Complex Civil Litigation

Complex Civil Litigation vs. Standard Civil Litigation
Civil litigation, also referred to as commercial litigation or business litigation, typically comes as a result of a conflict or dispute related to a company or its operations. These types of cases are usually brought against individuals, entities, or entire organizations who participated in, or aided and abetted illegal activities in order to reap some benefit or financial gain. This gain could be for an individual employee, a group of employees, or the entire organization.


However, a general business dispute may sometimes be labeled a complex business dispute. This circumstance usually arises when a particular case involves one or both of the following:


• Multiple parties – Complex business cases may, for example, involve contractors, bona fide employees, and subcontractors who may all be working on the same project. A complex business dispute could also involve officers, shareholders, and board members of an organization. Business disputes become increasingly complex when the number of factors involved grows, as is the case with multiple-party business litigation cases.

• Multiple venues – Multi-venue complex business litigation usually involves simultaneously litigating in both state and federal courts, for example. These cases may also involve those where a motion, or several motions, may have been filed in multiple different jurisdictions. Complex business disputes may have taken place in various locations, but they all involve the same underlying issue or conflict.


A business dispute can also be considered complex when it involves an extensive review of business records or highly technical accounting, financing, lending, insurance coverage, and tax issues. Financial experts may be needed to assist in analyzing and developing the case. A “complex case” is an action that requires exceptional judicial management to avoid placing unnecessary burdens on the court or the litigants and to expedite the case, keep costs reasonable, and promote effective decision-making by the court, the parties and counsel. It is important as an organization or business to ensure you and your team are aware of business law as it relates to your operations, so you can do as much as you can to avoid being involved in complex civil litigation.


Fort Lauderdale Complex Civil Litigation Litigators
Complex business disputes are inherently complicated. However, these cases do not need to be overwhelming, and in some cases, they may not even need to be fully litigated. It is very important to obtain legal counsel from a professional legal team with experience in complex civil litigation.

The professional team of business attorneys at Conrad & Scherer has been litigating complex civil cases for more than forty-five years in the greater South Florida region, including Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties. Our attorneys have helped the firm advocate for high-profile clients across the United States. Simply put, when one of our clients faces a complex business dispute, Conrad & Scherer’s dedicated team of litigators work together to tailor the strategic approach necessary to meet our client’s individual business objectives.


Types of Complex Civil Litigation Cases
While many business cases may begin simply, they can quickly become increasingly complex as more information is gathered and as more parties become involved. As business litigation cases transition from simple disputes to complex civil cases, it is critical to have experienced, knowledgeable legal representation to guide you through the complex civil litigation process. While the main two circumstances that drive a business dispute towards complex civil litigation are multiple parties and multiple venues, some additional factors that may give rise to complex litigation include:


• Complex factual situation
• Large damages and complex commercial injuries
• ‘Bet the Company’ cases
• Complex legal issues and unsettled areas of law


Many law firms are hesitant to take on complex civil litigation cases as they may require significant firm resources. However, Conrad & Scherer’s complex civil litigation attorneys have a consistent, historical track record litigating complex cases. In fact, complex civil litigation is one of Conrad & Scherer’s most formidable practice areas. Our team of highly qualified complex civil litigation attorneys incorporates decades of experience and knowledge into each case and diligently pursues the best possible outcome for each of our clients.

