Tampa attorneys Steve Yerrid and Carl Nelson featured in Florida Trend

Jul 28, 2010

Florida Trend magazine’s August issue has nifty piece – dubbed “Oil in the Court” – about Florida’s legal strategy in dealing with BP on the oil catastrophe

Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid has been appointed by Florida Governor Charlie Crist as Special Counsel to advise him and the state on such matters on a pro bono basis.

A bit more about Steve Yerrid: he has won upwards of 200 jury verdicts and settlements of more than $1 million over his career, including the nation’s largest jury verdict awards in two of the past several years. Most recently he secured what’s believed to be the biggest arbitration award in Florida’s – and the country’s – history.

Yerrid was a member of the “dream team” of a dozen of Florida’s finest trial lawyers who in the late 90s joined to battle Big Tobacco on behalf of the citizens who had been injured by that deadly product. Over several years of grueling work, he and the team did what would have been beyond the capacity of the state to accomplish. In the end, Big Tobacco was forced to repay taxpayers $11 billion.

As a young trial lawyer, he successfully represented the pilot of the Summit Venture, a phosphate freighter that on May 9, 1980 rammed the Sunshine Skyway bridge, causing its collapse and plunging 35 people to their deaths.

Tampa attorney Carl Nelson, of Fowler White Boggs, is an expert on maritime oil spill legal matters.

Nelson represented owners of vessels involved in Florida’s worst environmental disaster – the $50-million cleanup and damage costs of the huge oil spill resulting from the collision the 1993 collision of three vessels in Tampa Bay. This accident – and the court battle that followed – was the first significant oil spill case since enactment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, which set much of the groundwork for holding oil companies responsible for oil spills (a law born of the 11 million-gallon 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska).