Trust & Probate Litigation

Conrad & Scherer’s trust and probate litigation practice provides representation for family members, personal representatives of estates and other interested persons in connection with disputes arising over wills and trust agreements, including wills that are contested for such reasons as competency or undue influence. In addition, we offer such related services as will and trust construction, identification and determination of beneficiaries, and matters involving guardianships and conservatorships.

  • ERIC J. HAGER
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    ERIC J. HAGER
    Partner
    ERIC J. HAGER
    EDUCATION
    • Columbia University School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2006
    • American University, Bachelor of Science, 2000
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • 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
    BIOGRAPHY:

    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.

    Awards/Recognitions
    • 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
  • JESSICA L. KOPAS
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    JESSICA L. KOPAS
    Partner
    JESSICA L. KOPAS
    EDUCATION
    • Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center, Juris Doctor, 2002
    • State University of New York College at Geneseo, Bachelor of Science, 1999
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • 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
    BIOGRAPHY:

    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.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • 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
    Significant Matters/Cases
    • 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.
    Awards/Recognitions
    • Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center, Moot Court Honor Society,2000 to 2001
  • RUSSELL R. O’BRIEN
    AREAS OF PRACTICE
    BIO
    RUSSELL R. O’BRIEN
    Partner
    RUSSELL R. O’BRIEN
    EDUCATION
    • University of Miami School of Law, Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, 2010
    • University of California at Berkeley, Bachelor of Arts
    BAR ADMISSIONS
    • Florida Bar, 2010
    • United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida
    • United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida

     

    BIOGRAPHY:

    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.

    Community Involvement/Affiliations
    • Broward County Bar Association
    • 17th Judicial Circuit Grievance Committee Member, since 2018
    Notable Experience
    • 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
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn