Mission Impossible: Spohrer Dodd Attorneys Tackle Cases of Epic Proportions
In the high-stakes world of personal injury law, there are cases that seem insurmountable, almost like a real-life Mission Impossible. But for Spohrer Dodd Personal Injury Attorneys, impossible is just a word. With a track record that reads like a Hollywood script, this exceptional team has not only accepted but thrived on the most challenging cases, earning them a reputation as the Mission Impossible team of the legal world.
From catastrophic car accidents to medical malpractice, product liability, workplace accidents, and even international disputes, Spohrer Dodd has a long history of taking on cases that many would deem impossible. These cases often involve severe injuries, life-altering consequences, and sometimes wrongful death. Clients come to Spohrer Dodd when they have nowhere else to turn, and the odds seem stacked against them
Our lawyers think outside the box looking at the facts and evidence from a new perspective to create a remedy for clients.
TACKLING THE IMPOSSIBLE
“Most lawyers think of their firm as a finely disciplined and organized Navy battleship,” says President, CEO and Senior Partner Robert Spohrer. “Our firm is more like a pirate ship. We are known for handling difficult cases in an unconventional way. Our lawyers think outside the box looking at the facts and evidence from a new perspective to create a remedy for clients. Most of our cases are referred to us by very qualified co-counsel who have run into problems they can’t solve.”
Steve Browning is a partner in the firm and the 2008 president of the Jacksonville Justice Association. His practice focuses primarily on representing individuals who are seriously injured as a result of dangerous or defective products. Such was the case when a young man suffered severe injuries as the result of a defective shingle shredder.
“One of the more interesting aspects of the case was the change in attitude of the corporate defendant,” says Browning. “The defendant was a big, well run, safety conscious company, that was, initially, upset for being included in the case. However, during a deposition of a corporate executive, you could see the lights go on as he answered questions about the choices his company had made, and how they had led to the victim’s injuries. The case was settled shortly after that deposition.”
Challenges in the Air
Known for its aviation accident expertise, the firm has recently handled cases involving the crash of a firefighting aircraft in Australia, a WW II B-17 crash in Connecticut, and a wedding party in South Africa arriving at the ceremony in a helicopter that crashed. Two other recent cases demonstrate the expertise of the firm’s aviation practice.
Attorney Keith Maynard served in the Maryland Army National Guard in both the infantry and aviation branches and retired as a major and a rated BlackHawk pilot. Board certified in aviation law, it’s not surprising that Maynard was asked to represent a victim of a military helicopter crash that occurred at the U.S. Army Flight School in Alabama. What made this case more challenging was the fact that the statute of limitations had expired against one of the unidentified defendants, theoretically barring all claims against the maintenance company that overhauled the defective component. In the lawsuit filed against all the manufacturers and maintainers in Delaware, where they were incorporated, Maynard successfully petitioned the court to apply the law of Alabama to extend the statute of limitations against the primary tortfeasor, thus preserving the client’s rights and paving the way for a very successful resolution.
“I was determined to get this case right,” he says. “Our client’s actions during the crash saved two Army officers’ lives. Unfortunately, it also caused him to incur life-long injuries just 10 days prior to his retirement. I wanted to make sure he would be taken care of.”
Galen Bauer, one of only 45 lawyers to be board certified in aviation law, served as chairman of The Florida Bar’s aviation law certification committee from 2020-2021. He was entrusted with an equally challenging flight-related case. He represented the family of a young woman who died in a private plane crash in a state which allowed only limited damage awards.
“This case had an interesting and ironic legal wrinkle,” says Bauer. “She was on a recreational flight that departed and was due to land in Wyoming. Both her family and the family of the pilot who crashed the plane lived in Wyoming. The airplane that crashed was registered and based in Wyoming. But, as the airplane was approaching to land in Wyoming, it crashed just across the border in Idaho, about a mile from the Idaho/Wyoming border. The challenge was that the natural place to file a lawsuit – Wyoming – was not the most favorable venue for our clients.”
It took some intricate maneuvering to ensure they were able to apply the laws most favorable to the client. Wyoming strictly applies the law of the place where the harm occurred (Idaho) and Idaho imposes a very low damages cap for grief over loss of a loved one.
“Wyoming clearly had the more significant contacts with the parties and the events in controversy,” Bauer says. “This meant that an Idaho court would apply Wyoming damages law. So, ironically, we determined that filing the lawsuit in Idaho was the best way to avoid application of Idaho law. We filed suit in Idaho and were able to quickly resolve that case for our clients.”
Equipped for the Challenge
“We bring decades of combined experience handling complex cases,” notes Spohrer. “I think our secret weapon is thinking outside of the box or unconventionally. We strategize and try to come up with novel legal theories that can assist our client.”
“Additionally, we have an in-house physician who is with us full time,” he continues. “He consults with our attorneys on any medical issues. We also have a registered nurse who has been involved in forensic nursing for decades and she’s proven invaluable in reviewing medical records, providing assistance in summarizing and creating chronologies as well as helping to identify and recruit expert witnesses.”
It is this kind of in-depth and complex legal finessing that has drawn some of the country’s top legal minds to Spohrer Dodd.
“I chose to join Spohrer & Dodd approximately eight months ago because, among other things, I like how the attorneys at this firm approach cases with a very deliberate attention to detail,” says David Margol. “The details of a case can be transformative. Details can transform a potentially weak case into an incredibly successful case. All the attorneys at Spohrer & Dodd painstakingly assess and analyze each detail in an effort to obtain the very best outcome for the client, and I think that is evident when you look at the firm’s record of success.”
In an international case, Rodney Margol, David Margol and their co-counsel Robert Martinez were asked to represent Cuban American citizens whose property was confiscated by the Castro government in 1960. They found and successfully invoked a decades old statute that required U.S. companies, such as cruise lines, profiting from use of the client’s confiscated property to pay damages.
“In March 2022, a federal judge entered final judgment against four cruise lines (Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean and MSC) for a total of $451 million,” says Rodney Margol. “The cruise lines have appealed the decision to the 11th Circuit of Appeals in Atlanta where it is pending.”
Closer to home, a young man who was shot during a nightclub incident had a reputable law firm withdraw its representation upon discovering the facility did not have any insurance. Having lost everything, the young man was referred to the team known for tackling the impossible and attorney Jay Howanitz went to bat.
“We took the case and immediately began looking at it from different angles,” says Howanitz. “It soon became apparent that the property owners should be held accountable for knowingly allowing this night club to operate on its premises. The owners allowed this haven for crime to continue operating despite knowledge of the prior criminal activity. We were able to resolve the claim against the property owners with a significant settlement and then pursued a secondary claim against the insurance agents and agency who were supposed to provide insurance to the night club for just this type of problem. We actually went to trial against the insurance agents and secured an $18 million verdict.”
The attorneys of Spohrer Dodd have made it their mission to turn the impossible into reality. Their unwavering commitment to their clients, careful often unconventional strategizing, and a fearless approach to complex cases have bolstered their ability to secure justice against all odds. While the challenges they face may seem insurmountable, this team proves time and again that justice is always possible, no matter how impossible it may appear.
At a Glance
76 S. Laura Street, Suite 1701
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Read More Stories
The post Mission Impossible: Spohrer Dodd Attorneys Tackle Cases of Epic Proportions appeared first on Attorney at Law Magazine.