Overview

Brett Preston is an accomplished trial attorney who is committed to providing responsive and efficient legal solutions to help clients solve their problems.

Brett’s practice emphasizes the defense of professional malpractice, product liability, and life, health, and disability insurance cases. He also represents clients involved in serious personal injury and wrongful death, structure collapse, toxic tort, and commercial disputes. Brett represents attorneys in grievance proceedings before The Florida Bar. His trial experience is extensive and includes arguing a case of first impression before the Florida Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Brett serves as the firm’s General Counsel. He is a Certified Circuit Mediator and regularly mediates complex commercial, insurance, professional liability, and personal injury cases.

Brett has served as the editor of the Trial Lawyers' Forum of The Florida Bar Journal and was a member of The Florida Bar's Civil Procedure Rules Committee.

Brett has been involved in various community activities in the Tampa area. He attends Feather Sound Church and spends most of his leisure time with his family. He enjoys exercising, boating, following college sports, and reading.

Honors

  • AV Preeminent® Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review
  • Florida Super Lawyers (2006-2020)
  • Florida Trend’s Legal Elite (2012, 2014)
  • Super Lawyers Business Edition (2013)
  • Tampa's Top Rated Lawyers
  • The American Lawyer "Top Lawyers"
  • The Best Lawyers in America© (2006-2021)
    • 2021 Tampa Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants Lawyer of the Year
    • 2018 Tampa Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants Lawyer of the Year
    • 2013 Tampa Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants Lawyer of the Year
  • The Best of the U.S. Lawyers

Credentials & Experience

Education

Duke University, B.A., 1983, cum laude

Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, J.D., 1986

  • Order of the Coif
  • Washington University Law Quarterly

Bar Admissions

The Florida Bar

Hillsborough County Bar Association

Federal Bar Association

Court Admissions

All Florida State Courts

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

U.S. District Court, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida

Experience

  • Defending an international steel company in 20 personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits arising out of the collapse of a pedestrian bridge, including substantially contributing to the protocols the court adopted to manage the logistics and complexities of that litigation.
  • Defending an international law firm against a complex, eight-figure legal malpractice claim arising out of a failed business relationship.
  • Defending a local law firm against a complex, seven-figure legal malpractice claim arising out of a liability insurer’s payment of a settlement in excess of policy limits, which concluded promptly after three early and effective depositions.
  • Defending an international steel company in multiple lawsuits arising out of the partial collapse of a hotel.
  • Defending a class action challenging an employer’s right to modify retiree health benefits that were the subject of collective bargaining agreements and ERISA.
  • Representing a corporation in an eight-figure commercial dispute arising from the sale of a manufacturing facility.
  • Defending a law firm in a class action over alleged unfair debt collection practices.
  • Representing a health supplement company to secure a pre-suit recovery against the supplier of contaminated ingredients that caused a product recall.
  • Dissuading an attorney from filing a threatened $3 million ERISA class action by, through administrative remedies, helping the client educate the attorney about the weaknesses of the threatened claim.
  • Representing insurers in actions to rescind insurance policies procured through misrepresentation, and in pre-suit evaluation and investigation of the circumstances giving rise to those suits – which sometimes resulted in advice not to rescind.
  • Representing insurers in claims arising from agents encouraging prospective insureds to invest in (what turned out to be) a Ponzi scheme to fund life insurance premiums.
  • Defending international companies in multidistrict pharmaceutical product liability litigation.
  • Representing insurers in first party insurance coverage disputes.
  • Representing attorneys in grievance and unlicensed practice of law proceedings before The Florida Bar.
  • Representing national company in action to enforce a non-compete.

