CORAL GABLES, Fla.–LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – A team of highly experienced Coral Gables-based attorneys played an important role in securing a $521 million verdict for Portugal’s Espirito Santo Bank against accounting firm BDO Seidman for negligent financial audits performed over several years at E.S. Bankest, a Miami factoring company. Those audits were blamed for facilitating one of the largest bank frauds in South Florida history. Lead trial counsel Steven Thomas of the internationally renowned law firm Sullivan & Cromwell in Los Angeles relied on the trial support and expertise of co-counsel Gonzalo R. Dorta, a solo practitioner, as well as Hector J. Lombana of Gamba & Lombana and Geoffrey Marks of Billbrough & Marks through the four and a half month trial.
“The local South Florida attorneys were honored to have worked side by side with Steven Thomas and his fine firm, which is fortunate to count such a masterful trial attorney among its partners,” said Dorta. “Cases of this complexity and magnitude demand the right combination of lawyers to succeed, and I believe national firms are now more likely to focus on the reputation and trial experience of local practitioners rather than the stature of the law firm when considering local trial counsel.”
Lombana concurs with Dorta and believes that the South Florida attorneys played an integral role.
“For our part, we are very pleased and proud of our work in this landmark case,” said Lombana. “I believe the experience and counsel of each of the South Florida lawyers who worked with Thomas and his trial team proved to be invaluable.”
A Miami-Dade Circuit Court jury decided in June that Chicago-based BDO, the nation’s fifth largest accounting firm, was grossly negligent in its duty to detect the massive fraud at Bankest. In the damages phase, the same jury deliberated for only one hour on Monday, August 13, in deciding that BDO must pay $170 million in compensatory damages. The following day, the jury deliberated for slightly more than an hour and concluded that BDO must also pay $351 million in punitive damages, for a total of $521 million.
Gamba & Lombana P.A. is comprised of highly experienced trial lawyers who focus on litigation and commercial law. Each of the firm’s partners has more than 30 years of experience in trying and winning cases in South Florida courts in personal injury, insurance law, medical malpractice, wrongful death and commercial law matters. For cases involving commercial and appellate matters, the firm at times calls on the experience and capabilities of Gonzalo R. Dorta, Esq., a highly experienced trial lawyer and commercial specialist, and the partners of Billbrough & Marks P.A., a highly regarded appellate firm that maintains an of counsel affiliation with Gamba & Lombana.
Additional information on the firm is available at www.gambalombana.com or by calling (305) 448-4010.