Preeminent Lawyers

The lawyers of Troutman, Williams, Irvin, Green, & Helms, P.A. have been recognized by Martindale-Hubbell as preeminent lawyers for their high professional legal standards and ethics. This honor was published in Martindale-Hubbell’s 2005 Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Receiving this award acknowledges that our lawyers maintain a high level of legal ability while adhering to the professional standards of conduct, ethics, reliability and diligence.

Troutman Williams is proud to receive this recognition which results from its main focus – commitment to the client. Our high level of legal ability stems not only from the knowledge of our lawyers but also the vast experience of an established firm. Troutman Williams has been an iconic Central Florida law firm, representing the people of Florida for over forty years. The life of our firm has been grounded in the recognition that our lawyers work for the client; not the other way around. With this in mind, our lawyers keep clients informed of their case on a regular basis. Our lawyers fight hard for clients, knowing that the outcome of our representation can have huge impacts on the lives of our clients.

Jury punishes auto insurer

SANFORD – A Chuluota woman crippled in a 1998 traffic accident has won a $4.3 million judgment against her own automobile insurance company. A six-member Seminole County jury ruled in favor of Pauline Giaccone, 54, of Chuluota. A doctor testified she had lost virtually all use of her left shoulder after a two-car crash in Oviedo. Giaccone had paid for $400,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage from State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co., but the company was willing to pay only a small portion of that, said Russell Troutman, one of her attorneys.

Orlando Sentinel
February 28, 2001

Hospital may fight $2.2 million award

Florida Hospital says the anesthesiologist wasn’t an employee.

By Greg Groeller

Florida Hospital may appeal a jury’s decision to award millions of dollars to the husband of a woman who claimed that a bungled medical procedure left her paralyzed.

In a suit filed in 1996, Eleanor Karstetter of Kissimmee claimed that an anesthesiologist at the hospital punctured her spinal cord 18 times while trying to insert a morphine pump – a device designed to alleviate chronic back pain – near her spine. Karstetter, who was paralyzed below the waist, died in 1998 at the age of 67.

Florida Hospital had argued that it wasn’t liable because the doctor, Douglas Conigliaro, was not an employee of the hospital when the incident occurred Nov 28, 1995. Rather, Conigliaro was employed by Joseph L. Riley Anesthesia Associates, a private company whose employees worked at Florida Hospital’s pain clinic on its campus near downtown Orlando.

Conigliaro, who still works at Florida Hospital for Joseph L. Riley, could not be reached for comment. Conigliaro and Joseph L. Riley reached a $1 million settlement with Eleanor Karstetter’s husband, Robert, in April 1999.

A jury didn’t buy Florida Hospital’s argument that Conigliaro wasn’t an employee. In its verdict, the jury said that the doctor was the “apparent agent” of the hospital, meaning that most patients would think that he was a hospital employee. The jury agreed to the suit’s request for $3.2 million in damages. A judge later reduced the award to $2.2 million to reflect Conigliaro’s settlement with Robert Karstetter.

“We are disappointed and surprised with the judgment, and we are investigating all options, which include the possibility of an appeal,” Florida Hospital said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the hospital would not comment further.

According to the suit, Conigliaro tried for seven hours to insert the morphine pump into Eleanor Karstetter’s spine, a procedure that normally takes two hours. Although Karstetter was showing evidence of paralysis, Conigliaro waited an additional seven hours after the procedure ended before consulting a neurosurgeon, the suit stated.

The size of the jury’s award is not considered unusually high given the extent of Karstetter’s injuries, said Robert Cunningham, a Mobile, Ala. lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice suits.

“Generally, hospitals will deny everything and that makes things worse for them if it goes to a jury,” Cunningham said.

In the suit, the Karstetters argued that there was no way for them to tell that Conigliaro was not an employee of the hospital. The procedure was done on Florida Hospital’s property with hospital-owned equipment. Furthermore, no signs were posted stating doctors weren’t employees, the suit stated.

“One of the biggest reasons my wife and I agreed to be treated at the Florida Hospital pain clinic was because we believed it was part of the Florida Hospital system,” Robert Karstetter said in the suit.

Hospitals often argue that doctors aren’t employees when they are defendants in medial malpractice cases, said Bill Bell, an attorney for the Florida Hospital Association. Whether a jury agrees with that argument depends on the details of the case, he said.

The Orlando Sentinel
Thu., February 10, 2000

Woman wins $1M jury award in car crash caused by brother

By Alex Finkelstein

An Orange Circuit Court jury has awarded a 31-year-old Orlando woman $1 million for injuries she received in a 1995 auto accident in which her brother was the driver – but she lost $177,085 of the award because she did not fasten her seat belt.

