In what part of town do you live?

How long have you lived in the area?
For about a year. Before that, Palmetto Bay for 27 years. I was born and raised, did college, law school, the whole shebang here.

What keeps you busy during the week?
During the week, I am a maritime trial attorney. I get to do various duties which consist of depositions, hearings, mediations, and every once in a while, trials.

Does that mean most of your cases get settled out of court?
Yes, I would say about 95 to 98% of the cases are settled out of court.

Why did you decide to become a lawyer?
I was in an accident and didn’t get the best legal representation. Therefore, I didn’t get a good result. I felt like I could be a help to others in avoiding things done in my case.

What is something special about maritime injury cases? How is it different than other legal practices?
It can be very problematic in certain cases trying to establish a jurisdiction as a lot of the incidents occur on the high seas. So, there’s a lot of investigative work going on and trying to tie different companies together that we understand are operating out of the United States, but are using shell companies to shield themselves from liability.

Which part of the process is most exciting? Is it finding new clients? Is it winning? Is it a strategy or discovery? 
I think it’s interacting with and helping console my clients to feel comfortable in very uncomfortable situations, especially when you know they’re dealing with pain and injuries or losing a loved one. It’s being able to let them know on the legal side of things, they don’t need to worry about it. That’s what I’m here for. They need to focus on making themselves whole and better again.

It must be hard to put a number to an injury. I can image that is a difficult conversation to have with a family. What is that conversation like and how do you approach it?
It is always a hard conversation because you could be comparing apples to oranges. Everything is very circumstantial – How strong is the liability and what is the extent of the damages? As the lawsuit progresses, more and more information is revealed that can either increase or decrease the number. Basically, we compare the type of injury and type of liability to what the company has paid in the past for a similar incident.

Do you remember how you felt after your first case? Did you win?
I do. It was very rewarding. It was a crew member case that had a back injury on a vessel. Fortunately the verdict was in favor of my client and my client was ecstatic with the result.

Are you a boater yourself?
I’m an avid boater. If the winds are calm on the weekends, I’m on the boat. If they’re not, I’m at LNB Grovestand in the morning.

When you’re on the boat, how has your maritime law knowledge affected what you’re thinking and doing on the water?
Well, I’m not as much as a risk taker as I was before. I try to be respectful and concerned about our resources and respecting the ocean law. And, I’ve gained a greater respect for the ocean and understanding of what it can do to a vessel.

On those days when the waters are not calm, you’ve been coming by the drive through. Would you share about that experience?
It’s been awesome. Every time I go, I get at least a Rainbow Smoothie. It’s always nice to see the different fruits on display and the ways LNB is able to incorporate the fruits – for instance the little chewable turmeric cubes, the fruit roll ups, the turmeric heart cookies, the turmeric bagels. What’s not to like?

What can we do to improve?
Be open more days a week.

Do you have any other favorite local restaurants or places for good food?
Golden RuleBlack Point Ocean Grill, and Captain’s Tavern. I love trying out the different specials. If they have hog fish, I try to order it. It’s one of my favorite fish. Captain’s Tavern does a Maine lobster special, which I rave home about.

What’s Miami’s best kept secret?
The beautiful ecosystems we have both on land and on water. We’ve got the Everglades national park and we’ve got Biscayne national park. I would encourage everyone in this area to stray from the concrete jungle and go see these beautiful nature areas.

What for you is a worthy splurge?
A healthy meal like LNB. Or any place that has a common value of using locally, organically grown fruit and vegetables.

Is there a pitch about your business that you would like to share?
I’m a personal injury attorney, specifically in the maritime world. If you’re ever injured, due to what you think is someone else’s negligence, and you want someone to consult with, I’d love to do so. I myself, have been in a very similar situation.

What’s question, advice, or challenge would you like to pose to the community?
Live life to the fullest every single day, because the next one is never promised.

What question would you like to ask us?
(DG) If you were to open the store every day, would the fruit on your farm be sufficient to do so?

(A+W) Yes. We use a very small amount of the fruit grown on our farms. The majority is sold wholesale. We harvest weekly what’s ripe and ready.