J. Joaquin Fraxedas is founder and president of Fraxedas Mediation Firm, a full-service alternative dispute resolution (ADR) firm.

Mr. Fraxedas was first certified as a Circuit-Civil Mediator by the Florida Supreme Court in 1991, and in the past twenty nine years has mediated more than eight thousand complex multi-party actions in state and federal courts, including but not limited to multi-party commercial, construction, admiralty, aviation, railroad, actions against taxing authorities, employment, telecommunications, environmental, franchise, licensing, intellectual property, medical, legal and other professional malpractice, nursing home, catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death, toxic tort, bad faith, class action, multi-district, as well as appellate mediation. Prior to his ADR practice, Mr. Fraxedas’ practice focused on the trial of medical, products liability, and other complex cases.

He has lectured numerous bar and judicial conferences on dispute resolution, including the FJA annual “Workhorse Seminar” for the past eleven years and has served on the faculty of the University of Florida Levin College of Law as an adjunct professor teaching negotiation. He is a Founding Fellow of The American College of Civil Trial Mediators –a national organization of pre-eminent dispute resolution professionals. He is also a Charter Member of The American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). He was also appointed and served as an appellate judge in the panels reviewing claims for the BP-Deep Horizon Gulf Oil Spill Claims program.

EDUCATION

J.D. University of Florida College of Law, 1975
B.A. University of Florida, 1972

COURT ADMISSIONS AND PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS

Florida Supreme Court (1975)
The Florida Bar (1975)
Orange County Bar Association (1975) (Executive Committee 1992-94)
United States Supreme Court (1981)
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida (1976)
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida (1976)
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida (1976)
Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator (1991)
Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal Certified Appellate Mediator (2006)
U.S. District Courts, Middle & Southern District of Florida Certified Mediator (1992)
Fellow, American College of Civil Trial Mediators (1995) (Serves on the editorial board). Membership is by invitation only and limited to a small fraction (less than 1%) of practicing mediators in each U.S. state. Voted Distinguished Fellow 2009.
American Board of Trial Advocates (1989) – Charter Member
National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals (Advisory Committee) – (2007). Membership in the National Academy is also by invitation only and limited to less than 1% of practicing mediators in each U.S. state.

• Charter Member of the Orlando Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (nominated by the executive committee of American Board of Trial Advocates) (1989)
• The Best Lawyers in America (recognized by peers for inclusion)
• Florida Trend’s Legal Elite (recognized by peers for inclusion)
• Florida Super Lawyers – Corporate Counsel Edition (recognized by peers for inclusion)
• Orlando’s Best Lawyers (recognized by peers for inclusion)

PUBLICATIONS AND LECTURES

• Article: Mixed Blessings: The Damage Dilemma in Birth Related Actions, Trial Advocate Quarterly (1989)

• Novel: The Lonely Crossing of Juan Cabrera, St. Martin’s Press, N.Y., (1993)

• Commencement Speaker at Georgia College and State University, (2004)

• Numerous CLE Seminar Presentations to bar and judicial conferences as well as fortune 500 companies and educational institutions (1983 – present).

• Numerous CLE presentations to the “Florida Justice Association Annual Workhorse Seminar”.

Billie-Marie is one of only a few attorneys formally recognized by the State Bar of Nevada, as an attorney “Specialized in the area of Workers’ Compensation.” This recognition and certification is not easy to come by as it takes many years of practice in the area of Workers’ Compensation, a specific number of cases managed and taken to the Appeals level, as well as the Nevada District and Supreme Courts. On top of that, it requires passing a very difficult written and oral examination.

Billie-Marie grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Nevada in 1989. She received her MBA from UNLV and was admitted to the William S. Boyd School of Law Charter Class in 1998. During law school, Billie-Marie interned at the United States District Court, District of Nevada for the Honorable Johnnie B. Rawlinson, followed by a second internship and then continued with Judge Rawlinson serving 2 clerkships when Judge Rawlinson was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. After her clerkships, Billie-Marie’s legal career was focused on complex litigation, focusing on mass torts, primarily in the area of products liability.

In 2007 Billie-Marie joined our law firm, and while continuing to practice products liability and personal injury, her passion to help people turned into an amazing career representing people injured on the job and now manages the firm’s workers’ compensation department.

Some of Billie-Marie’s many accomplishments include co-teaching a Workers’ Compensation class at William S. Boyd School of Law, teaching Administrative Law at the College of Southern Nevada for a number of years, served as a Board Member for the Nevada Justice Association, served as a Board member for the Southern Nevada Association for Women Attorneys, served as a Board member for the national Work Injury Law Group (WILG), and is continually rated Top 100 Work Comp lawyers in the country, amongst many other distinctions.

Billie-Marie continually teaches seminars, webinars and continuing educations classes for attorneys in the areas of Workers’ Compensation, social media, and ethics. She was the editor for the American Justice Associates Workers’ Compensation Division Newsletter editor and continues to assist locally and nationally in advancing the rights and benefits for injured workers and their families. Billie-Marie has also authored countless legal journal articles, authored a chapter in a trial practice book as well as a legal practice manual. Billie-Marie is involved with Women Heart, a cause that strikes a personal chord with her, and has lobbied locally and nationally for women with heart disease. As a result of her volunteer efforts, she hosted the radio show “Double Take.”

Billie-Marie is licensed to practice law in the state of Nevada, as well as in the United Stated District Court for the District of Nevada and the United State Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Shayla Reed concentrates her practice in the area of nursing home litigation. Ms. Reed serves on American Association for Justice’s National College of Advocacy (NCA) Board of Trustees and has taught trial advocacy skills at several AAJ continuing legal education programs including AAJ’s Ultimate Trial Advocacy Course: The Art of Persuasion held at Harvard Law School.

Ms. Reed also serves as the current vice president of the AAJ Nursing Home Litigation Group. She is a graduate of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College and was commended by the International Academy of Trial Lawyers for distinguished achievement in the art and science of advocacy. Ms. Reed is a member of the Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys and the American Association for Justice. Reed Law Offices, PC, LLO is located in Omaha, Nebraska.

Kenneth H. Levinson is the founding partner of Levinson and Stefani, a Chicago firm concentrating in representing families in wrongful death and serious injury matters. Ken co-authored the current edition of Litigating Major Automobile Injury and Death Cases, published by AAJ Press/Thomson-Reuters. He is a graduate of the prestigious Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College. Ken was named by Illinois Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in Illinois for 2010 – 2019 and made the list of the Super Lawyers Top 100 Lawyers in Illinois in 2012, 2016 and 2019.

He is currently the Vice-Chair for AAJ’s Interstate Trucking Litigation Group, the Co-Chair of AAJ’s Jury Bias Litigation Group, and the past Chair of AAJ’s Motor Vehicle Collision, Highway and Premises Liability Section. Ken currently serves on the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association Board of Managers and is one of Illinois’ Board of Governors to AAJ. Ken is a Co-Chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Solo/Small Firm Committee. He is also an invited speaker and faculty member at various trial lawyer programs throughout the country.

Sara L. Williams is the Managing Attorney for Alexander Shunnarah Personal Injury Attorneys, one of the largest personal injury firms in the southeast. In addition to managing the firm, she also practices in the areas of trucking, premises liability, motor vehicle negligence and wrongful death litigation. Sara has collected over $20 million in verdicts and settlements on behalf of her clients. Most recently she was responsible for a $12 million dollar verdict against the Birmingham Max Bus system.

She has been named a “Rising Star” by Alabama Super Lawyers Magazine since 2011. In 2017 she was recognized by the Birmingham Business Journal as one of Birmingham’s “Top 40 Under 40” and in 2018 that same publication honored Sara as one of Birmingham’s Women to Watch. In 2018 Sara was awarded the prestigious Stetson University College of Law Edward D. Ohlbaum Professionalism Award for 2018. The Edward D. Ohlbaum Award honors an individual whose life and practice display sterling character and integrity, coupled with a dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession and the rule of law.