The jury recommended deducting $177,085, or 15 percent, from the $1,180,572 awarded to Christina Harris. But, says her Winter Park attorney, Russell Troutman of Troutman, Williams, Irvin, Green & Helms, she isn’t complaining. “She walked away with $1,003,486,” says Troutman.

A company car driven by Harris’ 28-year-old brother, Edward Ray Harris II, struck a utility pole at 2:20 a.m. in 1995 on Chipola Circle in Orlando.

Christina Harris suffered numerous physical injuries but has returned to her job as a check inspector with Clarke American Co. Edward Harris also recovered from his injuries.

On Aug. 15, a jury hearing in Judge A. Walter Komanski’s courtroom ruled Edward Harris was 85 percent responsible for the accident.

Harris’ employer, Inter Mobile Inc. of Georgia, has assumed legal responsibility for his accident (Case No. CI 96-5084-35).

Aug. 22, 1997
Orlando Business Journal

State will pay medical bills in victory for ailing trooper

By Mike Oliver

The state has agreed to pay the medical bills of a Florida trooper who attributes his liver failure to being poisoned by drug dealers.

Richard “Spanky” Chapman, who underwent a liver transplant in January 1996, received notice on Monday that he will get workers’ compensation benefits.

“This is a great, great victory for Spanky,” said Russell Troutman Chapman’s lawyer. “He has the security now of knowing that his medical bills will be paid for life.”

The state had originally turned down Chapman’s request. But according to the settlement, the state now agrees on a job accident date – Nov. 18, 1988 – which led to Chapman’s liver problems.

The state will cover all bills relating to the liver condition but will not pay for kidney problems Chapman is having, according to the settlement. The lawyer for the state did not return a phone call.

Chapman, who is back at work for the Florida Highway Patrol doing office work, also will receive disability income if he is unable to work in the future, Troutman said.

“I’m pleased,” said Chapman, who fatigues easily now. “I’ve had insurance, but there’s a cap on that. If something down the road happened big, I would have been in trouble. I’ve got a lifetime of medications and testing ahead of me.”

The state originally denied Chapman’s claim, saying it was filed after the two-year statute of limitations and that there was no link between his mysterious ailment and the job.

Chapman said he thought he was poisoned in 1988 when he handled packages of drugs that were soaked in chemicals to mask the smell of the drugs. Chapman, who said he doesn’t drink and has no family history of liver disease, started having liver problems shortly after that incident

Chapman was a pioneer in the patrol’s use of dogs to find illegal drugs transported on state roads. He and a drug-sniffing German shepherd named Abby helped seize nearly $50 million worth of illegal drugs and made nearly 1,000 arrests from 1983 to 1991.

In those days, Chapman often searched cars bare-handed. Troopers now use gloves.

In 1992, Abby got sick and died of liver failure.

The Orlando Sentinel
Wed., JULY 30, 1997


By: Louis Roney

These days we hear much talk about lawyers, with the O.J. Simpson trial as daily TV fare.

A book has appeared about Marsha Clark, her marriage, victories and defeats. Newspapers and magazines carry articles on Johnny Cochran, Shapiro, and F. Lee Bailey.

But, here in Winter Park, we have our own famous advocate. Russell Troutman has figuratively landed on the beaches of Normandy many times, and has walked away unscathed. He has ambled in and out of our courtrooms with every cause imaginable on his agenda.

The other day over coffee, Russell was in the mood to talk about his legal activities. I jumped at the chance to report Russell “live” in this column. Here goes:

Recently, a motorist, arrested for recording – without permission – police officers who were citing him for speeding and inadequate seat belts, came before Judge Robert Evans. After hearing arguments by Russell and the state attorney, Evans ruled that police officers have no expectation of privacy in making arrests. The case was dismissed, establishing the precedent that if police can record us without permission, we can record them as well.

In recent weeks, Russell concluded a case favorable to his client against Longwood, for giving the broadcast media access to a video tape of a young lady undressing before cameras hidden by a travel agent supposedly photographing her for a job interview. The young lady discovered the tape, smuggled it out, and turned it over to her police department. The tape helped convict the culprit in the criminal court of Seminole County. All she got was unwanted publicity from television news showing (censored) footage of the tape.

In recent weeks, Russell blazed a new trail for law enforcement. In behalf of an Orange County Deputy Sheriff, Troutman sued a business owner for operating a convenience store that was in the center of drug activity. The deputy received a broken finger from a drug suspect who resisted arrest. Troutman alleged that law enforcement had received hundreds of police calls to the property in question in recent months and years. This case too established a precedent: businesses that tolerate drug traffic in and around their stores are liable for damages to people who are injured as a result of drug traffic.

The above are but little causes of creative lawyering.

Many of the major civil cases which occur in this area also carry Russell’s imprimatur.