    Founder & Managing Partner
    • 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. Mr. Scherer served as General Counsel to the North Broward Hospital District, one of the largest public health care providers in the nation. 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.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • American Board of Trial Advocates, Member/“Advocate”
    • Broward Workshop, Board Member
    • Broward County Ethics Commission
    • City of Fort Lauderdale Downtown Development Authority, Board Member
    • Franklin College Board of Trustees
    • Judicial Nominating Commission for the Seventeenth Circuit, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Martinez, Governor Bush and Governor Scott)
    • Judicial Nominating Commission for the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush)
    • Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Interim General Counsel, Gubernatorial Appointee (Governor Bush)
    • Florida Lawyers for Bush, Statewide Co-Chair
    • Florida Lawyers for Bush, Broward and Palm Beach County Chair
    • Federal Bar, Grievance Panel for the Southern District of Florida
    • Florida Patient Compensation Fund, Board of Directors
    • Federal Bar Association, Broward County Chapter, Past President
    Significant Matters/Cases
    • In 2021 Mr. Scherer, co-counsel Cristina Pierson and Adam Moskowitz, led his team of attorneys and para-professionals in a class action lawsuit on behalf of 9,200 Fort Lauderdale businesses negatively affected by a punctured water main. Florida Communications Concepts (FCC), a Wellington-based company, was found 98% liable for drilling a 6-inch hole in a 42-inch water main at the Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.  The contractor could be forced to pay out tens of millions in damages.
    • 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
    • Listed in Super Lawyers®, “Super Lawyer”, 2006 – 2018, 2020 – 2022
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer in Commercial Litigation for The Best Lawyers in America©, 2018 – 2022
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer in Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Plaintiffs for The Best Lawyers in America©, 2022
    • Selected as a “Top Lawyer” by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine for Business Litigation & Commercial Litigation, 2021
    • Selected as a “Top Lawyer” by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine for Mass Tort Litigation & Class Action, 2020 – 2021
    • Listed in South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyer” for Commercial Litigation, 2006 – 2021
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in High-Stakes Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2021
    • Listed in Florida Trend’s Legal Elite, “Florida Legal Elite”, 2004, 2010, 2014 and 2020
    • Recognized as an “Apogee Award Honoree” by South Florida Business & Wealth, 2020
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in Complex Commercial Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2019 – 2020
    • Recognized as an “Ultimate CEO” by the South Florida Business Journal, 2013
    • Listed in VerdictSearch’s, “Top 100 Verdicts of 2005”, 2005
    • Recognized as “Most Effective Lawyer” by the Daily Business Review, 2005 and 2012
    • Profiled as a “Power Broker” by the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, 2002
    • Listed as one of “The 50 Most Powerful People in Broward County” by Gold Coast Magazine, 2002
    • Profiled as a “Political Power Broker” by Gold Coast Magazine, 2002
    Publications/Teaching & Speaking Engagements
    • C5’s 3rd Forum “Fraud, Asset Tracing and Recovery,” Miami Beach, Florida, Speaker, “Miami Vice—Unraveling the $1.2 Billion Rothstein Ponzi Scheme,” October 2012
    • American Board of Trial Advocates and the Fort Lauderdale Chapter of ABOTA “Masters In Opening Statements and Closing Arguments”, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Speaker, May 2011
    • BankAtlantic Attorney Seminar, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Speaker, “Unraveling a Ponzi Scheme,” October 2010
    • Boys and Girls Club of Broward County Men’s Luncheon, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Featured Speaker, “The Ponzi in its Aftermath,” April 2010
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Directors and Officers Face Liability – Check Your D&O Insurance Now, Smart Business – Broward/Palm Beach, April 2005 at 14.
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Vital Reforms – Why Everyone Needs to Pay Attention to Proposed Medicaid Reforms, Smart Business – Broward/Palm Beach, March 2005, at 24.
    • William R. Scherer, Jr., Medicaid Reform – A Call to Action, South Florida Hospital News, March 2005.
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Editorial, Recommended Reforms Must Pass in Session, South Fla. Sun Sentinel, June 16, 2003, at 21A.
    • William R. Scherer Jr., Sovereign Immunity in Indiana- Requiem 6 Ind. L. Rev. 92 (1972).
    Executive Partner
    • Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad law Center, Juris Doctor, 2004
    • University of Florida, M.E. Rinker School of Building Construction, Bachelor of Science, 2000
    • Florida Bar, 2004

    John Scherer is an Executive 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.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • Broward County Enterprise Zone Board, Board Member
    • City of Fort Lauderdale, Economic Advisory, Board Member
    • Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Council, Board Member
    • Florida Building Commission, Board Member, Governor Crist Appointee
    • Construction Association of South Florida
    • Board of Directors for Associated Builders and Contractors, Southeast FL Division, Director
    • Associated Builders and Contractors, Florida Chapter, Member
    • Unsafe Structures Board for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Board Member
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in High-Stakes Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2021
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in Complex Commercial Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2020
    • Named “Top 40 Under 40” by South Florida Business Journal, 2014
    • Named “Top 40 Professionals Under 40 – Broward County Rising Stars” by Gold Coast Magazine, 2009
    • Florida State University, College of Law, Juris Doctor, 2009
    • Georgetown University, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service, 2006
    • Florida, 2009


    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.

    • Business Development Board of Palm Beach, Member
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer: Ones To Watch in Commercial Litigation and Government Relations by The Best Lawyers in America©, 2021 – 2022
    • Recognized as a “Florida Legal Elite: Up & Comer” by Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite™, 2021
    • Selected as a “Top Lawyer” by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine for Government Relations Practice & Land Use and Zoning Law, 2021
    • Listed in South Florida Legal Guide as a “Top Up & Comer” for Commercial Litigation,  2020 – 2021
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in High-Stakes Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2021
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in Complex Commercial Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2020
    • Recognized by The Daily Business Review’s Florida Legal Awards: Professional Excellence for the “On The Rise” Category, 2019
    • Listed in Attorney At Law Magazine as a “Superstar”, 2018