Sara is an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy at Cumberland School of Law and also serves as a coach for Cumberland School of Law’s nationally ranked mock trial teams. She is a 2003 graduate of Florida State University and a 2006 graduate of Cumberland School of Law.

Attorney Travis Mohler concentrates his practice on representing individuals who have been catastrophically injured or killed by the negligence or carelessness of others. The primary focus of his practice is helping those who have been injured or killed in truck crashes; however, he has extensive experience in litigating claims involving all types of catastrophic injuries and wrongful death, including workplace accidents, construction accidents, industrial accidents, and oil and gas explosions. Travis also represents consumers injured by defective products in product liability actions.

Since joining Colombo Law in 2007, Travis has served as first chair and co-counsel on many wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. Mr. Mohler has successfully achieved many multi-million dollar settlements on behalf of clients who were catastrophically injured or killed by the negligence of others.

In 2012, Travis was selected for membership into The National Trial Lawyers: Top 40 Under 40. This membership is by invitation only and is extended exclusively to those trial lawyers who exemplify superior qualifications, trial results, and leadership as a young lawyer under the age of 40. He has been selected to the Top 40 Under 40 every year since and currently serves on the executive committee.

In 2015 – and every year since – Travis was nominated by his peers and selected as a Super Lawyers’ Rising Star in both Ohio and West Virginia; an award limited to the top 2 1/2 percent of lawyers under 40 in each state. Mr. Mohler is Lead Counsel Rated.

Mr. Mohler is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Association (NTLA), The Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys (ATAA), and the American Association for Justice (AAJ).

Travis attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration, cum laude, in 2003. Travis received his law degree from Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio where he graduated summa cum laude. While in law school, Mr. Mohler served as a judicial extern for the Honorable Gregory L. Frost of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.

Travis currently resides in his hometown of Columbus, Ohio with his wife, daughter, and son.

Steve Lowry is an award-winning litigator who has secured record-setting jury verdicts on behalf of his clients. A passionate advocate for individuals who have been harmed by the actions of others, Steve has won numerous top 10 verdicts in Georgia, including a $43.5 million jury verdict for Terhune v. Forum Group Corp et al., the state’s largest judgment on record against a nursing home facility; a $40 million jury verdict for Jenkins v. Lambert, the #1 largest jury verdict in Georgia for 2016; and a $11.5 million verdict for Bilbrey v. United States of America, one of the largest verdicts ever secured against the United States government.

A law review editor and cum laude graduate of Northwestern School of Law at Lewis & Clark College and a magna cum laude graduate of University of Maryland Baltimore County, Steve began his career working alongside Joe C. Freeman Jr., a legendary Atlanta trial lawyer known for defending the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company in suicide cases, representing JCPenney in flammable pajama cases and serving as national counsel for Chrysler.

Early in his career, Steve handled both plaintiff and defense cases, but after he represented the family of a six-year-old girl who suffered severe burns on 80% of her body due to a polyurethane foam mattress, he knew he wanted to dedicate his career to righting the wrongs caused by big corporations and defective products. He is a passionate advocate for clients and has a strong track record of winning cases against major corporations.

Steve excels at product liability cases and tried Zakrocki v. Ford Motor Company case, securing a $10.6 million verdict in New Jersey after demonstrating that his client’s Ford Explorer suffered from a defect that the auto manufacturer knew about and attempted to conceal. He also demonstrated Ford’s negligence in Mundy v. Ford Motor Company, which resulted in a federal investigation of the company and an impressive $40 million jury verdict.

Also focusing on catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases, Steve puts his heart and soul into getting the best results for clients, often securing justice in tragic circumstances. In Allen v. Consolidated OB-GYN, Steve successfully advocated for a woman whose death was the direct result of post-birth complications and lengthy treatment delays, securing a $4.3 million jury verdict.

Steve’s highly competitive nature and his unique ability to persuade jurors and to connect with clients has led to many victories in the courtroom and beyond. He has also earned respect from his peers for his exceptional trial work, including being named to Super Lawyer’s annual list of the top Georgia lawyers since 2007. In fact, Steve has been named to the Georgia Super Lawyers’ prestigious Top 100 list for the last two years.

