FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 24, 2019
Contact:Eric W. Boyer, Esq.
305.670.1101 Ext. 1023
QPWB LAWYERS DEFEND TRIAL COURT DECISION AND WIN APPEAL—
CITY IS NOT ENTITLED TO SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY AGAINST PLAINTIFFS’ CLAIMS
Toxic Tort / Hazardous Contaminants
FORT LAUDERDALE ― Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., Miami office partners Reginald J. Clyne and Michelle D. Cofiño represented Walter Hinton, the Appellee, who alleged the City of Fort Lauderdale “City” caused or allowed ash and other contaminants from a city incinerator site to disburse throughout the neighboring community causing hazardous substances to physically injure them. Failure to warn of hazardous condition caused them loss of use of their property and reduced market value. They seek compensation for inverse condemnation alleging discharge of contaminants constitutes the taking of property. Plaintiffs further allege they have ingested, inhaled, and touched contaminants from the soil and groundwater through walking, playing, and gardening in the neighborhood or consuming well water or foods grown on their property.
The trial court had granted summary judgment against the City holding that the City was not entitled to sovereign immunity against the plaintiffs’ claims. The City appealed the decision. The Plaintiffs responded to the appeal by arguing that the appeal was untimely and/or premature and that the City is not protected by sovereign immunity against these claims.
The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with Plaintiffs on all counts affirming the lower court’s finding: that the City is not entitled to sovereign immunity against the plaintiffs’ claims.
The plaintiffs have been in litigation for 12 years; attempting to recover damages for illnesses including cancer-related injuries and can now proceed to trial.
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Reginald J. Clyne, a partner in the Miami office and Chair of the Employment Practice Group, practices in state and federal courts focusing on commercial litigation. His practice is emphasized in the areas of automobile negligence, construction litigation, contract disputes, Dram Shop Act, Title VII, Section 1983, whistleblower acts, non-compete violations, product liability, resort and tour accident, and toxic tort litigation. He serves as an arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association on the Employment and Commercial Law Panel. Mr. Clyne received the AV® Preeminent™ designation rating from Martindale Hubbell Law Directory and is included in the annual listings of Top Lawyers in South Florida, Top Lawyers in Florida, and Super Lawyers®. He received his law degree from Duke University School of Law and a Master of Public Policy from the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in 1986. He is admitted to practice in Florida. Mr. Clyne has lived in Africa, Brazil, Honduras and Nicaragua; he is fluent in Spanish and has a knowledge of Portuguese.
Michelle D. Cofiño, a partner in the Miami office, practices in state and federal courts on a wide range of complex litigation matters. Her practices includes business entity formation, corporate contracts, and IRS tax controversies. She represents clients in matters involving wills, trusts and estate planning, asset protection, wealth preservation, probate and guardianship administration and litigation, and elder law. Ms. Cofiño’s practice also encompasses commercial disputes, construction defect claims, mechanic’s liens, professional liability, general real estate matters, insurance defense, and suspected fraud claims. She is recognized in Super Lawyers® Florida list of “Rising Stars” as a top rated attorney in general litigation. She received her law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law in 2006 and is a member of the Florida Bar. Ms. Cofiño is fluent in Spanish.
Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., is the largest minority and women owned law firm in the nation with more than 400 lawyers serving clients from 23 offices in the United States and abroad across a spectrum of industries in over 40 areas of practice. Our lawyers provide representation in litigation, business, real estate and governmental law.