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Kimberly S. Mello, a member of the firm’s National Appeals & Legal Issues Group, has represented clients in over 600 appellate matters in state and federal courts, including the Florida Supreme Court, the Mississippi Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and Florida's District Courts of Appeal.

She also has significant experience providing litigation support in high stakes litigation, including class actions, multi-district litigation, and mass tort litigation. To optimize the likelihood of obtaining a successful outcome, she develops effective legal strategies during all phases of litigation and briefs complex pre-trial, trial, and post-trial motions.

Her experience in appeals and litigation support is broad-based, having served as counsel in business litigation, environmental and toxic tort litigation, intellectual property litigation, financial services litigation, and pharmaceutical and medical device litigation.

Concentrations

  • Final and non-final appeals
  • Dispositive motions
  • Post-trial motions
  • Extraordinary writs

Capabilities

Experience

  • Green Hills Development Company, LLC v. UMB Bank, N.A.: Currently representing Trustee in the Mississippi Supreme Court in an appeal involving a default on tax-exempt bonds in the aggregate principal amount of $22 million issued by a public improvement district to acquire land and finance capital infrastructure improvements for a mixed-use development project.
  • Arch Specialty Insurance Company v. BP Investment Partners, LLC: Currently representing Arch Specialty Insurance Company in an appeal of a final judgment entered in its favor following a jury trial. The jury found the defendant materially breached its post-loss duties and intentionally misrepresented or concealed material facts during the investigation of its insurance claim regarding Hurricane Irma-related property damage to its hotel.
  • Lankhorst v. Independent Savings Plan Co.: Obtained affirmance of summary judgment entered in favor of Independent Savings Plan Co. in a class action brought under the Truth In Lending Act.
  • USAmeriBank v. Sovereign Bank: Represented Sovereign Bank in an appeal of an eight-figure summary judgment entered in its favor. The case was filed by a syndicated bank lending group against a blind participant to recover a multimillion-dollar setoff exercised against the bank lending group’s borrower. The case resolved prior to oral argument.
  • Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC v. Van Fleet International Airport Development Group, LLC: Obtained affirmance of a final summary judgment entered in favor of Mosaic Fertilizer in an action seeking damages in excess of $20 million based on claims arising out of an option to purchase real estate.
  • WrestleReunion, LLC v. Live Nation Television Holdings, Inc.: Obtained affirmance of final judgment entered in favor of Live Nation Television Holdings following a jury trial in a case involving $22 million in damages arising from a grant of exclusive rights to market and distribute plaintiff’s television programming.
  • Career Education Corporation - Class Action Proceedings: Briefed numerous motions to compel arbitration and stay proceedings in multiple putative class actions filed against Career Education Corporation and its subsidiaries based on allegations that they misrepresented the quality of education that students would receive and their post-graduate employment prospects, causing them to incur significant damages. After briefing, the district court compelled arbitration pursuant to the arbitration provisions in the students’ Enrollment Agreements.
  • Curd v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC: Obtained affirmance of order dismissing class action filed against Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC for damages allegedly resulting from a release of approximately 65 million gallons of process water into Hillsborough Bay during Hurricane Frances. The Court held that Mosaic Fertilizer did not have an independent duty to protect plaintiffs’ pure economic interests and that plaintiffs did not have a private statutory cause of action for damages when they could not establish a possessory interest in the property allegedly damaged by the pollution. On further review, the Florida Supreme Court held that only the commercial fishermen—but not restaurants, bait and tackle stores, or other plaintiffs—could proceed with their claims, thereby limiting the putative class of persons on remand.
  • Mims Properties Investments, LLC v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC: Briefed summary judgment motion that resulted in an order reducing damages by approximately $20 million. The district court found that, under the economic waste doctrine, Plaintiffs were not entitled to restoration damages for alleged improper reclamation of formerly mined lands and, instead, were limited to diminution in value.
  • Sierra Club Sierra Club, et al. v. Army Corps of Engineers, et al.: Briefed summary judgment motion granted by district court in a federal court challenge to phosphate mining filed by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups challenging a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers.
  • In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl-Ether ("MTBE") Products Liability Litigation: Briefed numerous motions on behalf of ExxonMobil in multidistrict litigation in which injunctive relief sought in Florida alone exceeded $100 million. Class certification was denied.
  • Caracol Television, S.A. v. Telemundo Television Studios, LLC, et al.: Obtained affirmance of a final summary judgment entered in favor of Telemundo Television Studios in a federal copyright action involving a dispute over copyright ownership in a telenovela and claims of copyright infringement.
  • LaTele Television, C.A. v. Telemundo Communications Group, LLC, et al.: Obtained dismissal of appeal challenging a sanctions award entered against LaTele Television for discovery violations in a federal copyright action. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the collateral order doctrine does not authorize immediate review of sanctions ordered under Rule 37 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
  • LaTele Television, C.A. v. Telemundo Communications Group, LLC, et al.: Obtained dismissal of appeal in federal copyright action involving a dispute over who controlled the litigation on behalf of LaTele Television. The Court concluded that the district court (1) correctly found that the Board appointed by a Venezuelan criminal court to manage LaTele and its counsel was the proper representative of LaTele Television and had the right to select counsel; and (2) properly removed the ousted president’s counsel from representing the company in the litigation. Based on these findings, the Court concluded that the ousted president’s counsel was not authorized to file the appeal and the notice of appeal was, thus, rendered nugatory.
  • Willner v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.: Currently representing Wells Fargo Bank in an appeal challenging the district court’s order dismissing the complaint with prejudice based on plaintiff’s failure to allege actual or statutory damages under the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act.
  • Felts v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.: Obtained affirmance of final summary judgment in a Fair Credit Reporting Act case based on claim that Wells Fargo Bank inaccurately reported information regarding plaintiff’s mortgage account.
  • Scarry v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.: Obtained affirmance of the district court’s orders dismissing complaint with prejudice and denying leave to amend complaint in Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act case based on allegations that Wells Fargo Bank did not properly respond to a request for information.
  • HSBC Bank USA, N.A. v. Buset: Obtained reversal of an involuntary dismissal following a non-jury trial in a residential mortgage foreclosure action. The court held that the trial court made multiple erroneous rulings, including its findings that the note was not negotiable, the Trustee lacked standing, the servicer’s business records were inadmissible, and the Trustee had acted with unclean hands. The case was remanded to the trial court with directions to enter a final judgment in favor of the Trustee.
  • Elizon DB Transfer Agent, LLC v. Ivy Chase Apartments, Ltd.: Obtained reversal of an involuntary dismissal following a non-jury trial in a commercial foreclosure action involving a default on an over $1 million loan secured to construct an apartment complex.
  • Monarch v. On-X Life Technologies, Inc.: Obtained affirmance of dismissal of negligence and loss of consortium claims filed against On-X Life Technologies involving damages purportedly sustained due to alleged inadequate labeling of its Prosthetic Aortic Heart Valve.
  • Trial Court Briefing: Briefed complex motions in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation in state and federal courts involving claims for, among others, failure to warn, design defects, and manufacturing defects

