civil litigation.
Mr. Dutko has extensive experience in the field of local government law, representing developers and builders in private practice as well as having served as Assistant City Attorney for the City of Delray Beach. In addition to providing legal services on a wide range of local government matters, he also served as the City’s board counsel for the Site Plan Review and Appearance Board, Historic Preservation Board, Code Enforcement Board, Board of Adjustment, Planning and Zoning Board and City Commission, guiding each body through the consideration of complex legal and controversial matters.
In particular, Mr. Dutko worked closely with the City’s Planning and Zoning Department regarding the review and processing of applications for development in the City, which is widely regarded as one of South Florida’s premier locations. In addition to land development and zoning work, Mr. Dutko was a primary attorney responsible for the preparation of government contracts, review and drafting of solicitations for competitive procurements, ethics and Sunshine Law consultation, and labor and collective bargaining negotiations. Mr. Dutko was the City’s chief litigator in lawsuits arising during his tenure, including but not limited to writs of certiorari, negligence actions and ballot challenges.
Prior to the City of Delray Beach, Mr. Dutko served as an Assistant State Attorney with the Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office. There, he gained significant and valuable jury trial experience in cases ranging from driving under the influence to first degree murder. While at the State Attorney’s Office, Mr. Dutko was selected to join the office’s Public Corruption Unit, leading a team of investigators and prosecuting complex crimes committed by public employees, police officers, and elected officials. In addition to numerous other high profile and highly publicized cases, Mr. Dutko led Palm Beach County’s first successful prosecution to trial verdict of violations of Florida’s Sunshine Law, involving a city commission’s attempt to secretly authorize unlawful payments to a city manager.
University of Buffalo, John Lord O’Brien School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1977
University of Buffalo, Bachelor of Science, 1970
District of Columbia, 1980
New York, 1978
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court, Western District of New York
Irwin Gilbert is a senior partner at Conrad & Scherer’s Fort Lauderdale office with a practice concentrating primarily on complex commercial litigation, general business litigation, construction defect litigation, class actions and professional liability.
Practicing in State and Federal Courts in Florida and across the Country, Irwin represents fortune 100 companies in high stakes litigation. He has been selected as lead counsel for the defense in mass shooting cases.
Irwin believes that success depends on communicating with the client to fully understand the client’s needs and expectations and designing a strategy to achieve those results in the most efficient manner possible. He has repeatedly “compressed the timeline” of litigation to conserve the client’s resources and minimize the disruption of the client’s business. When it comes to litigation, time is money. Compressing the timeline means getting the case on the fastest track, deflecting delay strategies by opposing counsel and getting the case to a resolution before his clients exhaust their patience and their resources. While Irwin has extensive experience taking complex litigation through trial, he believes that most disputes have the potential for less expensive resolution if the issues and objectives are clearly identified at the outset.
Irwin’s clients have included banks, investment firms, executives, celebrities, legal professionals, and Fortune 500 companies. In some of his more groundbreaking decisions, Irwin reigned in fiduciaries who had exceeded their powers, including court-appointed guardians and Assignees for the Benefit of Creditors. Irwin has also protected business clients from lawsuits, including class action, antitrust matters and trade secrets cases. In several of these cases, more than one hundred million dollars was at risk.
Irwin has a wide range of experience practicing throughout the United States and has litigated cases in Great Britain and Japan. His original training was in antitrust and unfair competition, defending companies in Robinson Patman and price-fixing conspiracy cases. He also served as Chairman of the Business Law Section of The Florida Bar’s Antitrust & Trade Regulation Subcommittee and also as Chair of the Florida Bar’s Business Litigation Committee.
Prior to studying law, Irwin studied physics and electrical engineering and was engaged in government service. Irwin earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of Buffalo, John Lord O’Brien School of Law and after clerking, began practicing in two large New York City law firms. Prior to joining the firm, Irwin was a Partner in his own practice also defending private lenders, construction companies and commercial real estate developers in complex commercial litigation.
