18 08, 2022

Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. Has 8 Lawyers Recognized by Best Lawyers®

By |2022-08-18T17:24:52-04:00August 18th, 2022|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |

Congratulations to Caitlin C. Szematowicz, Andrew R. Pardun, Aubrey O. Dicus, Jr., Bruce Marger, Howard P. Ross, Jonathon Douglas, Robert Kapusta, Jr., and Sean K. McQuaid for being recognized among The Best Lawyers in America®.

Each attorney has been chosen for professional excellence in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® for work in specialized areas. Earning this title is one of the highest honors an attorney can earn.

The Best Lawyers in America®, “The Best at What We Do”

Best Lawyers is a company founded on the principle that “the best lawyers know who the best lawyers are.” They have broadcasted respected peer-review publications in the legal field for over four decades.

To be recognized by Best Lawyers is one of the most highly esteemed and widely regarded titles by clients and professionals in the legal community. The publications of Best Lawyers are known for their reliable and unbiased legal recommendations.

They compile a list of the most outstanding lawyers through a rigorous peer-review survey process, which includes tens of thousands of confidential evaluations from lawyers—only the top lawyers who receive enough votes and approval of Best Lawyers to earn this acclaimed title.

Furthermore, Best Lawyers in America® is a company proudly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. They actively focus on creating and running a company that advocates for cultural programs and diversity.

Howard P. Ross

Howard P. Ross is recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers for his practice in Corporate Law, Mergers and Acquisitions Litigation, Commercial Litigation, and Commercial Transactions / UCC Law. He has also been recognized as “Lawyer of the Year” for his work in Corporate Law.

Howard is a respected member of the Florida Bar, with over 50 years of membership. In addition, he’s a member of the American Bar Association.

Howard is a legal expert dedicated to professional excellence in Business Litigation and Civil Litigation. He’s devoted his career to a broad range of business litigation and business transaction law, including:

  • Business Structures
  • Business Disputes
  • Contracts and Other Agreements
  • Real Estate Matters
  • Commercial Title Insurance
  • Residential Title Insurance

Thanks to Howard’s extensive experience, he can quickly and effectively analyze complex litigation and transactional/relationship matters. Another unique strength is his ability to determine the course of action that is in the client’s best interests. He is known for his strategic work in the transactional/relationship area because he is sensitive to preventive law measures. With his understanding of planning and avoiding future disputes, he can create resolutions and make future disputes less difficult and stressful.

Howard is Board Certified in Business Litigation Law and in Civil Trial Law. In addition, Howard is a former arbitrator and former member of the American Arbitration Association’s National Commercial Roster of Neutrals. Howard is a member of The Large, Complex Commercial Case Panel and the M&A and Joint Venture Panel.

In addition to achieving the Best Lawyers in America Award, Howard is recognized as a Florida Super Lawyer, has a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent rating, and is a Recipient of the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award. He’s also achieved the following awards: Martindale-Hubbell Top Rated Lawyer in Real Estate Law, Lawyers of Distinction, America’s Most Honored Professionals, and has an AVVO 10 rating.

Sean K. McQuaid

Sean K. McQuaid is recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers for his practice of Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Litigation.

Sean McQuaid is currently the President of Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. He practices personal injury, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, wrongful death, and criminal law.

Sean was also the President of the St. Petersburg Bar Association for 2020-2021.

Since joining the firm in 2000, he has been the fastest rising lawyer in the firm’s history. Sean joined the firm as an associate in 2000, became a shareholder in 2006, and became a named partner in 2013. Now, he is the President of the firm.

His personal injury practice is one of the top in the Tampa Bay area. He consistently receives 5-star reviews from satisfied clients who speak highly of his work.

Sean is a member of the Florida Bar, the Bar of the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the St.Petersburg Bar Association, the Clearwater Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the Pinellas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and various other legal associations.

Sean began his legal studies at Stetson University College of Law in 1997, graduating with his Juris Doctor and Masters in Business Administration degrees. During law school, he was a member of the Moot Court Board and competed across the country.

Sean also attended Princeton University from 1993-1997, where he was a 4-year varsity letterman and captain of the Princeton University Baseball Team.

Sean’s diverse experiences as a leader and an athlete contribute to his straightforward and competitive approach to practicing law. He is committed to excellence and determined to win.

Aubrey O. Dicus, Jr.