The most famous is the Philip Chandler case. Philip was imprisoned in the trunk of his car by a couple of hooligans on a hot Florida day. When left in a parking area by the scoundrels, Philip was unconscious and brain damaged. The offenders were arrested and sent to jail. What about damages? The thugs are penniless and therefore judgment-proof.

Phil’s Dad came to Russell to get a judgment against the criminals, even if uncollectible. Russell succeeded, and in the process obtained a monetary recovery of $1500 tax-free dollars a month for life, plus $20,000 tax-free bonuses every five years for 25 years.

How did Troutman achieve monetary relief for Philip? Even Russell’s partners were skeptical that any remedy at all was available. But Russell applied the uninsured motorist coverage Phil’s Dad carried on the car. Phil was riding as an imprisoned passenger- but nevertheless a passenger -when he received his injury by uninsured motorists. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the structured recovery will reap 1.4 million in monetary support to Phil and provide him with bread-and-butter money for life.

Million-dollar recoveries are not unusual for Russell Troutman. He won a million dollar recovery for an Orlando cop when the police officer, riding his motorcycle, was struck by a drunk driver in a borrowed pickup truck.

Russell won a one million dollar verdict from a Kissimmee jury in behalf of a Kissimmee police officer who received a head injury while working as an undercover cop. Someone who recognized his status threw a concrete block through his car window inflicting on him a serious head injury.

For every case which receives

The civil side of the court is where Russell is best known.

But his representations in the criminal courts have been equally brilliant. He won acquittal several years ago for two prominent real estate developers indicted for opening their safety deposit boxes seized by the IRS in an income tax dispute.

The acquittal of a prominent black lawyer charged with obstruction of justice, and represented by Troutman, came a year later.

Russell represented Betty Williams following her acquittal in federal court by another attorney, when she was again investigated. The charges emanated from the same facts that had convicted her husband, son, and daughter. As a result of Russell’s representation, Betty was not indicted.

The vice mayor of Kissimmee, Bill McMullan, charged with two felony grand theft counts, also won acquittal through Russell’s counsel in Osceola County. The acquittal was appealed by the state attorney and upheld.

Russell tells me the ordinary working person is his favorite client. Joe Powell, a Winter Park paramedic, was arrested for taping a meeting in the city manager’s office without permission. That case too was dismissed by Circuit Judge Richard Conrad on the grounds that the city manager “had no reasonable expectation of privacy” and could therefore be taped without permission.

Presently, Russell is undertaking to defend an elderly grandmother charged with instructing her grandson to kill her husband. That case comes up in July.

The famous too have sought out Russell for representation.

Paula Hawkins, while chairman of the Public Service Commission, hired him to represent the Public Service Commission in the famous Florida Power Daisy Chain scandal. Russell’s representation resulted in millions of dollars in refunds to the Florida Power subscribers.

Bob Eagan, while state attorney, hired Russell to represent him in a grand jury investigation which resulted in no indictments being returned against Mr. Eagan.

Lou Wolfson, the famous financier, has employed Russell to represent him in a controversy with talk show host Larry King as well as to correct discriminatory constitutional provisions against a Florida city.

Judges, lawyers, doctors, and a whole race of humankind, have flocked to Troutman’s doors seeking his advocacy to take their part. He is a lawyer whose standing in the courts is likely exceeded by no other attorney of our area.

Russell quotes his life’s creed to me from a favorite Sam Foss poem: “The House By The Side Of The Road”

Let me live in my house by the side of the road – it’s here the race of men go by. They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong. Wise, foolish – so am I. And why should I sit in the scorner’s seat, or hurl the cynics ban? Let me live in my house by the side of the road and be a friend to man.

The Winter Park Observer

Deputy fights crime with a lawsuit against store owners

An attorney says it’s the first time a law officer has used the civil courts to crack down on a crime problem.

By Christopher Quinn

An Orange County deputy sheriff injured during an arrest at a convenience store two years ago sued the store owners Thursday, saying the site was a hangout for criminals but the owners did nothing to shoo them away.

The lawsuit is unusual because a law enforcement officer is using the civil court system to crack down on a crime problem, said Russell Troutman, attorney for detective Robert Corriveau.

“The whole purpose of law enforcement bringing suit against wrongdoers is to send a message to the criminal community that not only will they be held criminally accountable, but civilly accountable as well,” Troutman said.

According to Corriveau’s lawsuit, deputies were called to the Big B Food Store, 900 Ivey Lane, 385 times in 1990 and 1991, handling such offenses as conspiracy to commit murder and disorderly conduct.

In March 1991, Corriveau was a drug agent and was arresting a suspected crack cocaine dealer outside the store, which detectives said is known for curbside drug sales.