Member, Florida Bar Business Law Section
Co-Chairman, Business Litigation Committee, Business Law Section of The Florida Bar
Chair, Antitrust & Trade Regulation Subcommittee, Business Litigation Committee, Business Law Section of The Florida Bar
Client Security Fund Committee, The Florida Bar
Past Chairman, 15th Circuit Grievance Committee, The Florida Bar
Past Regional Vice President, The National Client Protection Organization, Inc. (NCPO)
Ullrich v. Welt (In re Nica Holdings, Inc.), 810 3d 781 (11th Cir. 2015). Wishing to dissolve and wind up its affairs, Nica Holdings, Inc. decided to avoid the more expensive route of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and chose instead to irrevocably assign its assets to an Assignee under Florida’s Assignment for Benefit of Creditors (“ABC”) statute, Section 727.101, et seq. One of its assets was stock in a Nicaraguan corporation engaged in fish farming (“Nicanor”). Seeking to sell that asset, the Assignee entered into an unambiguous and unconditional agreement to sell the stock to an existing investor in Nicanor, Peter Ullrich. Despite receiving a substantial down payment from Ullrich, the Assignee never notified creditors nor sought court approval of the sale. He kept the down payment and sold the stock to a third party. The Assignee essentially botched the entire ABC case and himself became the subject of a lawsuit. In turn the Assignee, facing motions to remove him for cause and for leave of court to sue him personally, took it upon himself to file bankruptcy on behalf of Nica—despite the fact that he had no authority to do so. Irwin represented Ullrich who had contracted to purchase the stock in Nicanor and who lost millions of dollars due to the Assignee’s actions. The Assignee happened to be a Chapter 11 Panel Trustee in the same court in which he filed bankruptcy on Nica’s behalf. In a series of stunning events, Ullrich’s claim against the Assignee was taken away from him as “derivative,” and the Chapter 7 Trustee promptly settled that multi-million dollar claim for a mere $50,000.00, letting the Assignee off the hook. On behalf of his client, Irwin appealed, challenging the Assignee’s authority to file the bankruptcy case in the first place. Deciding on an issue of first impression, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the Bankruptcy Court and held that an assignee acting pursuant to Florida’s ABC statute lacked the inherent authority to place the assignor into bankruptcy. As a result, the orders entered in the bankruptcy case filed by the Assignee were void ab initio, with the settlements reached therein and approved by the Bankruptcy Court subject to reversal.
Jasser v. Saadeh, 97 So.3d 241 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). In a significant decision, the Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that an Allegedly Incapacitated Person (“AIP”) in an involuntary incapacity case cannot settle the case prior to a determination of capacity and that the appointment of a Temporary Guardian strips the AIP of his legal right to enter into a settlement agreement. Karim Saadeh was an elderly widower who alarmed his children when he decided to remarry. His children decided to hire a lawyer and have him found incapacitated. After court proceedings, an Emergency Temporary Guardian was appointed. Saadeh was an immigrant from the Middle East and was unfamiliar and intimidated by the court processes. In order to “settle” the litigation, Saadeh agreed to sign a Revocable Trust in which his three children would control the Trust. He unwittingly signed an Irrevocable Trust. The Trust he signed was plainly labeled “Revocable Trust,” but a reading revealed Saadeh could not revoke it himself. All of his property was transferred to the Trust resulting in exposure to massive gift taxes. At trial, Irwin succeeded in having the Trust found void ab initioand also recovered the legal fees his children’s lawyers took from the Trust.
Saadeh v. Connors, Meyer, Barfield and Noble,166 So.3d 959 (Fla. 4th DCA 2015). On behalf of his client, Karim Saadeh, Irwin sued those responsible for tricking him into signing an irrevocable trust. In this case brought upon the “wrongful act doctrine,” Irwin sought to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees his client incurred in getting the trust dissolved. One of the defendants was the attorney for the Emergency Temporary Guardian. Saadeh sued on the theory that even though she was not his attorney, she had a duty to act solely in his best interest, since he was a Ward of the Court. The trial court granted summary judgment dismissing the claims against this lawyer. On appeal, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed. In a case of first impression, that court held that the Guardian’s attorney owed a duty of care to Saadeh, and that a breach of that duty would present a viable claim.
Jasser, Mamone and Lycke v. Saadeh,91 So.3d 883 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012). Karim Saadeh loaned a large sum to Jasser, Mamone, and Lycke who intended to use loan proceeds to purchase an investment property. Repayment of the note was due after the property was sold. The Note did not contain a maturity date. The borrowers argued that the note was not silent as to maturity because the note provided for payment when the house was sold. The trial court granted judgment to our client, finding the Note was effectively “due on demand.” The District Court of Appeals affirmed, adding a finding that the Pre-Trial Stipulation stated “By operation of law the Note was due on Demand.”
