David B. Weinstein

David B. Weinstein

Shareholder

David Weinstein is the Managing Shareholder of the Tampa Office and Chairs the firm’s national Environmental & Toxic Torts Litigation Practice. David has an active civil and white-collar litigation practice, with an emphasis on environmental, toxic tort, real estate, business, health care, and other challenging matters. In the civil context, he represents clients in class actions, mass torts, and other complex litigation. David also represents organizations and individuals in federal, state, and local criminal investigations. In both the civil and criminal areas, David has experience assisting clients with developing and implementing crisis management and public relations strategies. He has significant "first-chair" trial experience in jury and non-jury trials, as well as arbitrations.

The International Who’s Who of Environmental Lawyers has referred to David as "one of the leading practitioners in the world." David is listed in Band #1 of Chambers USA Guide, which in 2018, states that David “has a stellar reputation” and possesses a “wealth of expertise in high-stakes civil and white-collar criminal disputes. He offers additional strengths in appellate work, healthcare disputes, and wider business litigation. Interviewees report that he ‘has good judgement and is a pleasure to work with.’” The 2017 Guide notes: that David is “well known for his litigation and trial expertise and excels in a broad range of environmental matters. Clients say he is ‘incredibly skilled and adept in the courtroom.’” The 2016 Guide affirms: “Peers highlight his abilities in court, stating: He's top-notch, he's one of the best. If I was accused of a white-collar environmental crime I would use him. He's tenacious, bright and extremely capable." The 2015 Guide describes David as “a really fabulous lawyer . . . well-liked by clients . . . the kind of guy you would want leading the charge if you had a problem.” He is also listed in The Best Lawyers in America, The Legal 500 United States, and Who's Who Legal which describes David as “a distinguished litigator and a well-known name for civil and white-collar disputes.” David is recognized as one of "Florida's Legal Elite" by Florida Trend magazine—which inducted him into its Hall of Fame in 2010. Florida Super Lawyers has rated David as one of Florida's "Top 100" lawyers seven times. He is AV® rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory and the Tampa Bay Business Journal selected him in 2005 for its "Who's Who in Business in the Tampa Bay Area."

David has a long record of service to the legal profession and the community, including the following positions: Member, Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay; Member, Board of Trustees, Straz Center for the Performing Arts; Member, Former Chair, Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee, ABA Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources; and Former Co-Chair, Criminal Litigation and Enforcement Subcommittee, ABA Environmental Litigation Committee. He is also a member of the Herbert G. Goldburg Inn of Court and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. A fourth-degree black belt, David served as the senior instructor of Tampa Moo Duk Kwan, a not-for-profit martial arts club.

Concentrations

  • Environmental and toxic tort litigation
  • White collar criminal defense 
  • Business litigation
  • Real estate and land use litigation
  • Mass torts
  • Class actions
  • Health care litigation
  • Trial and appellate practice
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Capabilities

Experience

  • Curd, et al. v. Mosaic Fertilizer. Currently defending Mosaic in a putative class action by commercial fishermen alleging damages purportedly resulting from a release of approximately 65 million gallons of process water from a phosphogypsum stack, which was caused by Hurricane Frances.
  • Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, et al. Successfully defended Mosaic in federal court in toxic tort litigation in which Plaintiff alleged she suffered adverse health effects as a result of airborne exposure to industrial emissions and claimed over $60 million in damages. Prevailed on all claims in the trial court on Daubert and summary judgement motions in a 41-page order and a subsequent order excluding evidence of stigma damages. See Rhonda Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC, Case No. 8:14-cv-1748, 2016 WL 7175657 (M.D. Fla. June 24, 2016). Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed entry of summary judgment in favor of Mosaic. Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, LLC, 889 F.3d 1239 (11th Cir. 2018).
  • Confidential Client. Currently defending a European client against charges brought in the Southern District of New York involving offshore banking and attendant tax issues. Currently representing other European clients in federal criminal investigations.
  • Tucker, et al. v. Papa John's International Inc., et al. Currently defending Papa John’s in an Illinois state-wide class action against allegations that Papa John’s taxation practices violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act, the Uniform Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and give rise to other causes of action.
  • Confidential Client. Represented employees of an international pesticide company, which was the subject of a federal investigation of alleged environmental crimes. The U.S. Department of Justice pursued a criminal investigation of the company in connection with catastrophic personal injuries suffered by family members who stayed in a resort complex condominium in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The federal investigation resulted in a plea agreement with the company which included payment of criminal fines, restitution, and a community service project totaling $10 million. None of Greenberg Traurig’s clients were charged.
  • Confidential Client. Currently representing a client in the automotive industry in a nationwide criminal investigation concerning allegedly unlawful emissions from diesel vehicles.
  • Confidential Client. Currently representing individuals in a federal criminal investigation involving alleged Clean Air Act violations in the District of Puerto Rico.
  • Mims Properties Investments, et al. v. Mosaic Fertilizer. Defended Mosaic in complex litigation—that culminated in a multi-week federal jury trial—involving an alleged breach of land reclamation agreements concerning a 2,000+ acre former phosphate mine. Plaintiffs filed a sixteen-count complaint and sought damages in excess of $50 million. The jury returned a split verdict awarding plaintiffs approximately $1.5 million—less than 3% of what they had originally sought. The court subsequently ordered a remittitur, which reduced the damages award by more than $750,000. The case was subsequently settled while on appeal.
  • U.S. United Ocean Services v. Mosaic Fertilizer. Defended Mosaic in an arbitration proceeding in New York before the Society of Maritime Arbitrators in which claimant demanded approximately $50 million in damages for deadfreight allegedly due following a force majeure event. After detailed briefing by the parties and two weeks of arbitration hearings, claimant dismissed its case against Mosaic, with prejudice, in exchange for an agreement not to seek an award of attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Confidential Client. Represented two employees of an international pesticide company, which was the potential subject of a federal investigation of alleged environmental crimes. Our clients were employees of the company that subcontracted one of its fumigation projects to an independent contractor. The U.S. Department of Justice pursued criminal charges against the independent contractor and two of its employees in connection with personal injuries suffered by a family member who lived in a house that was fumigated. The federal investigation resulted in a plea agreement that included prison sentences for the two employees of the independent contractor that had performed the fumigation.
  • Los Angeles Unified School District v. Cronimet, et al. Defended Cronimet and United Alloys & Metals in an action filed in the Central District of California involving allegations of offsite groundwater contamination from chlorinated solvents purportedly affecting a nearby school.
  • Gates v. W.R. Grace & Co., et al. Defended a phosphate company in a toxic tort action filed in the Middle District of Florida arising from alleged exposure to contaminants that migrated from a chemical processing facility to plaintiff’s potable water well. Plaintiff resided approximately 600 feet from the facility’s property line and 1,700 feet from the phosphogypsum stack and cooling ponds. Plaintiff was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia, which he alleged resulted from drinking contaminated water. Testing of the well in connection with a Preliminary Groundwater Contamination Report registered exceedances of gross alpha and radium 226 and 228 in Plaintiff’s well. After conducting intensive discovery of plaintiff and non-parties, we prepared and served on Plaintiff’s counsel a proposed Rule 11 motion threatening sanctions based on the absence of specific causation. The matter was subsequently resolved for a de minimis settlement.
  • Bessie Kennon Bender, et al. v. Mosaic Fertilizer, et al. GT defended an environmental justice mass tort brought by the residents of a community seeking damages purportedly resulting from contamination of soil, groundwater, and surface water. GT defended this action without either significant litigation or settlement payment by persuading plaintiffs that GT’s client could not have caused the alleged harm. GT also obtained a voluntary dismissal of cross-claims for indemnification and contribution filed by co-defendant.
  • U.S. v. Lee. Defended Chief Officer of foreign flagged ship in vessel pollution prosecution under federal criminal laws.
  • In re General Electric. Represented GE in a criminal investigation concerning alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as well as civil enforcement involving a proposed penalty of more than $2 million.