Professional & Civic

Community & Professional

  • Guardian Ad Litem
  • Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
    • Presidential Review Committee, Chair
    • Contracts Committee, Member
    • Member of Board of Directors, Senior Director, Past
    • Member of Executive Committee, Past
    • Ethics Liaison to Board of Directors, Past
    • Program Chair, 2016 Annual Meeting
    • Convention Chair, 2018 Winter Meeting
    • Litigation Management College Faculty
    • Ethics and Professionalism Committee, Past Chair
    • Law Firm Management Conference, Past Chair
    • Management, Economics & Technology of Practice Section, Past Chair
    • Life, Health and Disability Section, Past Chair
    • Insurance Coverage Section, Member
    • Products Liability Section, Member
    • Trial Tactics, Practice and Procedures, Member
    • Visibility Project, Member
    • Professional Liability Section, Member
    • Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Section, Member
    • Commercial Litigation Section, Member
    • Drug, Device and Biotechnology Section, Member
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Defense Research Institute
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association
  • Florida Academy of Professional Mediators
  • Certified Circuit Mediator
  • Professional Liability Defense Federation

Newsroom

News & Insights

  • Brett and Judge Jennifer Bailey recently presented a webinar on the challenges the parties and the Court faced, and the solutions they adopted, in the 20 consolidated lawsuits that arose out of the collapse of the FIU pedestrian bridge in Miami, Florida.

Articles & Publications

  • "Erosion of the Attorney-Client Privilege." FDCC Corporate Counsel Symposium, September 2019.
  • "Avoiding Ethical/Malpractice Risks in Long-Standing Client Relationships, and Case-Within-a-Case Primer." Professional Liability Defense Federation, October 2018.
  • "Class Action Litigation: Avoiding Legal Ethics Violations and Malpractice Liability." Strafford CLE Webinar, February 6, 2018.
  • "Bad Faith Preventative Measures." Speaker, FDCC Litigation Management College, June 7, 2016
  • “A Real Estate Practitioner’s Guide to Committing Legal Malpractice.” Presenter, Sarasota County Bar Real Estate Lawyers Meeting, May 2016.
  • “Managing Ethical Risks and Avoiding Malpractice in Close Attorney-Client Relationships.” Presenter, DRI Labor and Employment, April 2016.
  • “Ethics and Legal Malpractice-Avoidance Tips for In-House Counsel.” Presenter, DRI Life, Health, and Disability Conference, April 2016.
  • “Role of General Counsel in Law Firms.” Presenter, FDCC Annual Meeting, July 2015.
  • “Change in Demographics for ERISA Claims.” Presenter, FDCC Annual Meeting, July 2015.
  • “Learning from Others: Legal Malpractice Defense.” Presenter, DRI Trial Tactics Seminar, March 2015.
  • “Young Professionals Roundtable: Managing the Tri-Partite Relationship.” Presenter, ABA National Legal    Malpractice Conference, Fall 2014.
  • “Pssst … Secrets of Highly Successful Law Firms.” Presenter, FDCC Annual Meeting, July 2014.
  • “Ethics and Professionalism: Managing Risks and Avoiding Malpractice in Familiar Attorney-Client Relationships.” Presenter, FDCC Annual Meeting, July 2013.
  • “Ethics and Professionalism: Managing Risks and Avoiding Malpractice in Familiar Attorney-Client Relationships.” Presenter, DRI Business Litigation Seminar, May 2013. 
  • “Institutional Risk Management: Firm-Wide Professional Liability Risks and Systems to Manage Them.” Moderator, FDCC-IADC Joint Law Firm Management Conference, May 2013.
  • “What Will They Think of Next? Planning for ‘Over the Horizon’ Disasters.” Presenter, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting, July 2012. 
  • “Case Law Update.” Presenter, ABA National Legal Malpractice Conference Spring Meeting, April 2012.
  • “Managing Risks and Avoiding Malpractice in Familiar Attorney-Client Relationships.” Presenter, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Winter Meeting, March 2012.
  • “Ethics: Managing Risks and Avoiding Malpractice in Familiar Attorney-Client Relationships.” Presenter, Defense Research Institute Life, Health and Disability Conference, April 2011.
  • “Madoff and Me: How to Avoid Accidentally Representing Crooks.” Presenter, ABA National Legal Malpractice Conference Fall Meeting, September 2010.
  • “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Understanding Healthcare Reform Legislation.” Presenter, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Winter Meeting, March 2010.
  • "Risk Management Program: 60 Tips in 59 Minutes.” Presenter, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Winter Meeting, March 2010.
  • “A Lawyer’s Risk Management Program:  60 Tips in 59 Minutes.” Presenter, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel Winter Meeting, March 2010.

Published decisions

  • Edwards Moving & Rigging, Inc. v. Casey Jenkins, et al.
    WL 1545871 8:19-CV-1004-T36SPF  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, April 1, 2020
  • Hitchcock v. USAA Casualty Insurance Company
    WL 2613185 19-11099-HH  United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, June 7, 2019
  • Moxley v. U-Haul Co. of Florida
    WL 7209630 2D18-1530  District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, December 27, 2019
  • Comer v. Gerdau Ameristeel US, Inc.
    WL 4702425 8:14-CV-607-T-23AAS  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, September 8, 2016
  • Comer v. Gerdau Ameristeel US, Inc.
    WL 4702425 8:14-CV-607-T-23AAS  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, September 8, 2016
  • Carlson v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
    WL 3856179 805CV1380T24TGW  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 15, 2016
  • Obediente v. Stonebridge Life Insurance Company
    WL 12830478 8:15-CV-1722-T-27EAJ  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, November 13, 2015
  • Thorn v. Randall
    WL 5094134 8:14-CV-862-T-36MAP  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, October 10, 2014
  • Carlson v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
    WL 272596 8:05-CV-1380-T-24  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, January 24, 2014
  • Carlson v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
    WL 3804991 8:05-CV-1380-T-24  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 19, 2013
  • Carlson v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
    WL 3772485 8:05-CV-1380-T-24  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 16, 2013
  • Carlson v. FedEx Ground Package System, Inc.
    WL 3364446 8:05-CV-1380-T-24  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 3, 2013
  • American National Insurance Company v. Schneider
    WL 12156086 8:12-CV-1683-T35-TBM  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, May 17, 2013
  • Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb
    WL 5507461 2:07-CV-666-FTM-29  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division, November 14, 2012
  • Lacognata v. Hospira, Inc.
    WL 6962884 8:12-CV-822-T-30TGW  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July, 2, 2012
  • Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb
    WL 1698351 2:07-CV-666-FTM-29  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division, May 14, 2012
  • Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb
    WL 1326823 2:07-CV-666-FTM-29  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division, April 17, 2012
  • Miller v. U.S.
    WL 1740020 1:10-CV-38-SPM/GRJ  United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Gainesville Division, May 05, 2011
  • Miller v. U.S.
    WL 1750442 1:10-CV-00038-SPM  United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Gainesville Division, March 29, 2011
  • Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb
    WL 2813369 2:07-CV-666-FTM29DNF  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division, July 14, 2010
  • Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb
    WL 1742105 2:07-CV-666FTM29DNF  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division, April 29, 2010
  • Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb
    WL 2734728 2:07-CV-666-FTM29DNF  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, July 08, 2010
  • Ruby Tuesday, Inc. v. Emmanuel Sheppard & Condon PA
    WL 5218026 309-CV-438-RV-MD  United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Pensacola Division, December 30, 2009
  • Coates v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America
    WL 1043981 8:07-CV-291-T-26TBM, United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, April 16, 2009
  • Mirras v. Time Ins. Co.
    WL 4369260 8:08-CV-1331-T-30EAJ  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, September 16, 2008
  • Craven v. Stonebridge Life Ins. Co.
    WL 4163225 807-CV-1788-T-23MAP  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, September 05, 2008
  • Ehlen Floor Covering, Inc. v. Lamb
    WL 4097712 207-CV-666-FTM-29DNF  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division, September 03, 2008
  • In re Managed Care Litigation
    WL 2944897 00-1334-MD, 03-21296-CIV  United States District Court, S.D. Florida, Miami Division, July 24, 2008
  • American Nat. Ins. Co. v. Glass
    WL 2950111 3:07CV872J16TEM  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division, July 31, 2008
  • Rivers v. Residential Services Group, Inc.
    WL 2776250 8:08-CV-84-T-30TBM  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 15, 2008