Aubrey O. Dicus, Jr. is recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers for his practice in Commercial Litigation, White-Collar Criminal Defense, Defendants Personal Injury Litigation, and Plaintiffs Personal Injury Litigation. He is the former President of Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A.

Aubrey graduated from Emory University with a degree in Economics and attended Stetson Law School from 1971-1974. Afterward, he partnered with Anthony S. Battaglia and Howard P. Ross.

His almost 50 years of litigation experience has involved everything from personal injury and criminal defense to civil and commercial litigation. Aubrey has represented clients and won multi-million dollar claims. In addition, he’s represented government agencies, including the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Department.

Best Lawyers in America is just one of many accolades Aubrey has earned. He’s also been a Florida Super Lawyer for several years and maintains a Martindale-Hubbell AV preeminent highest rating.

In addition to his myriad of awards and honors, he is highly respected for his involvement and commitment to the local legal community. He is a previous President of the St. Petersburg Bar Association and former President of the Pinellas County Criminal Defense Lawyers’ Association. He also served as a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

Aubrey also served as the Master of the Bench with the American Inns of Court, Pinellas County Chapter, and Barney Masterson Inn of Court. Furthermore, he received “The Barney” for his professionalism, civility, ethics, and legal excellence.

Aubrey is dedicated not only to serving in the legal field but to his local community as well. In addition to all of his professional and community legal services, Aubrey also has:

  • served on the Stetson Law School Advisory Council
  • served as President of the Stetson Alumni Association
  • been Member of the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce
  • Was appointed as the Governor’s Representative on the Community Development Corporation, Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc.
  • served on the Pinellas Emergency Mental Health Services Advisory Board and Finance Committee

Jonathon Douglas

Jonathon Douglas is recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers for his practice in Insurance Law, Insurance Litigation, and Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Litigation.

Jonathon prioritizes fighting for the rights of his clients. He’s distinguished for his compassionate approach to all his clients and knows their recovery and well-being are paramount.

Jonathon attended the University of Florida, earning his BA and BS, both with honors. He then went on to attend Stetson University College of Law. There, Jonathon learned and practiced the art of trial advocacy. He also clerked for the Honorable Shawn Crane and interned at the State Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office during his time at Stetson.

Following his graduation, Jonathan went on to work as Assistant Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. Then he moved on to defending the rights of the accused in State and Federal Courts as an associate with the Hebert Law Group. From there, he worked as a Civil Trial Litigator and partner with Goodis, Thompson & Miller representing some of the largest insurers in Florida.

Jonathon uses his inside knowledge of insurance practices to help policyholders hold insurance companies accountable. He knows how to win a successful insurance claim.

Caitlin Szematowicz

Caitlin Szematowicz is a Partner at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. She has been practicing Civil & Commercial Litigation, Appeals, and Employment Law with the firm since August 2012.

She is not only distinguished for her professional excellence but also known for her active involvement in the legal community. The Best Lawyers in America® is just one of Caitlin’s many accolades. She has also been recognized as a “Rising Star” Florida Super Lawyer for five consecutive years (2018-2022) and was named Florida Trend Legal Elite in 2022.

While she dedicates her career work to the service of others, Caitlin has successfully built an impressive extracurricular portfolio involving numerous leadership positions. She currently serves as the Past President of the Barney Masterson American Inn of Court. In addition, Caitlin has previously served as the President of the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation and Past President of the Pinellas County Trial Lawyers Association. She was also a member of the Board of Trustees for the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation for six years.

Caitlin has served on the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation’s annual professionalism seminar committee and is appointed to the Sixth Judicial Circuit’s Professionalism Committee. She was also selected twice as a speaker for the Florida Bar Practicing with Professionalism CLE.

Her peers chose her as a recipient of the Barney Masterson American Inn of Court’s Thomas E. Penick, Jr. “The Rock” Award for her exceptional service to the community.

Caitlin graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in May 2012. Before that, she graduated Cum Laude from the University of Tampa’s Honors Program in 2008.

Caitlin graduated from law school with Pro Bono and Criminal Justice certificates. She was also a notable research associate with the Florida Innocence Commission, contributing significant research work. As such, she was recognized for her outstanding research contributions to the Florida Innocence Commission’s Final Report to the Supreme Court of Florida.

During her school years, she worked as an appellate law clerk for a firm in Washington, DC. She also was an extern at the US Attorney’s Office and a Certified Legal Intern at the State Attorney’s Office.