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Appellate Practice, 2013-2023
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Banking & Finance - Litigation, 2017
  • Team Member, U.S. News - Best Lawyers®, Best Law Firms Edition, "Law Firm of the Year," Environmental Law, 2016
  • Team Member, Law360 "Appellate Practice Group of the Year," 2010
  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Appellate Advocacy Committee
      • Vice-Chair, 2013-2015
    • Appellate Practice Committee
  • Member, The Florida Bar
    • Appellate Practice Section
      • Executive Council, 2000-2006
      • Chair, Programs Committee, 2001
      • Editor, The Record, Journal for the Appellate Practice Section, 1998-2000
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar
  • Member, Hillsborough County Bar Association, 2000-2020
    • Appellate Practice Section
      • Co-Chair, 2007-2009
  • Member, Orange County Bar Association, 2021-2022
    • Appellate Practice Section, 2021-2022
  • Board of Directors, Humane Society of Tampa Bay, 2012-2018
    • Vice-President, 2016-2018
  • Leadership Orlando Class 100
  • Board of Trustees, Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, 2008-2011
  • Member, Second District Court of Appeal, 50th Anniversary Committee, 2007

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., cum laude, Stetson University College of Law
    • Member, Stetson Law Review
    • Intern, United States District Judge Elizabeth A. Kovachevich
  • B.A., cum laude, University of Tampa
Admissions
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida