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David B. Weinstein

David Weinstein is the Managing Shareholder of the Tampa Office and Chairs the firm’s national Environmental & Toxic Torts Litigation Practice. With over 30 years of experience, David Weinstein has built a broad practice comprised of high-stakes and complex civil and white-collar litigation, including environmental, toxic tort, real estate, land use, business, financial, health care, and other challenging matters. While David is an accomplished litigator who takes pride in mastering the skills of trial advocacy, he also strives to help his clients find out-of-court approaches to address their problems, disputes, and legal issues whenever appropriate. Drawing on both his entrepreneurial spirit and business acumen, David has handled diverse business matters and enjoys assisting clients with their unique challenges and legal concerns. 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.

David is listed in Chambers USA Guide in both Environmental and Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations. The 2020 Guide quotes a source describing David as “‘a master litigator not only in the thoughtfulness of his drafting and pre-trial work, but also as a great trial attorney.’ He is recognized for his litigation strength in matters including toxic tort class action cases as well as in criminal environmental cases.” The 2019 Guide describes David as, “a respected and very skillful lawyer,” and adds, “I have the highest regard for his ability and judgment.” The 2018 Guide 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 “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.

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 emeritus of the Herbert G. Goldburg-Ronald K. Cacciatore Criminal Law American Inn of Court and a member of 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
  • Business litigation
  • Real estate and land use litigation
  • Class actions
  • Mass torts
  • White-collar criminal defense
  • Trial and appellate practice

Capabilities

Experiencia

  • Irizarry et al. v. Orlando Utilities Commission et al. Currently defending the Orlando Utilities Commission in a putative class action brought by residents alleging that emissions from a power plant contaminated approximately 15,000 properties within a 95-square mile area with radionuclides, metals, and other constituents thereby elevating cancer rates.
  • Curd, et al. v. Mosaic Fertilizer. Currently defending Mosaic in an 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. The case involves complex scientific issues in the disciplines of ichthyology, benthic ecology, marine biology, physical oceanography, estuarine science, and commercial fishing economics. Greenberg Traurig prevailed on a motion to dismiss plaintiffs’ claims which the plaintiffs appealed. Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the dismissal and held that Florida law did not impose an independent duty of care to protect plaintiffs’ pure economic interests or create a private statutory cause of action for damages when the party seeking recovery does not have a possessory interest in the property allegedly damaged by pollution. The Second District certified these issues to the Florida Supreme Court as questions of great public importance. The Florida Supreme Court ruled that only commercial fishermen could proceed with their claims, limiting the putative class. Importantly, while the court ruled a claim could proceed under Florida's environmental strict liability statute, it adopted a definition of damages precluding personal injury, thus stabilizing an entire area of Florida environmental law. The case was remanded with a limited, putative class. Later, the plaintiffs filed a motion to join over 100 new plaintiffs in an effort to convert the action from a putative class action to a mass tort, which Mosaic successfully opposed, and the plaintiffs appealed. The Second District Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court ruling denying joinder. The plaintiffs sought class certification, which the appellate court reversed in the fourth appeal in this action.
  • Williams v. Mosaic Fertilizer, et al. 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 Clients. Developed Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Continuity Plans for safe operations and return to work for several corporate clients. These plans advise on essential business, and similar government orders and regulations and are a comprehensive approach to develop policies and strategies for risk mitigation and solutions for the workforce and public. Plans were developed in collaboration with a board-certified toxicologist, a Ph.D. industrial hygienist with a M.D. in infectious diseases, as well as Labor & Employment, Government Law and Policy, and Data Privacy attorneys.
  • Confidential Client. Currently managing the liability exposure and compliance requirements of removal and disposal of an unexploded ordnance (UXO) from an active construction site for a developer in an urban setting. This entails the coordination of local, state, and federal authorities regulatory, compliance, and safety protocols to manage potential adverse impacts for this ultrahazardous activity.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jabil Inc. v. Essentium Inc. Currently representing Jabil Inc. in an action involving the misappropriation of 3D-printing trade secrets and related misconduct by former employees and a competing company.
  • Saft America, Inc. v. Jabil Circuit (Guangzhou) Ltd. Represented affiliate of Jabil Inc. in contract dispute involving the manufacture of industrial battery subcomponents.
  • Confidential Client. Currently representing a public entity in a high-stakes action against a peer-to-peer company who has developed an industry-disrupting marketplace. Our client asserts that the efficiencies of their operations have been undermined by the introduction of unregulated commercial activities.
  • Confidential Client. Prosecuted claims for damages on behalf of a South Korean company against a Florida-based international importer concerning the importer’s failure to secure and deliver 40,000 tons of petroleum coke from a Russian supplier.
  • Confidential Client. Currently representing international exporter in an action seeking payment of more than $75 million owed to it for goods delivered. 
  • Confidential Client. Represented a software company in arbitration against a payment processing company over the right to transfer clients to a different processor, cease the company-threating residual withholdings, and recover damages for breach of the parties’ Agent Agreement.
  • CCP Harbour Island, LLC v CPPM THP, LLC, and Plyler v. City of Tampa. Represented a major real estate developer in multiple cases through which a competitor attempted to have a luxury apartment complex demolished.
  • Boca Grande Isle LLC v. Boca Grande Isles Property Owners Association. Represented homeowners in a dispute regarding the validity of an amendment to a private waterfront subdivision’s declaration of restrictions. Obtained summary judgment, which was affirmed on appeal, and entitlement to recovery of clients’ attorneys’ fees and costs.
  • Confidential Client. Represented an international real estate firm in a class action lawsuit regarding the alleged embezzlement of tenant funds from a tenant-in-common structure.
  • Tucker, et al. v. Papa John's International Inc., et al. Defended 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Confidential Client. Currently representing a client in the manufacturing industry in a multi-state federal criminal investigation concerning alleged violations of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
  • 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.
  • 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. Represented 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • U.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.

Coverage of 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, 2005-2021
  • Listed, Chambers and Partners USA Guide, an annual listing of the world's leading business lawyers and law firms, "Environmental Law" and "Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations," 2009-2020
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2011-2020
    • Listed, Litigation - Product Liability and Mass Tort Defense: Toxic Tort, 2011-2014, 2016-2020
    • Listed, Industry Focus - Environment: Litigation, 2016-2020
    • Listed, Industry Focus - Environment: Regulatory, 2018 and 2020
    • Listed, Corporate Investigations and White-Collar Criminal Defense, 2017-2019
    • Listed, Dispute Resolution - Appellate, 2019
  • Team Member, The American Lawyer, “Florida Regional Litigation Department of the Year,” 2019
  • Listed, Florida Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," Environmental & Land Use, 2004-2020
    • "Hall of Fame," 2010-2020
  • Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Florida Super Lawyers, 2009-2020
    • Listed as one of the "Top 100 Lawyers in Florida" seven times
  • Listed, Who's Who Legal, 2013-2020
    • Global Leader, Environment, 2013-2020
    • National Leader, Florida - Environment, 2013-2020
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Florida Powerhouse," 2018
  • 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 5.0

°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.

  • Outside General Counsel, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, 2019-Present 
  • Executive Committee Member – General Counsel, Board of Directors, Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, 2018-Present
  • 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, 2015-2020
    • At-Large Vice-Chair, Environmental Enforcement and Crimes Committee, Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, 2013-2019
  • 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

Educación
  • 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
Con licencia para ejercer en
  • Nueva 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
Idiomas