Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman
Fighting for Justice
|Joseph Slama, Jon Krupnick and Walter "Skip" Campbell|
Jon Krupnick has spent more than 40 years fighting for justice for victims of defective products, medical malpractice, dangerous chemicals and other types of negligence. “We help people who have been beaten up by life,” says Krupnick, who founded Krupnick Campbell Malone Buser Slama Hancock Liberman in 1974 in Fort Lauderdale. “For four decades, we have remained true to our core values, while building a law firm that supports our attorneys and staffers as they have grown in their careers.”
Long known as a plaintiff’s law firm, Krupnick Campbell handles complex automotive, aviation, medical malpractice, products liability, admiralty, wrongful death and personal injury cases. In recent years, the company’s clients have expanded to include corporations and sovereign governments as well.
The firm’s partners are board-certified in civil trial law, and leaders in The Florida Bar, the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Association of Trial Lawyers of America and many other organizations. They are also active volunteers in the community, raising money for medical research and many charitable causes.
Today, Krupnick Campbell has 18 attorneys and 43 staffers, including many who have been with the firm for more than 20 years. “Our little firm has taken on some of the largest corporations and law firms in the world, and gotten tremendous results,” says Krupnick. “We have built a reputation for integrity and excellence and work diligently on behalf of those we represent.”
Launching a New Firm
A native of Cleveland, Krupnick started his legal career as an attorney for Ohio Bell, but disliked the office squabbling. “I came home from a workers’ compensation hearing in the snow and sleet, talked things over with my wife Elaine and decided to move to Florida,” he recalls.
In 1967, Mike Walsh, a Miami insurance defense attorney with a crippled arm and leg, hired Krupnick at $100 a week to be his assistant and carry his briefcases into the courtroom. “My wife and I did a jig when we got the offer, and I couldn’t have found a better teacher,” Krupnick says. “He put his heart into every lawsuit.”
After a year, Walsh began giving Krupnick insurance subrogation cases. Krupnick won his first 17 jury trials with total recoveries for his clients of around $30,000, and his courtroom career was on his way.
In 1974, Krupnick founded his own firm dedicated solely to the representation of injured persons. Walter G. “Skip” Campbell, Jr. was the first lawyer hired, and a year later the firm became known as Krupnick & Campbell.
In the 1970s and ‘80s, Krupnick was a pioneer in products liability cases, and became one of the first Florida attorneys to become board certified in civil trial law. He has obtained more than 135 verdicts and settlements of $1 million or more, including $16.5 million jury award in an automobile product defect case, the largest personal injury verdict in the country for a single claimant at the time.
Meanwhile, Campbell also became known as a “go-to” trial attorney, earning his board certification in civil trial law. “Skip is always the most comfortable lawyer in the courtroom,” says partner Joseph Slama. “When he picks a jury, they like him, and at the end of the case, they love him. He’s a very straightforward attorney – no fluff at all.”
In his career, Campbell has tried more than 800 cases, including 28 trials in one year alone. “I remember one day, when my cases were first, second and third on the judge’s calendar,” he says.
While the number of jury trials continues to fall, Campbell is always ready to step into the courtroom. “Last year, partner Kelly Hancock and I represented a South Florida lawyer in a wrongful arrest case, and we were successful in obtaining an award of more than $200,000 for our client.”
Along with his legal career, Campbell has devoted much of his time to public service. He was elected to the state Senate in 1996, and represented northern Broward County for ten years. This fall, he returned to public office after being elected mayor of Coral Springs.
A Look at the ‘Family’
Through the years, Krupnick Campbell has added numerous young associates who have grown into experienced trial lawyers and partners in the firm, whose culture is based on fairness and mutual respect. “All our partners started here as puppies with the exception of Hancock,” says Krupnick. “We know each other very well, and step in whenever needed.”
For instance Krupnick has loaned the keys to his house in the Florida Keys to several partners after their marriages – with no divorces among them. On a sadder note, a plaque in the office honors the memory of associate Mark R. Giuliani who drowned in 2013 after successfully rescuing two young children caught in a rip current off the Palm Beach County coast.
One of the first new members of the Krupnick Campbell “family” was Kevin Malone, who joined the firm and launched his career in the late 1970s. Since then, his accomplishments include representing more than 200 farmers against E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company, Inc. in regard to its fungicide Benlate®, and after two successful trial verdicts, achieved settlements for his clients in excess of $200 million.
Thomas Buser joined in 1982 followed by Slama in 1984. Both became successful trial attorneys and active leaders in legal associations. Scott Liberman, who joined the firm in 1993, focuses on medical malpractice, nursing home malpractice, product liability, personal injury, and wrongful death cases.
Hancock began his career in 1975 as assistant state attorney and later served as chief of Broward County’s Homicide Division, where he prosecuted some of South Florida’s most famous murder trials. The television movie, “Murder or Mercy” was based on one of his cases. “I consider it a privilege to be here with Skip and Jon,” says Hancock, who became a partner in 1989 and handles automotive, aviation and some types of business cases.
Associate Sean Thompson has been with the firm for a decade, handling medical malpractice, wrong death and other types of cases. “I love what we do at the firm,” he says. “I went to law school, knowing I wanted to help people, and working here is a perfect fit for me.”
Representing Foreign Governments
While most of the firm’s cases involve individual plaintiffs, Krupnick Campbell also represents foreign governments in litigation in the United States. Partners Malone and Carlos Acevedo have represented the sovereign interests of more than 25 nations in the past 15 years, in sensitive large-scale financial matters.
“We represent sovereign interests who have an issue outside their reach that they need to resolve,” says Acevedo. “Globalization has outstripped the legal system’s ability to handle certain types of conduct, so we fashion tools to allow the rule of law to catch up with the speed of commerce. The bad guys take note of those cases and change their behavior in response.”
Like other Krupnick Campbell partners, Acevedo is quick to point out the importance of the firm’s long-term perspective and mutually supportive culture. As he says, “This is a great firm with strong partners who have a clear vision for the future and work well together.”