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Evelyn M. Merchant

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Ms. Merchant is a founding member of Berk, Merchant and Sims, PLC and has been an AV rated attorney since 1997. Her practice focuses on civil litigation of first and third party insurance coverage including commercial and residential insurance claims and bad faith/extra-contractual claims. Ms. Merchant has an emphasis in special investigations of claims involving fraud, misrepresentation or concealment, including arson and other intentional acts. Ms. Merchant also handles third party liability defense of premises liability, wrongful death, professional liability, construction litigation, product liability, nursing home defense, medical malpractice and complex commercial contract disputes. Additionally, she handles matters in subrogation, appraisal and arbitration and has extensive experience in pre-suit property claims investigation. In addition, Ms. Merchant has served as an expert in legal malpractice and attorney fee disputes.
A vigorous litigator, she has successfully tried more than fifty cases to verdict. In the last seven years she has tried seventeen windstorm cases with thirteen defense verdicts, two verdicts in favor of the plaintiff for less than the insurer’s offer and two settled during trial for less than the pre-trial offer. Ms. Merchants professional accomplishments throughout her career have been recognized by her peers, awarding her an AV Preeminent Peer Review rating from Martindale-Hubble, its highest rating for ethics and legal ability.
Ms. Merchant earned her law degree from Nova Law School in 1985. She is admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit and all U. S. District Courts of Florida. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Federal Bar Association, the Florida Bar Association, the Dade County Bar Association, the Florida Defense Lawyers Association, The Claims Litigation Management Alliance and the Defense Research Institute. She is a member of Windstorm Insurance Network and a member of the Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention (FACAP). She is a frequent speaker and has presented at the annual Windstorm conference and FACAP as well as the Miami Dade Bar association, the National Business Institute, The Broward County Young Lawyers’ Assoc., Federal Court Legends and numerous in-house presentations for various insurance companies. She is also a certified speaker for the Department of Financial Services.

Position at BMS and practice area(s)

  • Partner
    • Insurance Defense Litigation (1st & 3rd Party)
    • Insurance Coverage Litigation (1st & 3rd Party)
    • Bad Faith Coverage & Litigation (1st & 3rd party)
    • Bench, Jury Trials & Arbitrations
    • Special Investigations with emphasis on Arson
    • Misrepresentation and other types of Fraud
    • Personal Injury Litigation (Premises Liability, Construction Defects, Products Liability, Professional Liability, Nursing Home Defense, Medical & Legal Malpractice)
    • Subrogation
    • Appellate
    • Expert Witness (Attorney’s Fees – Insurance Coverage)

Jurisdiction(s) of admission and total years of practice

  • Florida Bar 1985
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit

Law School

  • B.S. (1978) Florida International University, Miami, Fl.
  • J.D. (1985) Nova University of Law Center (Dean’s List)

Organizational affiliation

  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent peer review Rating since 1997
  • Florida Bar Grievance Committee
  • The Florida Bar Association (Member Torts & Insurance Practice Section)
  • The American Bar Association (Member Torts & Insurance Practice Section, Property Insurance Law, Insurance Coverage Litigation, Products Liability)
  • Member Dade County Bar Association/Speaker
  • Defense Research Institute – Member
  • Florida Advisory Committee on Arson Prevention – Member/Speaker
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association – Member
  • Windstorm Insurance Network – Member/Speaker
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) Member/Speaker
  • Certified Instructor, Florida Department of Financial Servicese
  • South Florida Claims Association – Member/Speaker
  • Nova Law School—Trial Advocacy Instructor and Moot Court Judge

Select Cases

  • Singer v. Underwriters at Lloyds of London, Pinellas Circuit Ct., Case No. 02-3136
  • Vantage View Condominium Assoc. v. QBE, USDC, So. Dist. Case No. 05-15299-CA20
  • Atriums Condo Assoc. v. QBE, USDC So. Dist., Case No. 08-80543
  • King Cole Condo Association v. QBE, USDC So. Dist., Case No. 08-23350
  • Shaw-Caillouet v. Bonati Institute, Pesco Circuit Court, Case No. 51-2005 CA-3022
  • Ocean View Condominium Assoc. v. QBE, USDC So. Dist., Case No. 11-CV-60447
  • Sea Edge Condo Assoc. v. QBE, USDC So. Dist., Case No. CV-61154
  • Garden-Aire Condo Assoc. v. QBE, USDC So. Dist. Case No. 10-61985
  • 200 Leslie Condo Assoc. v. QBE, USDC So. Dist. Case No. 10-61984
  • Biscayne Cove Condo Assoc. v. QBE, USDC So. Dist. Case No. 10-23728
  • SB Holdings v. Indian Harbor Insurance, USDC Mid. Dist., Case No. 6:19 CV 00668