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Michael D. Ruel

Michael D. Ruel

Director

110 East Broward Boulevard
Suite 1890
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33301

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Office: 954-951-2200
Fax: 954-951-4400
Additional Offices: Tampa, Pensacola

Michael Ruel’s objective is always to obtain the most favorable resolution of his client’s case quickly and efficiently, minimizing the costs of protracted litigation. Sometimes this means early settlement or dismissal; other times a winning resolution requires a courtroom battle. In either case, Michael’s experience and his proactive approach to client communication allow him to craft the right strategy for each case. He regularly tries jury and bench trials in federal and state trial and appellate courts, as well as advocating for his clients in arbitration.

Michael focuses his practice in the areas of general casualty litigation for primary and excess carriers, including, for example, claims related to:

  • Construction defect and liens
  • Wrongful death
  • Personal injury
  • Premises liability
  • Admiralty and maritime
  • Products liability
  • Environmental torts
  • Contracts and first party insurance disputes
  • Insurance coverage
  • Bad faith claims

Michael’s clients include insurers, architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, marinas and other maritime interests, private businesses and building owners/tenants. Among his first-party clients are the three largest property insurance carriers in Florida, which he represents in matters involving commercial property claims by businesses, apartments, condominiums and homeowners’ associations.

Before embarking on his legal career, Michael served in the U.S. Air Force as a member of the 55th Special Operations. In addition, he has extensive experience in the retail sales, automotive and banking industries, giving him the kind of first-hand, practical understanding of business operations, human resources and cost management that helps ensure favorable outcomes for his clients in many high exposure cases.

Michael’s experience and success have earned him an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the directory’s highest rating for attorneys. He is also frequently invited to speak at seminars relating to his practice areas.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a Hurricane Irma claim following a five-day jury trial in Kusch v. Tower Hill Signature Insurance Company. The case was heard in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida.
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a Hurricane Irma claim following a week-long jury trial in Gidwani v. Tower Hill Select Insurance Company. The case was heard in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida.
  • Received a directed verdict for our client, following an appeal vacating a $3.2 MM compensatory plus punitive damages jury verdict in a construction defect action involving the conversion of apartments to condominiums. Defense fees and costs in excess of $1 MM were awarded. The case, Campus Edge Condominium Association, Inc. v. Arlington Pebble Creek, LLC et al., was heard in the 8th Judicial Circuit in Alachua County, Florida.
  • Obtained a full defense verdict in a sinkhole loss claim following two days of jury deliberations in “sinkhole valley.” The case, Tokash v. Citizens Property Ins. Corp., was heard in the 6th Judicial Circuit in Pasco County, Florida.
  • Received a complete defense verdict in a bench trial involving a vessel fire in a boatyard and judgment on a counterclaim for unpaid storage and repairs plus fees and costs in Richard Arnold v. Heritage Enterprises of St. Lucie, LLC d/b/a Riverside Marina et al. The case was heard in Admiralty, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida.

 

 

OVERVIEW

Michael Ruel’s objective is always to obtain the most favorable resolution of his client’s case quickly and efficiently, minimizing the costs of protracted litigation. Sometimes this means early settlement or dismissal; other times a winning resolution requires a courtroom battle. In either case, Michael’s experience and his proactive approach to client communication allow him to craft the right strategy for each case. He regularly tries jury and bench trials in federal and state trial and appellate courts, as well as advocating for his clients in arbitration.

Michael focuses his practice in the areas of general casualty litigation for primary and excess carriers, including, for example, claims related to:

  • Construction defect and liens
  • Wrongful death
  • Personal injury
  • Premises liability
  • Admiralty and maritime
  • Products liability
  • Environmental torts
  • Contracts and first party insurance disputes
  • Insurance coverage
  • Bad faith claims

Michael’s clients include insurers, architects, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors, marinas and other maritime interests, private businesses and building owners/tenants. Among his first-party clients are the three largest property insurance carriers in Florida, which he represents in matters involving commercial property claims by businesses, apartments, condominiums and homeowners’ associations.

Before embarking on his legal career, Michael served in the U.S. Air Force as a member of the 55th Special Operations. In addition, he has extensive experience in the retail sales, automotive and banking industries, giving him the kind of first-hand, practical understanding of business operations, human resources and cost management that helps ensure favorable outcomes for his clients in many high exposure cases.

Michael’s experience and success have earned him an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the directory’s highest rating for attorneys. He is also frequently invited to speak at seminars relating to his practice areas.

Representative Matters

  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a Hurricane Irma claim following a five-day jury trial in Kusch v. Tower Hill Signature Insurance Company. The case was heard in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida.
  • Obtained a complete defense verdict in a Hurricane Irma claim following a week-long jury trial in Gidwani v. Tower Hill Select Insurance Company. The case was heard in the 17th Judicial Circuit in Broward County, Florida.
  • Received a directed verdict for our client, following an appeal vacating a $3.2 MM compensatory plus punitive damages jury verdict in a construction defect action involving the conversion of apartments to condominiums. Defense fees and costs in excess of $1 MM were awarded. The case, Campus Edge Condominium Association, Inc. v. Arlington Pebble Creek, LLC et al., was heard in the 8th Judicial Circuit in Alachua County, Florida.
  • Obtained a full defense verdict in a sinkhole loss claim following two days of jury deliberations in “sinkhole valley.” The case, Tokash v. Citizens Property Ins. Corp., was heard in the 6th Judicial Circuit in Pasco County, Florida.
  • Received a complete defense verdict in a bench trial involving a vessel fire in a boatyard and judgment on a counterclaim for unpaid storage and repairs plus fees and costs in Richard Arnold v. Heritage Enterprises of St. Lucie, LLC d/b/a Riverside Marina et al. The case was heard in Admiralty, United States District Court, Southern District of Florida.

 

 

EDUCATION & ADMISSIONS

Education

  • J.D., cum laude, Southern Illinois University School of Law, 2007
  • B.A., cum laude, Political Science, University of West Florida, 2003

Admissions

  • Florida, 2008
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, 2010
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, 2010
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, 2009
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

  • The Florida Bar
  • The Hillsborough County Bar Association
  • Broward County Bar Association
  • Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)