Andrew R. Pardun

Andrew R. Pardun was recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers for Real Estate Law.

He is currently a partner with the firm. He specializes in the following areas: Commercial & Residential Title Insurance, Commercial and Residential Real Estate Closings, and Business Law.

Andrew received his Juris Doctorate Degree at Stetson University College of Law and his MBA with honors. He completed his MBA with a perfect 4.0 GPA and was a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honors Society.

In addition, Andrew completed his Master of Laws Degree in Taxation at Villanova University. Before that, he attended the University of South Florida for his undergraduate studies, majoring in Finance. He also served as the President of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and Vice President of the Interfraternity Council.

Andrew’s has been recognized him in the legal community with a perfect 10/10 ranking from AVVO. He’s also a Super Lawyer’s Rising Star, one of the most distinct honors available to Florida attorneys.

Andrew is comfortable in leadership positions and has continuously held them throughout his life. After college, Andrew gained experience working in the financial services industry and co-owned a real estate investment firm in Tampa.

Andrew is the current Treasurer of the St. Petersburg Bar Association. He has also served as the Chairman of the Real Property Section of the St. Petersburg Bar Association.

Mayor Rick Kriseman recently appointed Andrew to the City of St. Petersburg’s Nuisance Abatement Board. He is also an active member of the Attorneys’ Title Fund, Pinellas Realtors Organization, and The Barney Masterson’s American Inn of Court.

Bruce Marger

Bruce Marger is recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers for his practice in Litigation and Practice in Trusts and Estates.

Bruce is also experienced and practices in the following fields: estate planning, estate and gift tax planning, income tax planning for estates and trusts, probate and trust administration, and real property law, as well as probate and trust litigation and planning related to qualified plan/IRA distributions.

After graduating from Miami Senior High, he completed his higher education studies at the University of North Carolina and Harvard Law School. Bruce double-majored in Political Science and Accounting. While at UNC, he was also chair of the Debate Council and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Beta Gamma Sigma. Then, while at Harvard, he concentrated his studies on tax and estate planning.

He is currently an active member of the Florida Bar. In addition, he serves as Chair of the Judicial Poll Committee and Chair of the Real property, Probate, and Trust Law Section. He also contributed to developing the board certification in Wills, Trust and Estates law. Furthermore, Bruce is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC).

A respected veteran, Bruce served in the US Air Force and Air Force Reserves for 15 years before practicing law. He earned a rank as a Major before leaving the service to practice law full-time. He is married to his college sweetheart, Mary Ann, and they have three children.

Robert Kapusta, Jr.

Robert Kapusta, Jr. is recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers for his practice in Real Estate Law.

Robert’s expertise in Real Estate Law is varied and extensive; he practices in the following areas: Mergers and Acquisitions, Tax and Estate Planning, and Business and Corporate Law.

Prior to practicing with Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., Robert practiced with Fisher & Sauls. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Cornell University, Juris Doctor degree from Stetson University College of Law, and Master of Laws (LLM) degree in taxation from the University of Florida College of Law.

Robert is also a Certified Public Accountant and is admitted to practice in all Florida courts.

While not practicing law, Robert volunteers his time and talents to local community organizations. He is passionate about helping local businesses grow. As such, he also helps foster the growth of economic vitality, arts education and appreciation, and capital school improvements.

Additionally, Robert dedicates himself to expanding educational programming opportunities in St. Petersburg. He does so through various leadership positions and civic activities. Aside from his awards as an outstanding legal professional, he’s also won the following awards:

  • H. Bernice (“Bernie”) Lodge Lay Person of the Year Award for 2008-2009 from the St. Petersburg Kiwanis Club
  • “Hero Among Us” award in 2015 from the St. Petersburg Bar Foundation in recognition of his tireless community service

Elite Attorneys, Helping Clients in Need

The firm would like to congratulate all 8 attorneys on achieving The Best Lawyers in America® award. This would not have been without such wonderful and loyal clients. The goal of each of our lawyers is to put the client’s best interest first.

26 07, 2022

Florida, the Lightning Capital of the United States

By |2022-07-26T12:24:44-04:00July 26th, 2022|Categories: Hurricane Damage Law, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , |

As a peninsula surrounded by water, Florida sees weather disturbances every year. Florida’s heat, humidity, and winds create the perfect conditions for thunderstorms.