  • Confidential Client. Represented client in criminal investigation by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation concerning construction incident that resulted in deaths of protected wildlife and destruction of protected habitat. No charges were filed against the client.
  • In re Condea Vista. Defended senior manager of a chemical plant in a federal criminal investigation arising out of a 20-million-pound chemical release from a Louisiana pipeline.
  • In re Lake Apopka Bird Deaths. Represented environmental professionals in the federal criminal investigation of the Lake Apopka bird kill.
  • U.S. v. Bay Drum and Steel, et al. Defended client in prosecution for conspiracy to violate hazardous waste laws.
  • Franco et al. v. Coronet Industries, Inc., et al. Defended Coronet in a mass toxic tort action with more than 1,100 plaintiffs asserting wrongful death, personal injury, medical monitoring, and property damage. Plaintiffs’ claims arose out of alleged contamination of groundwater, surface water, soil, and air in a large area previously mined for phosphate surrounding a facility that manufactured phosphate-based animal feed supplements and other chemical products. Plaintiffs demanded approximately $250 million in personal injury damages, property damages, and medical monitoring. We obtained the entry of one of Florida’s first Lone Pine orders requiring plaintiffs to substantiate their allegations of injury and causation or be subject to dismissal, which resulted in the dismissal of more than 300 plaintiffs. We also employed an offer of judgment strategy that resulted in the dismissal of more than 300 additional plaintiffs through de minimis settlements. The remaining claims were settled pursuant to a confidential settlement agreement, which took more than two years to negotiate and was highly favorable to our client. The action against Coronet was publicly promoted by environmental activist, Erin Brockovich.
  • Anderson, et al. v. Mulberry Phosphate. Defended Mulberry against claims by over 150 plaintiffs arising out of release of approximately 50 million gallons of process water into the Alafia River.
  • Niemoeller, et al. v. Coronet Industries, et al. GT successfully defended an action in which plaintiffs sought to certify a class of individuals who allegedly sustained personal injuries or property damage purportedly caused by discharges of toxic or hazardous substances from the operation of a phosphate and chemical processing facility, or who sought attendant medical monitoring. The trial court denied class certification.
  • Chartis Specialty Insurance Company f/k/a American International Specialty Lines Insurance Company v. Mosaic Fertilizer and CSX Transportation. Successfully defended Mosaic in an action filed in the Middle District of Florida seeking a recovery of past and future investigative, remediation, and removal costs under Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, a declaratory judgment declaring the rights and duties of the parties under CERCLA, and the recovery of cleanup and management costs under Section 376.313, Florida Statutes. Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation disposed of low pH wastewater generated in its production of sodium silico fluoride, potassium silico fluoride, and synthetic cryolite. For decades, Kaiser disposed of this wastewater in an inactive drainfield. In the 1970s it began to dispose of its wastewater 5,000 feet below the site’s surface using a deep injection well. Chartis alleged that Mosaic acquired the contaminated property through a series of mergers and acquisitions and that contaminated groundwater had migrated to a neighboring minority community. GT defended the action based on statute of limitations, bankruptcy discharge, and absence of arranger liability. GT prepared and served plaintiff’s counsel with a proposed Rule 11 motion and the action against Mosaic was voluntarily dismissed.
  • Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission v. Hon. Gregory P. Holder (Inquiry Concerning a Judge No. 02-487). Lead trial counsel in defense of Circuit Court Judge accused of making false statement to the U.S. Air Force. Obtained first defense verdict at trial against JQC in 19 years.
  • Ross, et al. v. Lennar Corporation. Defended Lennar in a putative class action involving allegations that class members were damaged as a result of purchasing homes located on or adjacent to land formerly used as a U.S. military munitions range during World War II.
  • Thomas Moore, et al. v. News Corp., New World Communications of Tampa, Inc., and Fox Television Stations, Inc. Defended News Corporation and Fox Television Stations in a class action that was filed during national contract negotiations between News Corporation and Bright House Networks regarding its rights to rebroadcast Fox programming, including the Sugar Bowl, over its cable network. Defeated Plaintiffs' request for injunctive relief at a highly publicized hearing and Plaintiffs subsequently abandoned their claims. Shortly thereafter, News Corporation and Bright House agreed to terms of a national deal for rebroadcast rights for Fox programming over the Bright House cable system.
  • MundoFox Broadcasting, LLC v. America-CV Network, LLC. Prosecuted claims for damages and rescission of a Station Affiliation Agreement and a Production Services Agreement against a MundoFox station affiliate and consummated a favorable settlement in less than two months.
  • E.S. Bankest, LLC v. United Beverage of Florida, et al. Defended subsidiary of Sysco Corporation, which was one of 58 named defendants, in action for conspiracy to defraud, RICO conspiracy, fraudulent misrepresentation, and negligent misrepresentation.
  • Sierra Club Sierra Club, et al. v. Army Corps of Engineers, et al. Obtained summary judgment in a federal court challenge to mining at the "Altman Tract," which was filed by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups challenging a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps.
  • In re Methyl Tertiary Butyl-Ether ("MTBE") Products Liability Litigation, 209 F.R.D. 323 (S.D.N.Y. 2002). Defended ExxonMobil in multidistrict litigation in which injunctive relief sought in Florida alone exceeded $100 million. Class certification was denied.
  • Hannas v. Ashland Chemical Co. Resolved, through a mutually beneficial business transaction, a federal court action against Ashland involving alleged groundwater contamination of property adjacent to a chemical distribution facility.