In re Dack,101 Misc.2d 490 (NY 1979). Dack was a Police Officer who was in a gun battle with a suspect in an alley just 40 feet apart. Although suffering a head wound, Dack was able to return fire and kill his assailant. The morning newspaper reported that “witnesses to the shooting” told reporters that Dack executed the suspect at point blank range as he lay on the ground. However, there were no witnesses to the shooting in an alley in the middle of the night. It is believed that the reporters either made up the story or they recklessly disregarded the truth. In pre-suit discovery, Irwin deposed the two reporters, who then refused to answer questions based upon New York’s Shield law, which protects the confidentiality of a reporter’s sources. Irwin succeeded in convincing the court that, under the circumstances of allegedly speaking to witnesses in the crowd of people that formed after the shooting was over, there would be no expectation of confidentiality. This case was cited by prosecutor “Jack McCoy” in an episode of TV’s “Law & Order.”
Nick v. MPG Capital Corp.,56 N.Y.2d 515 (1982). Irwin represented Norman Nick, a securities salesman employed by MPG Capital Corp. Nick sought to arbitrate his compensation dispute under the NASD Code. In this precedent setting case, the New York Court of Appeals (its highest court) reversed the Appellate Division and ruled that because MPG was a member of the NASD and the NASD required its members to arbitrate disputes, arbitration was mandatory even though it was not a term of Nick’s employment.
Three Keys, Ltd. v. Kennedy Funding, Inc., 36 So.3d 656 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010). Three Keys, Ltd., was owned by Richard Basciano, infamous for his title of the “Porn King of Times Square.” Three Keys and Kennedy Funding jointly loaned more than $16 Million to a developer in Ft. Myers who defaulted. Senior lender Kennedy Funding went about the task of liquidating real property assets. Under the terms of an inter-creditor agreement, Kennedy Funding was entitled to recover all its expenses, loan principal, and interest before any payment was due to Three Keys. Despite a complete lack of evidence that Kennedy Funding had breached any duty to Three Keys, a jury awarded the company $5,345,000.00. The trial court set aside the verdict. Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals affirmed in a lengthy decision. The decision turned on the scope of duty under the “good faith and fair dealing” doctrine when the contract grants one party total discretion in determining how to deal with the liquidation of assets.
Trade Secret Litigation:
Pollio Dairy Products, Inc. v. Sorrento Cheese Company. This case began with accusations of theft of trade secrets pertaining to the mass production of ricotta cheese, but spun into accusations of perjured testimony and judicial corruption. Pollio won a bench trial, dealing a massive blow to Sorrento. However, post-verdict, three critical witnesses for the Plaintiff disavowed their trial testimony claiming they had been coerced. Post-trial investigation also revealed that the Trial Judge’s Law Clerk conducted business with the Plaintiff.
Argus Photonics Group, Inc. v. Dickenson and Panametrics, Inc., 841 So.2d 598 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). In this case Irwin succeeded in having the Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal reverse the Florida Supreme Court. The Florida Supreme Court had ruled that factual disputes could not be tried in declaratory judgment cases. The Fourth District Court of Appeal held that, in appropriate circumstances, courts could resolve factual disputes necessary to reaching declaratory judgment. Argus sued Dickenson and Panametrics for $100 Million, alleging theft of trade secrets pertaining to a unique surgical laser system. Two engineers employed by Argus jumped ship despite non-compete agreements and went to work for Panametrics, a subsidiary of General Electric. In a separate suit, which reached trial first, Panametrics and its engineers sued for declaratory judgment claiming that Argus failed to protect trade secrets and thus lacked a legitimate business interest necessary to enforce its non-compete agreements. Careful pre-trial investigation revealed that Argus had repeatedly disclosed its trade secrets to potential buyers and investors without obtaining confidentiality agreements. Panametrics strategy of a pre-emptive strike resulted in a win in both cases. Antitrust:
Gemini Chemical v. Edmer Sanitary Supply Company, Inc. U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York. Two salesman for Edmer, a sanitary supply company, resigned and formed a competing company. With knowledge of Edmer’s customers and prices, they quickly undercut Edmer and began to take away its customers. Edmer retaliated by offering those customers even greater discounts. In this case brought under The Robinson-Patman Act, Gemini sued for damages and injunction based upon the Robinson-Patman’s prohibition against undercutting new entrants in the marketplace. We represented Edmer and won a trial dismissal. Prior to trial, we had made a Motion for Summary Judgment that was denied based upon the plaintiff’s expert witness affidavit. At trial, we had the opportunity to cross-examine that expert. After some two hours of cross-exam, the court interrupted and took over the questioning, reversed itself, and granted our Motion for Summary Judgment.
