Best Law Firms Rankings

Keller & Mesa L.L.P.

1 National Ranking & 1 Metro Ranking  |  Website

Significant Matters

  • Collision between the tanker “Robert Watt Miller” and the Dredge “Alaska” in the St. John's River (1975) – Participated in defense of multiple wrongful death and personal injury claims, ship losses, loss of use claims. 
  • Fire aboard Cruise Vessel Emerald Seas at Little Stirrup Cay, Bahamas (1985) – Handled owner’s internal investigation, public hearings by Coast Guard and NTSB.  
  • Grounding of the M/V “Wellwood” (1988) – Opposed the United States and Florida in the first living coral reef case under The Nat’l. Marine Sanctuaries Act.  
  • Collision between Cruise Ship “Celebration” and the Cuban Flag Freighter, “Capitan San Luis” (1988) – Defended hearings conducted by Coast Guard and NTSB, successfully contesting NTSB’s attempt to exercise jurisdiction.  
  • Fire aboard Cruise Ship “Sovereign of the Seas” (1991) – Represented shipowner in investigations and hearings conducted by Coast Guard, NTSB, and Flag State; determined cause and origin of fire and analyzed firefighting response.
  • Class Action for Unearned Wages (1992) – Defended major cruise line in class action for unearned wages concluded by decision of 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Groundings of tugs and tows in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (1993) -- Defended dredging contractor against the United States imposition of fines, penalties, and damages, through appeal to 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Formation of cruise line (1996 - 1999) – Led team of counsel working with management to start up and operate major brand cruise line.
  • Grounding of the M/V “Igloo Moon” (1997) - Represented owner to effect salvage of butadiene carrier, handled governmental response management, and, defended action under The National Parks Protection Act.
  • Fire aboard Cruise Ship “Ecstasy” (1998) – Represented owner, determined fire cause and origin.
  • Grounding of Cruise Ship “Monarch of the Seas” in St. Maartin (1998) - Represented owners with respect to salvage and repairs, and, defended claims by government for environmental damages.
  • Channel embarrassment between Cruise Ship “Sensation” and Integrated Tug and Barge “Navigator/Ocean 250” (1999) - Represented cruise line in Coast Guard investigation and defended damages claims asserted by ITB.
  • Formation of fast ferry service between east coast of Florida and Bahamas.  (2000).
  • Collision between Cruise Vessel “Norwegian Dream” and M/V “Ever Decent” in English Channel (2000) - Represented cruise line defending U.S. actions brought by passengers and assisting with defense of actions in U.K. courts.
  • Purchase of day-cruise fleet (2005) – Represented lender in financing purchase of 11 vessels.  
  • Claim for insurance coverage relating to alleged violations of statutes governing discharge of pollutants from ships (2006) – Represented cruise line handling investigations of fleets’ waste streams management, and, coordinated with Norwegian counsel to successfully arbitrate coverage denial by P&I Club.  
  • Served as admiralty counsel to represent financial institution seeking to foreclose 3 preferred ships mortgages against cruise line in bankruptcy (2005) - Managed defense of 147 personal injury claims, 450+ necessaries lien claims and claims by unsecured creditors, as well as, prosecuted claims under hull and machinery policies and title policies. 
  • Class Action for earned wages (2007) – Advised major cruise line on legal defense of 25,000 position class action for wages and penalties, excess of $1BB. 
  • Sinking of Barge ZT 202 blocking Miami River Ship channel (2008) – represented dredging contractor with respect to salvage and disposal of barge and unexploded ordinance, and, liaised authorities, and, defended third party claims.
  • Marina fire resulting in loss of two mega-yachts, damages to 13 yachts and marina property (2008) – Represented Marina in limitation proceedings.
  • Fleet Financing (2011) – Engaged by financial institution to prepare loan documents and close purchase/financing transactions of a day/dinner cruise fleet and charter fishing fleet.
  • Insurance coverage re: commercial transactions (2011) – Retained by financial institution to seek insurance coverage for alleged liabilities relating to payment mechanisms.
  • Internal investigation of financial institution’s letter of credit program (2012).
  • Workers’ Comp Classification of Tunnel Workers (2014) – Represented contractor constructing tunnel to connect Port of Miami with mainland road system to invoke Florida’s Workers’ Comp., defeating claims under Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act.
  • Recovery on “Washed” and Fraudulent Checks (2014) – Retained by Payor Bank to obtain insurance coverage for losses sustained by payment on checks, and, to seek recovery of uninsured losses against Depository Bank.
  • New Marina Management Entity (2014) - Consulted with Marina Operator on various operational aspects, insurance coverages, and environmental compliance, and, created form agreements for dockage and vendor relationships.
  • Dissenting Shareholder Appraisal Proceeding (2015) – Represented financial institution against shareholders dissenting to merger share price.
  • Class Action, Debit Transaction Reordering (2015) – Represented bank to obtain insurance coverage for defense of class action.  Coordinated with defense counsel.
  • “Joyride” of 82’ motor yacht resulting in its sinking, and, damage to numerous other yachts in marina and marina property (2016) – Handled insurance adjustment of marina damages claims, asserted claims against offending yacht owner, and, participated to defend marina against other yachts’ damages claims.
  • Create forms for Vessel Financing (2016) – Developed Lender’s loan documentation forms for financing vessel purchases.
  • Standard forms of yacht dockage agreements (2017) – Retained by operator of new marina to craft form dockage agreements and rules and regulations.
  • Hurricane Irma (2017) - Represented Yacht Club in disputes arising by reason of storm damage where 103’ yacht broke free of the dock, included handling of salvage and litigation involving salvor, landowner and government.
  • Creation of Cruise Line (2017) – Consulted as co-counsel with respect to setting up new cruise line for major brand resort operator.
  • Standard forms of agreements for 5 marinas (2018).
  • Foreclosure involving commercial realty as collateral (2018) - Represented Financial Institution in multiple litigations (1) to collect on note and foreclose mortgage, and, (2) to defend lawsuits for alleged violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act, and Truth in Lending Act.
  • Determination of Florida’s Territorial Boundary (2018) – Handled appeal of wrongful death case establishing Florida’s eastern boundary to the exclusion of the federal Death on the High Seas Act.
  • Restriction of Draw Bridges Hours of Operations (2019) – Represented parties in dealings with Coast Guard opposing efforts by City to restrict draw bridge openings.
  • Preliminary Consultation re: Formation of Luxury Cruise Line (2019).  
  • ACH Transactions Fraud (2020) – Represented futures brokerage firm against various third parties with respect to fraudulent ACH transfers.
  • 62’ Viking Sportfisherman dropped off Ways at Yard (2020) – Represented yacht owner coordinating with insurer on first-party and subrogated claims.

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