    Senior Partner
    • University of Buffalo, John Lord O’Brien School of Law, Juris Doctor, 1977
    • University of Buffalo, Bachelor of Science, 1970
    • Florida, 1996
    • District of Columbia, 1980
    • New York, 1978
    • United States Supreme Court
    • 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, 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 civil litigation, general business litigation, construction defect litigation, class actions, trust & probate litigation and wrongful death. Practicing in State and Federal Courts in Florida and across the Country, Irwin represents Fortune 500 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.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • 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)
    Significant Matters/Cases
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Recognized by The Daily Business Review’s Florida Legal Awards: Professional Excellence for the “Best Mentor” Category, 2022
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer in Commercial Litigation by The Best Lawyers in America©, 2021 – 2022
    • Selected as a “Top Lawyer” by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine for Commercial Litigation & Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, 2021
    • Listed in South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyer” for Complex Business Litigation, 2021
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in Complex Commercial Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2020
    • Saves 3 Connected Real Estate Deals Totaling Nearly $7M Dollars, Palm Beach Post, 2020
    • 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 appellate, commercial litigation, securities & financial regulatory litigation, complex civil litigation, land use 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 represented a range of clients from the U.S. and abroad, including the former CEO of a publicly-traded company, small and mid-sized businesses, local governments and non-profit organizations. He has also led or participated in appeals in multiple state and federal courts.

    Mr. Hager has years of experience working with liability and damages experts in high-stakes commercial litigation. He has also worked closely with experts on foreign law from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru in order to file declarations from foreign law experts in U.S. courts. Mr. Hager has represented clients seeking and opposing 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. An example of a successful request for discovery under Section 1782, done in conjunction with local counsel, is reflected in the magistrate’s report from In re Solines, No. MC 18-3680, 2018 WL 2225134 (E.D. La. Apr. 30, 2018). Also, Mr. Hager has assisted clients with requests for international judicial assistance, commonly referred to as letters of request or letters rogatory. In addition, Mr. Hager 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 defenses to claims common to commercial litigation, such as claims for breach of contract, fraud, and tortious interference; choice of law, including between foreign and U.S. law; international comity, forum non conveniens, and other defenses typical in 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. Mr. Hager also has experience arguing motions on complex issues before state and federal courts.

    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, and led discovery-related and other field work in remote regions of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

    Mr. Hager is fluent in Spanish, resides in Quito, Ecuador, and has traveled extensively throughout South America’s Andean region on business.

    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in Complex Commercial Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2020
    • Columbia University School of Law, Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar
    • Columbia University Journal of Environmental Law, Articles Editor
    • Fulbright Scholar, Canada-U.S. Fulbright Program


    • University of Miami School of Law, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 2010
    • University of California at Berkeley, Bachelor of Arts, 2003
    • Florida Bar, 2010
    • United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida
    • 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, bank fraud, 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 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.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • Broward County Bar Association
    • 17th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee Member
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer: Ones To Watch in Commercial Litigation for The Best Lawyers in America©, 2021 – 2022
    • Recognized as a Best Lawyer: Ones To Watch in Litigation – Banking and Finance for The Best Lawyers in America©, 2022
    • Selected as a “Top Lawyer” by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine for Securities Regulation, 2021
    • Selected as a “Top Lawyer” by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine for Admiralty & Maritime Law, 2020 – 2021
    • Listed in South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Up & Comer” for Commercial Litigation, 2021
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in High-Stakes Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2021
    • Selected as Florida Super Lawyers®, “Rising Star”, 2020
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in Complex Commercial Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2020
    • Listed in Attorney At Law Magazine, “Rising Star”, 2018
    Notable Experience
    • Represented fortune 500 insurance company against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. for aiding and abetting fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with multi-million dollar insurance fraud scheme.
    • 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
    • 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


    Senior Partner
    • Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law School, JD, 1996
    • State University of New York at Albany, BS, 1989
    • Florida Bar
    • United States District Court, Southern District of Florida
    • United States District Court, Middle District of Florida
    • Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, 2021

    Steven H. 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 to highly complex civil litigation including partnership/shareholder disputes, commercial eviction matters 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.

    • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
    • Selected as a “Top Lawyer” by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine for Business Litigation & Commercial Litigation, 2021
    • Recognized by the South Florida Legal Guide, “Top Lawyer” for Complex Business Litigation, 2011, 2014 – 2021
    • Listed as one of the “FACES of Fort Lauderdale” in Complex Commercial Litigation by Fort Lauderdale Illustrated Magazine, 2020
    • University of Florida Levin College of Law, J.D., cum laude, 2018
    • Florida Atlantic University, B.A., cum laude, 2014
    • Florida Bar, 2018
    • District of Columbia Bar, 2021


    Michael J. Mariani 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.

    Prior to joining the firm, Michael spent the first three years of his legal career at a boutique securities litigation firm in Tampa, Florida, where he represented broker-dealers, registered investment advisors, and their associated persons in all phases of FINRA arbitration relating to customer disputes involving alleged violations of federal securities laws, unsuitability, unauthorized trading, churning, overconcentration, and unauthorized margin borrowing. Michael also counseled businesses and individuals during DOJ, SEC, and CFTC investigations and enforcement proceedings.