Body Worx, LLC v. Basic Research,S. District Court, Western District of Texas. An anti-trust and price fixing conspiracy case. Our Motion to Dismiss was granted even though our client sent emails which seemed to admit their efforts to ‘fix’ the price of its product on the internet. How do you defend a client that has left a paper trail showing it plainly attempted to set the price of a retail product by threatening and cajoling a distributor? By arguing that the attempts failed, no price discipline was ever accomplished, and that there is no such thing as attempted anti-trust.
Frivolous Lawsuit Demise Greatly Exaggerated in Palm Beach County, Palm Beach Post, August 20, 2017
Appeals Court Reverses Self in Real Estate Case That Spawned 8 Amicus Briefs, Daily Business Review, February 7, 2017
Newsmakers: People in Palm Beach County Business, Civic Life, Palm Beach Post, August 7, 2016
Appointed Chairman of The Florida Bar’s Business Litigation Committee, Legal Learning Series, July 5, 2016
Appointed Chairman of The Florida Bar’s Business Litigation Committee, Attorney at Law Magazine, July 5, 2016
Appointed Chairman of The Florida Bar’s Business Litigation Committee, CityBizList South Florida, July 5, 2016
Trial Pros: Irwin Gilbert, Law360, June 24, 2016
Special Report: New Partners, Daily Business Review, March 31, 2016
Statewide Business: Firm Shifts Into High-Growth Mode, South Florida Legal Guide, January 2016
Publications/Teaching & Speaking Engagements
Contributor, LexisNexis Practice Guide: Florida Business Torts, Danvars, Mass.: Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., 2013
Defending Mass Shooting Cases-The New Normal: Liability for Mass Incidents in the Present and Near Future, June 2018
Surviving Litigation without Breaking the Bank, May 2018
Active Shooting & Liability Coverage, January 2018
Legal Strategies for the Construction Industry, July 2016
Columbia University School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2006
American University, Bachelor of Science, 2000
Massachusetts Bar, 2006
District of Columbia Bar, 2007
United States District Court for the District of Columbia, 2007
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 2009
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2010
District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, 2013
Eric Hager is a partner in the Firm’s Quito, Ecuador office. His practice includes transnational litigation, appeals, commercial fraud & forensic recovery, securities & financial regulatory litigation, consumer finance litigation, general civil litigation, appeals, land use litigation, securities & financial regulatory litigation and trust litigation.
Mr. Hager’s experience in complex litigation is varied. He has played key roles in diverse matters in a number of state and federal courts throughout the country and has managed multinational teams on difficult e-discovery and other discovery projects. Mr. Hager has also led or participated in appeals in multiple state and federal courts. He has worked closely with experts on foreign law from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru. Mr. Hager has drafted successful requests for discovery in relation to foreign legal proceedings under 28 U.S.C. § 1782, which is a statute allowing litigants to obtain discovery related to foreign legal proceedings using the assistance of U.S. courts. In addition, he provides the firm’s Latin American clients with assistance in cross-border litigation and transactions.
Mr. Hager has experience briefing a wide range of complicated legal issues. Representative issues include choice of law, including between foreign and U.S. law; international comity, forum non conveniens, and other defenses common to transnational litigation; statutory construction of state, federal, and foreign statutes; removal from federal court and remand to state court; the intersection of state property law and federal tax law; standing and capacity to sue; issue and claim preclusion; tolling of the statute of limitations and other timeliness issues; and procedural issues associated with a variety of pre-trial motions, including motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, discovery motions, and motions in limine.
Prior to focusing on commercial litigation and appeals, Mr. Hager spent over six years primarily representing the firm’s clients seeking to hold multinational corporations accountable for human rights abuses. In that role, he took and defended depositions abroad and in the U.S., obtained a reversal on a key issue from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, briefed numerous other appeals, argued pre-trial motions before state and federal courts, and led discovery-related and other field work in remote regions of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.
Before joining the Firm in 2009, he practiced as a commercial litigator, primarily working on consumer financial services matters in the Washington, D.C. office of a large national firm.
Mr. Hager is fluent in Spanish, resides in Quito, Ecuador, and has traveled extensively throughout the South American Andean region on business.
Columbia University School of Law, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
Columbia University Journal of Environmental Law, Articles Editor
Fulbright Scholar, Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program, September 2002 to May 2003
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, Juris Doctor, 2002
State University of New York College at Geneseo, Bachelor of Science, 1999
Florida Bar, 2003
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2004
United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2004
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2004
Jessica Kopas is a partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Ms. Kopas focuses her practice on commercial litigation, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights.
Over the course of her practice, Ms. Kopas has advocated the interests of her clients – including Fortune 500 companies – in a wide variety of disputes in and out of court. She has appeared before state, federal district and federal bankruptcy courts in Florida. She also has participated in mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution, including accomplishing complex settlement agreements as alternatives to trial.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Kopas worked for several commercial litigation firms in South Florida, where she litigated large, complex commercial cases as well as adversarial bankruptcy proceedings.
Bankruptcy Bar Association for the Southern District of Florida, Member, 2004 to present
Broward County Bar Association, Member, 2003 to present
Defense Research Institute (DRI), Member commercial litigation committee and women in the law committee, 2014-present
Assisted in the representation of a diverse group of plaintiffs seeking recovery of over $225 million in investor losses resulting from a billion-dollar structured settlement Ponzi scheme. This nationally publicized case focused on Toronto Dominion Bank’s (TD Bank) role in facilitating this criminal enterprise asserting novel claims that the Bank willfully aided and abetted the Ponzi fraud. After months of litigation, the matter was resolved through settlement resulting in our clients receiving the highest percentage recovery for victims entangled in a Ponzi scheme.
Assisted with the representation of the wife and children of a well-known missing entrepreneur and philanthropist in a dispute with other family members. This Broward County Probate Court case involved legal issues of the highest complexity involving the absentee’s estate, including property rights related to the absentee’s extensive personal property and real estate holdings across the globe.
Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, Moot Court Honor Society,2000 to 2001
Paul R. Larkin, Jr. is a partner in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. His commercial litigation practice encompasses the areas of product liability, medical malpractice, health care law and tobacco litigation. Mr. Larkin has been rated AV Preeminent® by Martindale-Hubbell® since 1975.
Broward County Bar Association, Member, 2000 to present
American Bar Association, Member, 1955 to present
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, since 1975
University of Miami School of Law, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 2010
University of California at Berkeley, Bachelor of Arts
Florida Bar, 2010
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida
Russell O’Brien is a Partner in the Firm’s Fort Lauderdale office and concentrates his practice on contract disputes, securities litigation, fraud (misrepresentation, inducement, transfers, aiding and abetting and conspiracy), fiduciary relationships and business torts, shareholder disputes (direct and derivative), and class action defense. He also has experience in admiralty law, including vessel acquisitions and sales, vessel refurbishment and repair, vessel charter, and foreclosing and defending against necessaries liens and first preferred ship mortgages.
Russell is the Firm’s Administrative Partner and manages the Firm’s eDiscovery department. He regularly advises corporate clients regarding eDiscovery planning and protocols, e-Retention, and litigation concerning eDiscovery disputes.
Russell has represented Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and individuals in both jury and bench trials, and has wide-ranging courtroom experience in both state and federal court. Prior to joining Conrad & Scherer, Mr. O’Brien practiced at an AM 100 law firm, primarily representing financial institutions in class action litigation.
Broward County Bar Association
17th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee Member, since 2018
Represented jet engine manufacturer in breach of lease claim and obtained prejudgment writ of attachment on commercial aircraft
Appeared before SEC for extensive attorney proffers and client interview in connection with violations of Rule 10b of the Exchange Act
Represented company in jury trial for breach of yacht charter management agreement and fines incurred while yacht was in French waters
Represented South American business and individuals in cross-border dispute, including challenges to personal jurisdiction and service of process issues under Peruvian law
Defended multiple insurance companies in class actions in connection with Florida’s No-Fault insurance statute, including negotiating settlement, final fairness hearings, and issues regarding notice to class members
Third Party Insurance Defense, General Liability & Coverage
Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law School, JD, 1996
State University of New York at Albany, BS, 1989
United States District Court, Southern District of Florida
United States District Court, Middle District of Florida
Steven Osber is a senior partner at Conrad & Scherer’s Fort Lauderdale office with a practice concentrating primarily on commercial and business litigation. Mr. Osber’s case representation ranges from routine litigation matters and third party insurance litigation to highly complex litigation including partnership/shareholder disputes, commercial eviction matters, real estate litigation and construction litigation.