  • Walter v. 02HR, LLC
    WL 2359915 8:07-CV-1129 T24TGW  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, June 05, 2008
  • American Nat. Ins. Co. v. Glass
    WL 2157106 3:07-CV-872-J16TEM  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division, May 21, 2008
  • U.S. ex rel. Alderson v. Quorum Health Group, Inc.
    WL 824227 8:99-CV-413-T-23TGW  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, March 26, 2008
  • Coates v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of America
    WL 269133 807CV291T26TBM  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, January 30, 2008
  • Sharkey v. Food & Drug Admin.
    WL 2914212 06-11774  United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, October 05, 2007
  • Midland Nat. Life Ins. Co. v. Scott
    WL 2208828 8:07CV745 T26TBM  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 27, 2007
  • Sharkey ex rel. Sharkey v. Food and Drug Admin.
    WL 508044 204CV552FTM33SPC  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, March 01, 2006
  • Rodriguez v. J.C. Penney Life Ins. Co.
    WL 208775 8:02-CV-695-T-17MAP  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, January 25, 2006
  • Bordenkircher v. American Home Products
    WL 6066933 5:03-CV-443-OC-10GRJ  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division, April 27, 2004
  • Bordenkircher v. American Home Products
    WL 6066904 5:03-CV-443-OC-10GRJ  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division, March 25, 2004
  • Bordenkircher v. American Home Products
    WL 6066924 5:03-CV-443-OC-10GRJ  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division, January 26, 2004
  • Helm v. Foote
    WL 1786095 2D02-663  District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, April 04, 2003
  • Watson v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co.
    WL 34373973 8:01CV368T27MAP  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 11, 2002
  • Demint v. NationsBank Corp.
    WL 1575167 8:94CV2094T23TGW, 8:94CV995T23TBM  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, May 31, 2002
  • Durkin v. Davis
    WL 851300 2D01-2520  District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, May 03, 2002
  • Hayward & Associates, Inc. v. Hoffman
    WL 491223 2D01-1828  District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, April 03, 2002
  • Littell v. U.S.
    WL 480891 8:99CV2808T17EAJ  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, March 11, 2002
  • U.S. ex rel. Alderson v. Quorum Health Group, Inc.
    WL 1480549 8:99-CV-413-T-23TGW  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, November 08, 2001
  • Hayward & Associates, Inc. v. Hoffman
    WL 912681 2D00-4324  District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, August 15, 2001
  • Heilig v. Scott
    WL 33996251 2:99-CV-412-FTM-29D  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, September 20, 2000
  • Heilig v. Scott
    WL 33996252 2:99-CV-412-FTM-29D  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, September 20, 2000
  • Levy v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.
    WL 35184005 96-2296-CIV-T-24(B), 96-2280-CIV-T-24(B)  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, April 19, 1998
  • Cray v. NationsBank of North Carolina, N.A.
    WL 688802 94-981-CIV-T-17E  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, October 21, 1997
  • Watkis v. American Nat. Ins. Co.
    WL 366048 96-624-CIV-T-17A  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, June 13, 1997
  • Unkel v. Liggett Group Inc.
    WL 200046 96-1683-CV-7-17B, 96-1716-CV-T-17B, 96-1710-CV-T-17B, 96-1712-CV-T-17B, 96-1701-CV-T-17B, 96-1689-CV-T-17B, 96-2281-CV-T-17B, 97-580-CV-T-17B, 96-1707-CV-T-17B, 96-1695-CV-T-17B, 96-1698-CV-T-17B, 96-2294-CV-T-17B, 96-2885-CV-T-17B, 96-2640-CV-T-17B, 97-582-CV-T-17B  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, April 10, 1997
  • Modder v. American Nat. Life Ins. Co. of Texas
    WL 67961 88,402  Supreme Court of Florida, February 20, 1997
  • Eloian v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York
    WL 683616 96-336-CIV-T-17A  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, November 25, 1996
  • Modder v. American Nat. Life Ins. Co. of Texas
    WL 328068 95-3020  United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, July 01, 1996
  • Eloian v. Mutual Life Ins. Co. of New York
    WL 379042 96-336-CIV-T-17A  United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division, July 01, 1996
  • Quirk v. Anthony
    WL 52319 89-01682  District Court of Appeal of Florida, Second District, April 25, 1990
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