On the Pulse…Orlando Office Profile

Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017

By Bradley P. Blystone, Esq.*

Sitting in the heart of Central Florida, Orlando is a growing and vibrant metropolitan area known as “The City Beautiful.” With its combination of year-round sunny weather and theme parks, it attracts 51 million tourists each year, making it the most visited city in the country. Apart from visitors, it is also one of the fasting growing cities in the U.S. for permanent residents due to its business, cultural and educational environments. The population for the greater Orlando metropolitan area now stands at 2.13 million, which is the 6th largest in the Southeast U.S. It’s home to three major theme parks, three hospital systems, three professional sports teams, numerous national sporting events, a renowned performing art center, a major restaurant chain, one of the country’s largest supermarket chains, numerous colleges and universities, high tech industries and defense contractors.

The recent tragedy at the Pulse nightclub shows the true character of the Orlando community. Everyone responded to help those in need—people from every ethnic/cultural background, religious organizations, law enforcement, health care providers and government leaders. Among its many accolades, Orlando is now also known as a model of community spirit.

Situated just blocks from the courthouse in downtown Orlando, our office is able to efficiently litigate and try cases. This proximity allows our attorneys to establish familiarity with court personnel and obtain the best results for our clients. Since our office was established in 2003, our attorneys have built a reputation for defending our clients with passion and purpose. Moreover, our team of talented and diverse lawyers are known across the board by the courts for their level of preparation, attention to detail and professionalism.

The office’s largest practice group is its health care liability section, which is comprised of shareholder Janice Merrill and me, as well as associates Andrea Diederich, Chanel Mosley and David Bear.

My practice focuses on acute care institutions. For over 23 years, I have represented one of the largest hospital systems, which houses the only Level I trauma center in the Central Florida area and is a teaching institution with nine residency programs. Over this time, I have successfully defended numerous physicians and nurses in cases ranging from emergency room care to pediatric cardiac surgery. I am among the foremost legal authorities in the state on Florida’s Birth-Related Neurological Compensation Act, having successfully litigated numerous brain injury baby cases without any payment by my clients. In addition to health care, I have defended the area’s largest theme park over the past 20 years in numerous personal injury lawsuits.

Janice Merrill heads up the long-term care section of Orlando’s health care liability practice. A passionate litigator, Janice has defended long-term care institutions and acute care providers throughout Central Florida and has achieved numerous defense verdicts and arbitration victories. Her skills as a trial attorney are not just limited to health care cases. Janice also has trial wins in the fields of product liability and premises liability litigation.

Associates Andrea Diederich, Chanel Mosley and David Bear are exceptionally talented attorneys who comprise the rest of the health care liability group. Andrea handles all varieties of medical negligence and casualty cases and has developed a niche specialty defending institutions that treat minor victims of sexual trauma. Chanel, likewise, specializes in the same areas. Chanel is well recognized for her volunteer bar activities, having served four years on the Board of Directors for the Young Lawyers Section of the Orange County Bar, and she is recognized as a Florida Legal Elite “Up and Comer.” David Bear has developed an active insurance coverage practice in addition to his medical negligence defense work. He was also recently appointed by Florida Governor, Rick Scott, to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the 18th Judicial District of Florida.

The office’s casualty group is headed by Cynthia Kohn, who has been with the firm for nearly 20 years. Cynthia’s litigation talents are varied and diverse. Her specialties include representing clients in high-value cases involving national transportation carries, retail establishments, restaurants and homeowners associations. Her talents go beyond her casualty practice, as she also represents numerous health care professionals in professional liability claims. Shareholders Tom Brown and Amanda Podlucky round out our casualty group and have equally impressive skill sets. Tom oversees an active amusement and entertainment litigation practice in which he represents several theme parks in accident and amusement ride-related litigation. This is in addition to his litigation practice involving catastrophic premises liability cases. Amanda defends all manner of hospitality businesses in her practice, including retail stores, hotels, resorts, night clubs and recreational facilities.

The Professional Liability Department consists of three shareholders whose practices cover the gamut of professional liability claims. Adam Herman focuses on the field of construction defect litigation with an emphasis in the representation of professional architects and engineers. Robert Garcia, likewise, defends professionals from varied disciplines, including manufacturers, contractors, franchisors and insurance brokers. Combined, Adam and Robert have dedicated 30 years of their professional careers to defending the actions of other professionals. David Henry has a multi-faceted practice defending professionals in E&O, D&O, HOA, deceptive trade practice and copyright/trademark litigation. Additionally, he is a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil and Appellate Mediator with a proven track record of resolving complex business disputes.

Like the city itself, our Orlando office is growing and energized. We are poised to represent our clients with the highest degree of professionalism now and into the future.

*Brad is the managing attorney of our Orlando, Florida office. He can be reached at 407.420.4406 or bpblystone@mdwcg.com.


Defense Digest, Vol. 23, No. 2, June 2017. Defense Digest is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent legal developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. ATTORNEY ADVERTISING pursuant to New York RPC 7.1. © 2017 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm. For reprints, contact tamontemuro@mdwcg.com.