In addition to his extensive experience in commercial litigation and construction related litigation, Mr. Osber has handled a number of significant cases representing businesses in a variety of cases involved sophisticated legal issues through trial and obtained successful results for his clients. Mr. Osber is also valued as a contributing litigator in the firm’s labor and employment cases. He also serves as outside general counsel advising various businesses on day to day legal matters.
Mr. Osber’s expansive litigation experience includes more than 100 state and federal jury and non-jury trials, as well as extensive binding arbitration experience. He is also proficient in appellate cases, having prepared appellate briefs on a variety of matters, argued before various appellate tribunals, and has obtained favorable opinions in the appellate courts throughout the State of Florida. He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, which indicates a demonstration of the highest professional and ethical standards and is the highest rating a lawyer can receive. He has also been recognized as a top lawyer in the South Florida Legal Guide in 2011, and from 2014 to present day.
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
South Florida Legal Guide – Recognized as a Top Lawyer – 2011, 2014 – 2019
Florida A&M University College of Law, Juris Doctor, 2012
State University of New York at Purchase College, Bachelor of Arts, Economics, magna cum laude, 2009
Florida Bar, 2013
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2016
Farheen is an Associate who began her career focusing on Mortgage Foreclosure Litigation and assisting banks, creditors and lenders with regulatory, enforcement, transactional and litigation matters. Farheen obtained extensive experience in consumer finance, creditors’ rights and real estate litigation as both an Attorney and a litigation paralegal prior to joining Conrad & Scherer LLP.
Over the years, Farheen has gained significant trial experience as both lead trial counsel and second chair. She currently holds a Board position with the South Asian Bar Association of Florida.
Farheen earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, magna cum laude, from State University of New York at Purchase College. She then went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from Florida A&M University College of Law. During law school, she was awarded the Best Overall Oral Advocate Award at the 8th Annual National Animal Law Moot Court Competition at Harvard Law.
She also worked as a Law Clerk for the National Aeronautics & Space Administration at the John F. Kennedy Space Center, and as an Intern for the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Division of Real Estate, appearing as a Qualified Representative to prosecute license violations before the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) and Florida Real Estate Appraisal Board (FREAB).
Farheen is fluent in Bengali, a Canadian citizen and barred in the Southern District of Florida, United States District Court.
Third Party Insurance Defense, General Liability & Coverage
Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1995
Providence College, Bachelor of Arts, 1992, cum laude
Florida Bar, 1996
New York Bar, 1996
Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 2001
Supreme Court of United States, 2004
Janine Kalagher McGuire is a senior associate in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Mrs. McGuire provides key appellate and litigation support for the firm’s diverse clientele throughout all stages of litigation.
Having extensive insight as to appellate issues and process, Mrs. McGuire works closely with the firm’s litigation teams during the trial court stages to ensure that appellate rights are preserved with a proper and compelling record should an appeal be necessary.
Mrs. McGuire has practiced within many areas of law in addition to appellate practice, including health care, medical malpractice, professional liability, governmental and administrative law and complex commercial litigation. In particular, Mrs. McGuire’s experience in health care law includes managed care, risk management, medical staff/peer review, employment, and medical malpractice litigation.
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Church and School, Board of Trustees, 2013
Broward County Bar Association, Member, 1996 to present
Omicron Delta Epsilon, Member, 1992 to present
Rohart v. Phoenix Emergency Med. of Broward, L.L.C., 41 So. 3d 410 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010)(PCA); Rohart v. N. Broward Hosp. Dist., 45 So. 3d 461 (Fla. 2010)(Petition for review dismissed); Rohart v. N. Broward Hosp. Dist., 131 S. Ct. 1570, 179 L. Ed. 2d 473 (2011)(Petition for writ of certiorari denied). Successfully defended a large governmental entity in several appeals filed by a former employee claiming tortious interference with a business relationship, denial of due process, and denial of equal protection.
Padilla v. N. Broward Hosp. Dist., 270 F. App’x 966 (11th Cir. 2008). Successfully defended a large governmental entity in an appeal filed in the United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, by a former employee claiming discrimination in violation of Title VII and the Florida Civil Rights Act.
Marmorstein v. Wallach, 993 So. 2d 535 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2008)(PCA). Successfully defended the appeal of an order dismissing a complaint with prejudice which sought to obtain a $1.7 million commission on a purported viatical settlement contract that failed to disclose the amount and method of calculating the commission as required by Florida law.
City of Lauderhill v. Rhames, 864 So. 2d 432 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). Appealed a judgment against a municipal corporation in a § 1983 action brought by several employees alleging violations of their substantive due process rights as the result of a department wide reorganization that eliminated their supervisory positions.
Listed in South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyers”, 2013 and 2014
Listed in South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Up and Comers”, 2010 to 2012
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Law School, Juris Doctor, 2001
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Bachelor of Arts, 1998
Florida Bar, 2001
North Carolina Bar, 2012
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2003
United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, 2003
Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2016
Candace A. Mance is a senior associate in the firm’s Brevard office. Ms. Mance is an experienced litigator and focuses her practice on commercial litigation, class action litigation and business torts.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Mance practiced in South Florida representing corporate clients and several Fortune 500 companies in a variety of commercial matters and insurance litigation in state and federal court as well as in administrative proceedings.
Asheville Chambers of Commerce – 2019 to present
Transylvania County Bar Member – 2015 to present
Member Transylvania County Homeless Coalition 2012-2015
Member of Western North Carolina Advanced Care Coalition 2013-2015
Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyer – 2015 to 2018
Frequent Presenter to the Buncombe County Re-Entry Council
University of Florida Levin College of Law, Juris Doctor May 2014
University of Central Florida, Bachelor of Science, December 2010
Florida Bar, October 2014
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, July 2015
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, December 2017
Jimmy W. Mintz is an Associate in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office, where he focuses on complex commercial litigation. Before joining Conrad & Scherer, Mr. Mintz worked in the complex litigation unit of a multi-state law firm, where he assisted clients in litigation relating to financial fraud, healthcare-related fraud, corporate proxies, misappropriation of trade secrets, a collapsed Ponzi scheme and class action arbitration, among other business disputes.
In some of these cases, Mr. Mintz represented publicly-traded and multinational companies. Mr. Mintz has worked on numerous appeals, both at the state and federal level, and he offers experience assisting jury trials.
Georgetown University, Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, 2008
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin
U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin
Patrick O’Neill is an Associate Attorney in the firm’s Ecuador office. He assists the firm’s U.S.-based litigation practice, and his own practice areas include securities litigation, class action litigation, general commercial litigation and appellate practice.
Mr. O’Neill has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in various venues throughout the United States. In particular, he has helped dozens of defrauded investors recover their losses through FINRA arbitrations, brought class actions against major financial firms in state and federal courts, and represented companies of all sizes – from small businesses to multinational corporations – in all manners of litigation. His engaging personality and common-sense approach to problem solving allow him to achieve quick and favorable results for his clients.
Prior to joining Conrad & Scherer, Mr. O’Neill worked for a mid-sized law firm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his practice focused in plaintiff-side securities fraud cases.
Columbia University School of Law, Juris Doctorate, 2011
University of Florida, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (Economics), 2006
Florida Bar, 2018
New York Bar, 2017
Sylvie Rampal is an Associate in the Fort Lauderdale office, where she concentrates her practice on complex commercial litigation.
Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Rampal worked in various capacities in the business and legal industry in Florida, New York, and London, England. While working at an AM Law 100 law firm, Ms. Rampal assisted with liability and compliance issues related to Brownfield Redevelopment as well as reinsurance litigation matters.
Ms. Rampal assisted with e-discovery disputes, securities litigation, and SEC regulatory compliance reviews for a business advisory firm. Ms. Rampal also has significant experience working at not-for-profit legal centers, handling matters in immigration, domestic violence, and poverty law.
Ms. Rampal’s experience in law, finance, and economics intersected while working for a public benefit corporation, where she assisted with legal and financing issues related to joint ventures between the City of New York and private developers that increased the public and affordable housing stock in New York City.
In addition, Ms. Rampal has extensive experience in public policy research for quasi-governmental agencies, policymakers, and an economic think tank. Specifically, while at the New York City Housing Development Corporation, she undertook research on housing, economic, and public finance matters. Relatedly, while at the Adam Smith Institute, she undertook research on economic and tax policy issues.
