The DBR has a sympathetic article on Bobby Gilbert's ongoing efforts to hold the State accountable for destroying all of our citrus trees. In it, Bobby says these cases have been one of the greatest learning experiences of his career, and that it has mostly taken over his practice for the last year:
Over the past year, Gilbert said the case has taken over almost his entire practice and his free time. He expects the amount of time to lessen moving forward as colleagues including Nancy La Vista and others at Lytal Reiter Clark Fountain & Williams in West Palm Beach, Michael Pucillo with Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt & Pucillo in West Palm Beach, and Jamie Cole at Weiss Serota Helfman Pastoriza Cole & Boniske in Fort Lauderdale increase their involvement.So for us it is admirable that Bobby and his team keep up the fight, and we wish him well.
Gilbert and his colleagues have spent large amounts of money on the litigation, but he declined to comment how much they have paid out of pocket.
Gilbert and his team will get a piece of the Broward verdict, but he would not say how much the plaintiff lawyers would seek.
La Vista said the cases were taken on a contingency basis.
“If you don’t have contingency fee cases, then you’ll never be able to protect someone’s constitutional rights,” she said. “You’ll never have a day in court for someone that can’t afford a lawyer.”
Meanwhile, the lead attorney for the State, Adorno attorney Wes Parsons, is getting paid $275 an hour to defend these cases to the death. But for Wes, this is a public service. Listen to his reasoning:
“Even if you were to start counting defense dollars versus tree payments, I don’t think it would work out to be cheaper to give money to plaintiffs counsel and their constituents than it is to pay lawyers to defend you,” Parsons said. “The people who will make money are the class members and the plaintiff counsel. That money is going to presumably come out of general revenue of the state of Florida at a time when it’s suffering budget cuts and doesn’t have enough money for schools or law enforcement.”But it has plenty of money to pay Adorno to try multiple canker cases?
Apparently, for Wes, it makes more sense for the State to spend taxpayer money on private lawyers to work up and try canker cases over and over again. That, apparently, is economically more sensible than sitting at a table and working out a reasonable resolution so that affected consumers can receive real renumeration for their lost trees, and not some nonsense voucher at Wal-Mart.
And yes, the plaintiffs' lawyers who worked so hard on this should get paid, too, just like Wes.