If you live in Florida, you’re probably well acquainted with the turbulent weather patterns. You’ve probably also witnessed a good amount of lightning. But, hopefully, you’ve never had or will need to deal with lightning damage. However, if you live in Florida, that likelihood is higher than in other states. If your home has been subjected to lightning-related damages, contact a Florida property damage attorney today who can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Florida, the Lightning Capital of the United States

Florida is no stranger to turbulent weather patterns as a state that regularly experiences hurricanes and tropical storms.

Lightning is an incredibly frightening force of nature that Florida is all too familiar with. It can cause fires and power surges, leading to extensive property damage.

Florida sees so much lightning annually that the National Weather Service has given it the distinction of “lightning capital of the US.” In the past month alone, there have been numerous lightning-produced house fires, one in Tampa and another one in Valrico, to name a few.

The area between Orlando and Tampa is a high-risk zone with the highest lightning strike rate in Central Florida. If you live in this area, you are probably familiar with regular thunderstorms throughout the year.

The high frequency of lightning in Central Florida can be attributed to its geographic location and highland climate, compared to lower temperatures on both sides of the peninsula.

As the lightning capital, Florida is the leading state for lightning-related property damage claims. While lightning damage may seem like a freak accident with a low probability, you’d be surprised how common they are in Florida. In fact, lightning strikes cause about $400 million in damage annually in the US.

Lightning Damage Statistics in Florida and the US

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), Florida is the top state in the nation for lightning insurance losses. Here are some additional statistics:

  • In 2021, there were 5,339 lightning damage claims in Florida
  • The total value of claims in 2021 amounted to $88.3 million
  • The average cost per claim in 2021 was $16,552

Some national statistics on lightning-related damage claims in the US:

  • While 2020 was the fourth consecutive year with a decrease in the number of lightning damage claims in the country, the average cost of claims more than doubled since 2017
  • Lightning-related claims dropped 6.9% from 2019 to 2020, but the value of the claims increased by 124.6% ($920.1 million in 2019 to $2.1 billion in 2020)
  • While Florida takes the lead with the highest count of annual claims, California usually has the highest average cost per claim due to the severity of destruction from lightning-produced fires.
  • The average cost per claim in 2021 for California was about $154,574.

What Types of Damage Can Lightning Cause?

There is an average of $451 million in direct property damage caused yearly by lightning. The damage that results from lightning can be much more damaging than homeowners realize.

When lightning strikes, it can cause electrical surges that result in deadly fires and severe damage. It can damage appliances, electronics, computers, phone systems, electrical fixtures, air conditioning systems, and the entire electrical foundation of a home.

If lighting hits the inner parts of the walls in a house, it can cause a surge in the electrical circuits, which would cause a house fire. In addition, lightning can potentially ruin your home’s plumbing system. If lightning hits any of your plumbing, it can cause leaks and water damage.

Even lightning that does not directly strike your home but hits the ground can cause issues for your home. The shock waves created by lightning can ruin the foundation of your house.

Steps To Take After Your House Gets Damaged By Lightning

If you want to file a property insurance claim after your house gets struck by lightning, you’ll need to follow a few crucial steps.

First, take pictures and note all damages to your property. Next, contact your insurance company and make a claim. Create a thorough list of all damaged items and property. Then, call your local fire department as soon as possible, and note the date and time you called them. The next step is to contact a professional electrician or plumber to inspect your house and document the damage caused by lightning.

Sometimes insurance companies deny claims because homeowners do not provide sufficient evidence to prove that lightning caused the damage. That’s why it’s vital to take pictures of all damage from lightning, like holes or asphalt.

Lastly, the most critical step will be to get a Florida property damage attorney who can guide you through the claims process and help protect your legal rights as a homeowner.

How Long Do I Have To Make a Lightning Damage Claim?

Florida’s statutes allow homeowners to file a damage lawsuit five years after the lightning strikes. However, bear in mind that insurance companies require policyholders to file a claim much sooner, usually within 60 days of the incident.

Once you submit an insurance claim, the insurance company will investigate your claim and respond. In addition, they will probably offer you a settlement to compensate you for repairs and other damages you may have incurred.

Florida Property Damage Claim Attorneys

Sadly, Florida homes suffer the consequences of natural disasters like hurricanes and lightning every year. When that happens, you need an experienced property damage attorney who will fight on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve. Furthermore, having strong litigators who can negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf means you can focus on repairing your home.

Contact an experienced Florida property damage attorney today for a free consultation, or call (727) 381-2300.