Coverage of Significant Representations has appeared in Time Magazine, The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Associated Press, Florida Trend magazine, the St. Petersburg Times, The Tampa Tribune, the Orlando Sentinel, and other print and electronic media.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America: Environmental Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Environment; and Criminal Defense: White-Collar, 2005-2019
  • Listed, "Band #1" Chambers and Partners USA Guide, an annual listing of the world's leading business lawyers and law firms (Environmental Law) 2009-2018
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Florida Powerhouse," 2018
  • Listed, Who's Who Legal, Environment 2013-2018
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2011-2018
    • Listed, Litigation - Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense: Toxic Tort, 2011-2014, 2016-2018
    • Listed, Industry Focus - Environment: Litigation, 2016-2018
    • Listed, Industry Focus - Environment: Regulatory, 2018
    • Listed, Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2017-2018
  • Listed, Florida Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," Environmental & Land Use, 2004-2018
    • "Hall of Fame," 2010-2018
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Florida Super Lawyers, 2009-2018
    • Listed as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in Florida" seven times
  • Recipient, "Excellence in Writing Award," Journal & News Editorial Board, The Florida Bar, 2015
  • Selected, "Who's Who in Business in the Tampa Bay Area," Tampa Bay Business Journal, 2005
  • Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5

°AV®, AV Preeminent®, Martindale-Hubbell DistinguishedSM and Martindale-Hubbell NotableSM are certification marks used under license in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell® certification procedures, standards and policies.

  • Member, American Bar Association
    • Chair, Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2012-2013
    • Co-Chair, Criminal Litigation and Enforcement Subcommittee, Environmental Litigation Committee, 2009-2015
    • Year in Review Vice-Chair, Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2015-2019
    • At-Large Vice-Chair, Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2013-2015
  • Member, Board of Trustees, David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
  • Member, Board of Directors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay
  • Member, State Litigation Advisory Committee, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Litigation Center
  • Member, The Florida Bar
  • Member, Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar
  • Member, The New York State Bar Association
  • Member, Herbert G. Goldburg Inn of Court (Criminal Law)
  • Member, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers
  • Member, Defense Research Institute
  • Fourth Degree Black Belt; Senior Instructor, Tampa Moo Duk Kwan (a not-for-profit martial arts club)

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., University of Florida Levin College of Law, 1986
    • Member, Trial Competition Team
    • Member, Florida Blue Key
    • Member, Omicron Delta Kappa
  • B.S.B.A., University of Florida, 1981
Admissions
  • New York
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Supreme Court of the United States
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Puerto Rico