U.S. News and World Report issued its annual rankings of Best Law Firms and Best Lawyers this month. Partners Rebecca Creed and Bryan Gowdy are both ranked in the First Tier of appellate practice lawyers. Of special note, Bryan Gowdy was recognized as Lawyer of the Year in the appellate practice section of the Jacksonville metro market. D. Gray Thomas, of counsel, is also included in the First Tier of white collar criminal defense lawyers, as well as appellate practice.
Gray Thomas, of counsel to Creed & Gowdy, successfully challenged a criminal conviction on charges of child sexual abuse. After the jury was selected but before the trial, bikers wearing leather jackets labeled "Bikers Against Child Abuse" were in courthouse hallways where some jurors were waiting. After the trial judge ordered them to not to wear the jackets in the courthouse, they sat in the spectator area of the courtroom closest to the jury throughout the trial. The First District Court of Appeal found that the circumstances created an unacceptable risk that the jury's verdict was influenced by factors other than the evidence in violation of the defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial. The court ordered a new trial. The opinion can be found here.
Agreeing with Creed & Gowdy's arguments, the Fifth District Court of Appeal in this decision invalidated a medical provider's form arbitration agreement as against the public policy of Florida's Medical Malpractice Act. Creed & Gowdy persuaded the Fifth District to not follow a previous decision of the Second District Court of Appeal, which had upheld the validity of the same form arbitration agreement used by the same medical provider.
Creed & Gowdy successfully represented a class of homeowners in South Florida who alleged an aerospace company contaminated their groundwater, causing their property values to plummet due to health concerns. The Eleventh Circuit reinstated the homeowners' case, holding the trial court erred by demanding excessive factual proof at the dismissal stage of the litigation. Briefing and oral argument were done by shareholder, Bryan Gowdy. The opinion can be found here. Media coverage can be found here.
Creed & Gowdy successfully defended an appeal filed by the City of Jacksonville against a firefighter who missed work after his doctor advised him his hypertension and coronary artery disease required him to undergo catheterization. The City contended the days of work the firefighter missed during recovery from catheterization were not a result of his heart disease and should not be covered by workers compensation. In a written opinion, the First District Court of Appeal sided with the firefighter. Bryan Gowdy and Jennifer Shoaf Richardson handled the appeal. Read the opinion here.