To be a top notch litigation attorney requires ability, superior training and mental toughness. Mr. Sherman has displayed these qualities throughout his more than 35 years as a lawyer. He has achieved extraordinary results for his clients, often in high stakes cases, even when the odds appeared stacked against him. Mr. Sherman’s philosophy is that once a case is filed, the lawyer and client must assume the case will go to trial and they must prepare accordingly. The irony is that diligent preparation not only increases the chances of winning at trial, it actually increases the chances for achieving a favorable settlement. This approach combined with his extensive training, experience and competitive personality equips Mr. Sherman to represent his clients well.
Mr. Sherman’s educational background is unique. Directly after college, he became a high school teacher, a guidance counselor and a wrestling coach where he developed many skills that translated well to his work as a trial lawyer. After seven years of teaching, counseling and coaching, Mr. Sherman entered law school with plans to bring his talents to the courtroom. While in law school, Mr. Sherman taught legal research and writing to first year law students. Later, Mr. Sherman became a member of the Law Review. Ultimately, he was elected its Editor-in-Chief by fellow members of the Law Review and he later became the Vice President of the National Conference of Law Reviews. Mr. Sherman exhibited exceptional advocacy ability as well by winning the law school’s intramural moot court competition and he later became a member of the law school’s national moot court team which earned 1st place at the F. Lee Bailey National Moot Court Championship in San Diego, California. Mr. Sherman enjoyed every minute of law school and, while there, he was sure to maximize all opportunities to develop his potential as a lawyer.
Mr. Sherman began his law career working exclusively on personal injury cases at law firm of Spellacy & McFann. Soon, he was recruited and hired by the prestigious Miami law firm of Fine, Jacobson, Schwartz, Nash, Block & England where he worked in the highly regarded litigation department with the opportunity to work on a broad range of litigation matters. A strong desire to choose his own clients and cases led Mr. Sherman to start his own firm so he eventually became a founding partner in the law firm of Sherman & Waldman which later evolved into Sherman, Waldman, Bell & Ritter. Ultimately, Mr. Sherman returned to a solo practice where he achieved some of his greatest successes.
While Mr. Sherman has achieved countless favorable outcomes for his clients, the following cases were notable for their landmark implications:
- Maribel Farinas v. Nicholas Copertino, Case No. 97-3008 AF. This case involved one of the most horrific car accidents in the history of the state of Florida. Five children died; Maribel Farinas was catastrophically injured and became a quadriplegic. Other victims were seriously hurt. After years of litigation and nearly a month-long trial, the jury awarded $29.2 million to Maribel Farinas and her Mother, Margarita Farinas. This verdict was essentially a first step to an insurance bad faith action asserting that the insurance company prematurely exhausted the policy limits without due consideration for the Farinas claims thereby breaching fiduciary obligations owed to their insured which exposed him to excess verdicts.
- Maribel Farinas v. Florida Farm Bureau General Insurance Company, 850 So.2d 555 (4th DCA 2003). This case was a bad faith action against Copertino’s insurance company filed in an attempt for collect on the Farinas judgment. The trial court threw the case out of court on summary judgment. Mr. Sherman filed an appeal on behalf of Farinas. The 4th District Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order and certified the case to the Florida Supreme Court as a matter of great public importance. After submission of briefs, the Florida Supreme Court denied certiorari allowing the favorable decision from the 4th District Court to stand. This landmark decision clarified the fiduciary duties of good faith owed by an insurance company to its insured when there are multiple claimants and inadequate policy limits from a single accident. The court held, as argued on behalf of Farinas, that before exhausting the available policy limits the carrier must investigate all claims, it must evaluate all claims, it must keep the insured apprised of the claims resolution process and it must attempt to minimize the magnitude of potential excess judgments through a reasoned settlement process. The ruling by the Florida Supreme Court led directly to a confidential settlement at mediation.
- U.S ex rel. Sal A. Barbera v Amisub (North Ridge Hospital, Inc.) and Tenet Healthcare Corporation. , Case No. 97-CV-6590. This whistleblower case was brought pursuant to the qui tam provisions of the Federal False Claims Act. It was litigated for nearly seven years in coordination with the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorneys’ office for the Southern District of Florida. At the time of the settlement, the outcome was the largest Federal False Claims Act recovery ($22.5 million plus attorney’s fees), in favor of the United States against a single hospital accused of violating Federal Stark laws.
It is apparent that Mr. Sherman takes great pride in the work he performs for his clients. He is also proud of the recognition he has received from his peers who have given him a Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating of “AV—PREEMINENT” — the highest rating possible for both legal ability and ethical standards. Although Mr. Sherman’s legal training has always been strong, he chose to go back to school to earn his LL.M degree at Temple University where he became one of a select few attorneys in the United States to possess a Master of Laws in Trial Advocacy. Mr. Sherman now looks forward to his association with Shapiro, Blasi, Wasserman & Hermann, P.A. and the challenges ahead.