Judge Watson's Attorney Warns JQC That It's Reminiscent Of KGB

, Daily Business Review

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Laura M. Watson
Laura M. Watson

McGrane disputed Kopelman's claim that the bad faith punitive damages, at most, would be $2 million. If that were so, Progressive would never have made a $3.5 million offer in talks with Stewart Tilghman, he said.

'Person With Integrity'

McGrane characterized the PIP attorneys as an unsophisticated group. He said Progressive realized its real exposure came from Stewart Tilghman and that team had to be removed.

Perhaps the most damning evidence was Watson's agreement to stand in the shoes of Progressive and defend the insurer against any clients who disagreed with the settlement. During trial, Watson changed her response several times but in the end acknowledged the legal implication of the indemnification clause.

Sweetapple emphasized Watson's surprise at how the clause put her in an adverse position to her clients. He argued she was "out-lawyered" by the Progressive legal team, but that shouldn't be cause to remove her.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler of Seiler Sautter Zaden Rimes & Wahlbrink said he has known Watson for years and respected her as a lawyer for her hard work and legal acumen. He called her "a person with integrity." Seiler added she has built a good reputation for her knowledge and demeanor on the bench.

Seiler represented Watson's ex-husband and former law partner Darin Lentner in the trial against Stewart Tilghman.

Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Kerry Evander, who chairs the JQC panel, said he would consider the panel's findings and submit a report to the Florida Supreme Court. He gave no indication when that might be.

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