Outside of the law, Ms. Rampal has a passion for prosocial projects and service. Ms. Rampal regularly volunteers for a homeless outreach project at her church and has recently gone on a mission trip to Jojutla, Mexico.
University of Florida, Presidential Scholar
Columbia University, The American Review of International Arbitration, Staff Editor
Stetson University School of Business Administration, M.B.A., 2017
University of Florida Heavener School of Business, BSBA – Finance with a minor in Entrepreneurship, 2014.
Florida Bar, 2017
John Rodstrom is an associate in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office, where he assists partners and senior associates in a variety of complex commercial litigation matters.
While in law school, Mr. Rodstrom worked as a Summer Associate for the firm and earned his Master of Business Administration through a joint degree program at Stetson University. This gives Mr. Rodstrom a unique background and perspective when it comes to business and securities-related litigation.
During his time at the University of Florida, Mr. Rodstrom was extensively engaged in local affairs. In particular, he worked as the Campaign Manager for a Gainesville City Commission Candidate, and he was the youngest person ever to sit on a non-student city advisory board while serving a six-year term on the Gainesville Enterprise Zone Development Agency.
Mr. Rodstrom also has an extensive background in the technology sector where he has owned his own business since 2007, working primarily as a graphic designer, web developer and network administrator.
University of Miami School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2013
East Carolina University, Bachelor of Arts, 2008
Florida Bar, 2013
Tyler Stull is an associate in the firm’s Brevard office, where he focuses his practice on commercial litigation, class action litigation and business torts. In addition, Mr. Stull handles labor and employment disputes on behalf of both individuals and businesses.
Mr. Stull began his career in 2013, where he worked for boutique firms handling commercial and employment litigation. Mr. Stull has served as lead counsel in both trials and arbitrations, and has broad experience in both the State and Federal Courts. Mr. Stull has been selected as a Super Lawyers Rising Star for the years 2016-2019.
Asheville Chambers of Commerce, Member, 2019 to present
Selected as Florida Super Lawyers® “Rising Star”, 2016-2019
University of Miami School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1994
University of Miami, Bachelor of Arts, 1991
Florida Bar, 1995
United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, 2011
United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2008
United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 1996
District of Columbia, 2010
William R. Scherer, III serves as Of Counsel in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office. Mr. Scherer focuses his practice on commercial and employment litigation, and personal injury. After more than 20 years of practice, he has gained experience in all phases of civil litigation, including jury trials, and has been AV Preeminent Peer Rated by Martingale-Hubbell since 2005.
In the area of commercial litigation, Mr. Scherer has handled complex commercial cases including secondary banking liability claims against financial institutions for aiding and abetting fraud, mold litigation between commercial landlords and tenants, director and officer liability claims, trademark and copyright infringement, music royalty disputes and various other business tort and contract claims.
Mr. Scherer has also represented many employers and employees in disputes arising under federal and state labor and employment statutes, including Title VII, Family and Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida Civil Rights Act. He has initiated and defended charges of discrimination before the Equal employment Opportunity Commission and often interprets, drafts and negotiates employment and severance agreements on behalf of employees joining or leaving company employment.
In addition to commercial and employment litigation, Mr. Scherer has litigated personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from automobile and motorcycle accidents as well as other circumstances where individuals have been injured.
Outside of the practice of law, Mr. Scherer is the father of two children, an accomplished musician and a martial arts student, currently holding a second-degree black-belt in Karate.
Russell v. N. Broward Hospital, 346 F.3d 1335 (11th Cir. 2003)
The Broward Times, Inc. v. North Broward Hospital District, Case No. 04-61563 (S.D. Fla.)
Stevens Weiss v. Atlantic Recording Corporation, Case No. 04-60910 (S.D. Fla.)
AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, since 2005
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Attorney at Law (Juris Doctor equivalent), 2003
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Bachelor in Arts, 2001
Ecuador Bar, 2003
Of Counsel, not licensed in the United States
David Garcés is an Ecuadorian attorney in the firm’s Quito office. He focuses his practice on advising U.S. and Latin American clients on international negotiations, mergers & acquisitions, cross-border litigation, family law matters and real estate transactions. He has experience in corporate law, transactions, mergers & acquisitions, real estate, e-commerce, family law, probate and international law. Mr. Garcés regularly advises Ecuadorian and international clients on Ecuadorian and international family law, probate and real estate issues. In addition, he serves as an expert on Ecuadorian law, providing declarations used in federal court litigation.