Steve’s impressive record as a plaintiff’s trial lawyer and as a tireless advocate for clients earned him the American Association for Justice’s illustrious F. Scott Baldwin Most Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award in 2009. In 2011, he was chosen as one of 14 lawyers for the Fulton County Daily Report’s On the Rise. In 2014, he was honored as the only lawyer to be inducted twice into VerdictSearch’s Georgia Verdicts Hall of Fame in the categories of product liability and medical malpractice.

A sought-after speaker, Steve has lectured extensively on all areas of trial work, including trial tactics, wrongful death, product liability, trucking, cross-examination, business trials and intellectual property disputes. He has published numerous articles in the Savannah Morning News, Business in Savannah and various legal publications.

Steve currently serves in leadership positions in numerous organizations, including the Board of Governors of American Association of Justice, Executive Committee of Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, Green Law Board of Directors and Board of Directors of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association. He is also a Past President of the Savannah Trial Lawyers Association.

Steve lives in Savannah with his wife, Leilani, and their two daughters and is the host of The Great Trials Podcast.

Honors and Awards:

Georgia Verdicts Hall of Fame – Inducted twice in Medical Malpractice and Product Liability, 2014
2009 F. Scott Baldwin Award – Most Outstanding Trial Lawyer of the Year by the American Association of Justice, Young and New Lawyers Division
Georgia Super Lawyer (awarded each year 2007 – present)
Fulton County Daily Report “On the Rise” 2011
Elected to American Board of Trial Advocates
Fellow in the American Bar Foundation
Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Top 100 Lawyers in Georgia by the National Association of Trial Lawyers
Georgia Super Lawyers Top 100

Areas of Practice:

Trial
Defective Products
Trucking
Injury
Aviation Accidents
Motor Vehicles Accidents
Wrongful Death
Automotive Defects
Medical Malpractice
Business Litigation
Bad Faith

Bar Admissions:

Georgia, 1998
U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia, 2000
U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia, 1999
U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia, 1999
U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit, 1999
Supreme Court of Georgia, 1999
U.S. Supreme Court

Education:

Lewis and Clark College Northwestern School of Law, Portland, Oregon, 1998, J.D.
Honors: Cum Laude
Law Review: Lewis and Clark College Northwestern School of Law Review, Associate Editor, 1996 – 1998
University of Maryland Baltimore County, Catonsville, Maryland, 1995, B.A.
Honors: Magna Cum Laude with dual degrees
Major: History
Major: Economics

Written Contributions and Speaking Engagements

Regular contributor to BusinessinSavannah.com
Great Trials Podcast

For 3 decades Dorothy ran one of the largest worker’s compensation practices in North Central Florida. After watching her clients suffer at the hands of dishonest DME’s she studied psychological and physical tests, taking the tests herself, meeting the authors to find out how bad doctors spin the science. She was the first woman to chair the Florida Worker’s Compensation section, co founder of Florida Worker’s Advocates and former president of the Marion County Bar Association.

Thereafter, she was asked to write a book about her experience by nationally known jury consultant, David Ball. Her book, Exposing the Deceptive Defense Doctor published by James Publishing was a number one best seller 3 years in a row. It has grown to 2 volumes and is over 1,000 pages with an additional CD of sample depositions.

Sims was also in charge of forensics while representing Casey Anthony in what’s been described as the trial of the century. She’s been referenced in multiple books by other lawyers for her work in leading the forensics team. She’s also published books with David Ball as well as Dr. Michael Freeman, an internationally known forensic epidemiologist.

She now limits her practice to assisting other lawyer in cross examination of expert witnesses. She also consults with lawyers to walk them through what when and how to ask questions regarding a particular expert. Her firm employees a physician who watches videos of defense exams and then prepares a list of questions based on misrepresentation of the science in the video.

She has given over 350 speeches internationally on medical/legal issues throughout the world and is often invited as the state keynote speaker. She has spoken in almost every state in the United States including Hawaii and Alaska. She has also been a featured speaker in France, Jaipur, India, and twice in Kyoto, Japan. She founded the nation’s first company designed to train doctors in India to assist lawyers in real time cross examination.

Sims has been featured in the Wall Street Journal for her work on malingering tests as well as having been an invited author for AAJ’s Trial magazine on multiple occasions and For the Defense, a national criminal defense journal. She’s also been featured in international publications as well as, Lawyers USA.

Sims has been interviewed on multiple television shows including Greta Van Sustern, In Sessions, and Piers Morgan and been the subject of a number of documentaries.

She authored many articles and chapters of books devoted to outing dishonest experts.

Sims and her work has been referred to in other books as follows:

Ball, David Reptile: The 2009 Manual of the Plaintiff’s Revolution Listed on page 263 of his book, Mr. Ball gives non optional reading and refers to Dorothy’s book as “it provides tool after tool for undermining the great shame of the American justice system: Physicians who’s personal oath is to do no harm to their wallets. Sims’s book is to these public menace physicians as is the heel of your shoe to a roach”

As to her work as the defense attorney in the most televised trial in the world, State of Florida v. Casey Anthony, books refer to her as follows:

Baez, Jose, Presumed Guilty “At this point Dorothy, our secret weapon, took over. Dorothy set up her research team at the Quality Inn that resembled Gene Hackman’s team-all those people doing research—in The Runaway Jury.”

“She is the ultimate giver. Dorothy did a great deal behind the scenes helping me prepare and making sure we had all the information we wanted on the experts and on the jury. When it came to work, she was a machine…” page 272

Mason, Cheney Justice In America “ She was…serious and committed…with these qualities she had already established a wide network of researchers to assist her and she brought substantial computer skills to boot.” “Dorothy was relentless…”

Areas of practice:

Traumatic brain injury
Personal injury
Wrongful death
Maritime law
Transportation law
Products liability
Premises liability

Admitted to practice:

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
Florida
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
Education
University of Kansas, B.S.
Indiana University Law School, J.D.
Law Clerk, District Court of Appeals, Southern District of Florida, Honorable Peter T. Fay

Professional memberships:

Association of Brain Injury Trial Lawyers of America, Board of Directors
American Board of Trial Advocates, Charter Member
Florida Justice Association, served on Board of Directors
American Association for Justice, served on Board of Governors and as national officer
Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, served on Board of Directors and as national officer
Association of Former Federal Law Clerks
Roscoe Pound Foundation, Lifetime Fellow, Member
International Academy of Trial Lawyers
Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education
Board Certified by National Board of Legal Specialty Certification

Accomplishments:

Member, Brain Injury Association, Washington, D.C.
1st Coast Brain Injury Support Group
Grove House Local Jacksonville Brain Injury Support Group, Board Member
National Law Journal — twice named in “Top 10 Trial Lawyers”
Named in Best Lawyers of America since 1989
Identified in Florida Monthly and Jacksonville Magazine
Selected to Florida Super Lawyers —2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010
Top Attorneys in Florida as published in The Wall Street Journal — June, 2011

Erica Chavez is an associate at BD&J and serves as the firm’s Marketing Director. Erica directs media relations, branding, advertising, website development, external communications and client relationship support. She also manages and oversees sponsorships, events, charitable contributions, and marketing training for all BD&J brands.

Erica has more than 14 years experience in personal injury law. Prior to joining BD&J, she worked at a well-respected personal injury law firm where she served as the firm’s general manager and manager of catastrophic injury cases. After law school, Erica was asked to found and direct the Marketing Department at BD&J.

Erica earned her Juris Doctor from Southwestern Law School in Los Angeles, California. While in law school. she received several awards and recognition for her academic excellence. She received the Cali and Witkin awards for earning the top grade in her classes, served on the board of several honors societies and clubs, worked as a teaching assistant for evidence contracts and torts, and researched and edited for a professor who focused on gender equality in the legal profession. Erica continues to be involved at Southwestern, where she has served as a guest speaker and lecturer.