    Michael obtained his law degree cum laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law where he was a member of the Florida Moot Court Team. While in law school, Michael interned for the Honorable William P. Dimitrouleas, United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. As a 2L, Michael was selected to compete in the 31st Annual Zimmerman Kiser Sutcliffe Final Four Moot Court Competition in front of a panel of federal and state judges where he was awarded both Best Overall and Best Oralist.

    In addition to serving as the Internal Vice-President and Chair for Intermural Competitions for the Florida Moot Court Team, Michael also competed in several competitions including the National Moot Court Competition hosted by the New York City Bar where his team made the final four and finished with the second-highest brief score in the region. For his contributions to the team, Michael was awarded the William C. Gaither Memorial Award as a 2L and was inducted into the Order of Barristers as a 3L.

    As a 3L, Michael was selected to compete in the prestigious Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot. Prior to competing in the preliminary rounds in Vienna, Austria, the team traveled to Paris, France to compete in various pre-moots including the International Chamber of Commerce Vis Pre-Moot where his team finished 1st Place beating out 24 other teams including Columbia University and University of Cambridge. Michael graduated cum laude from Florida Atlantic University with a degree in Criminal Justice.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • Federal Bar Association, Broward Chapter, Board of Directors – Present
    • Broward County Bar Association – Present
    • University of Florida Levin College of Law – Dean’s List Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Fall 2017
    • Best Overall, 31stAnnual ZKS Final Four Moot Court Competition
    • Best Oralist, 31stAnnual ZKS Final Four Moot Court Competition
    • Order of Barristers
    • William C. Gaither Memorial Award, Florida Moot Court Team
    • Runner-Up Best Brief, 2016 National Moot Court Competition, Regionals
    • 1stPlace Team, ICC Vis Pre-Moot, Paris
    • 2ndPlace Team, DLA Piper Vis Pre-Moot, Paris
    • 2ndPlace Team, Richard DeWitt Memorial Vis Pre-Moot, Miami
    • Book Award, Legal Drafting


    • Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M. in National Security Law, 2016
    • The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, J.D., 2015
    • The Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, 2013
    • Boston University, M.A. in International Affairs and Intelligence Studies, 2011
    • Boston University, B.A. in International Relations, 2008
    • North Carolina, 2022
    • New York, 2021
    • District of Columbia, 2021
    • Maryland, 2020
    • Registered Immigration Counsel with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and Executive Office for Immigration Review


    Angelica Zolnierowicz is an Associate in the firm’s Fort Lauderdale office where she assists partners and senior associates on a variety of complex commercial litigation matters.

    Ms. Zolnierowicz earned her Master of Laws from Georgetown University Law Center and her Juris Doctorate from The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law. She attended Boston University, where she obtained her Master and Bachelor degrees in International Affairs.

    While studying at Georgetown, Ms. Zolnierowicz was selected by the Department of Defense to represent Georgetown Law Center at the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as a Department of Defense (DoD) Military Commission Observer. As a DoD observer of this select program, she saw live hearings of defendants charged in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks from the U.S. Military Base courtroom.

    While in law school, Ms. Zolnierowicz worked for the New York State Office of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, The World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency, and Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. Ms. Zolnierowicz has experience working with two prominent law firms in Warsaw, Poland. She also worked on numerous litigation matters, both in the private and government sector.

    Ms. Zolnierowicz has a keen interest in blockchain technologies and criminal securities fraud. While working for a large Washington, DC law firm, she was an invited panelist speaker for multiple cryptocurrency and blockchain conferences. Ms. Zolnierowicz is best able to service her clients through a myriad of spoken languages, such as English (native), Polish (fluent), French (proficient), Spanish (proficient), Czech (intermediate), Ukrainian (intermediate), Russian (basic).

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • Editor of Georgetown’s Journal of National Security Law and Policy – Georgetown University Law Center, LL.M.
    • Presiding Judge for Federal White Collar Crime Invitational Tournaments – Georgetown University Law Center
    • Vice-President of The Women’s Law Caucus – The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law
    • Dean’s List – Georgetown University Law Center, 2016
    • Recipient of American Council for Polish Culture Scholarship – The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, 2015
    • Exceptional Pro Bono Service Hour Certificate – The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law, 2015
    • Dean’s List – Boston University, M.A., 2011
    • Recipient of Polish and Slavic Federal Credit Union Excellence Award – Boston University, M.A., 2011
    • Dean’s List – Boston University, B.A., 2008
    • English (native)
    • Polish (fluent)
    • French (proficient)
    • Spanish (proficient)
    • Czech (intermediate)
    • Ukrainian (intermediate)
    • Russian (basic)