The suspect tried to flee, but Corriveau grabbed his shirt, catching his pinkie in it. The suspect lurched, and Corriveau’s pinkie snapped. The suspect punched Corriveau in the face.

Corriveau needed surgery to repair his finger, and he lost some use of it. In his lawsuit, he said the owners of the business and the land were negligent because they did not employ security or other safeguards.

“It should be a shock to Orange County that one little old convenience store could have this many calls for service,” Troutman said.

The lawsuit does not involve the store’s current owners.

The defendants are Ozell and Mary Johnson, who own the building and land, and Suleiman K. Solomon, who leased the site and owned the business. Solomon has since sold the company. The defendants were not available for comment.

Troutman has represented law enforcement officers in lawsuits against criminals. Last year he won a $1.1 million judgment against a man who threw a chunk of concrete at a Kissimmee police officer. Last year he negotiated a settlement of more than $1 million with a Tampa landscaping company. A driver for the company, while drunk, crashed into an Orlando police officer in 1990, ending the officer’s career.

The Orlando Sentinel
Fri., June 11, 1993

Dead girl’s family settles with dentist

The Crenshaws received $350,000 from the dentist’s insurer and are fighting a law that limits some malpractice awards.

By Debbie Salamone

SANFORD – The family of an Altamonte Springs girl who died in a dentist’s chair has settled its medical malpractice lawsuit against the dentist.

Scott and Barbara Crenshaw have received $350,000 from the insurance company of Altamonte Springs dentist Dwight Barron. They could receive another $600,000 if the Florida Supreme Court decides that limiting the amount of some medical malpractice awards is unconstitutional.

“It wasn’t much of a settlement, but I was glad we didn’t have to go through the trial process,” Barbara Crenshaw said,

The Crenshaws sued Barron for negligence after their daughter, Jenny, died in August 1989.

Medical experts have said Barron gave Jenny, 8, a lethal dose of medication; Barron said the girl had an allergic reaction.

Barron’s attorney, Joe McGuire, would not comment.

The state has stripped Barron of his dentist’s license, and he was sentenced to house arrest and probation after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

Barbara Crenshaw said the family had little choice but to accept the settlement. Barren had decided not to have a trial, limiting the amount the Crenshaws could collect under the law to $350,000.

The Crenshaws’ attorney, Russell Troutman, has argued that the law is unconstitutional.

But even if the law is overturned, Barbara Crenshaw said, it would not help much. Barron’s insurance policy has a $1 million maximum, and he has declared bankruptcy.

The mother said she has used the money to pay medical, counseling and other bills that piled up during the lengthy court proceedings.

“The settlement helped with everything,” she said. “But it is not compensation for the loss of Jenny.”

The Orlando Sentinel
Wed., July 2, 1992

Company pays officer $1 million in accident

The officer claims he lost his job due to injuries in a collision with a drunken company driver.

By Bob Levenson

A Tampa landscaping company has agreed to pay more than $1 million to a former Orlando police officer who was injured in a traffic accident with a company driver.

A trial in the negligence lawsuit by former Officer Kevin Jones against the firm, Tomasella & Co. Inc., had been scheduled to start Tuesday. But the two sides announced the $1.075 million settlement instead.

Jones, now 37, suffered three broken bones in his leg, a lacerated knee and a broken jaw in the accident on Oct. 14, 1990. The injuries ultimately ended his police career, said his attorney, Russell Troutman of Winter Park.

Jones had gotten off duty and was on his way home, headed east on Colonial Drive about 10 p.m., according to accident reports. A westbound pickup driven by Robert Fagley, 42, of Orlando, turned south onto Summerlin Avenue into Jones’ path, officers said.

Tests later revealed Fagley’s blood-alcohol level to be .18, and he was convicted of driving under the influence.

Troutman said Jones was off work for nearly a year, then reinjured his knee shortly after returning to work in October 1991. He was fired because he had missed too many days of work, Troutman said.

Jones currently is not working, but plans to return to college, Troutman said. The money will pay for his medical bills. According to a court transcript, Troutman will collect about $300,000 in attorney fees.

The Orlando Sentinel
Thu., July 2, 1992

Judge dismisses charge against paramedic in tape-recording case

By Mark Andrews

WINTER PARK – A judge has dismissed a felony charge against a Winter Park paramedic who tape-recorded a meeting with city officials in May.

Joe Powell learned Wednesday he will not face a criminal charge for taping conversations in City Manager Tony Barrett’s office May 22. The meeting concerned the accidental spraying of a toxic chemical mislabeled as bug spray in the city’s fire stations two weeks earlier.

The spraying forced the evacuation of the stations and prompted firefighters to question whether city officials had acted quickly enough to ensure their safety.

Powell had said he wanted to record the meeting in case he had to leave for an emergency rescue call and so that he could share the information with firefighters and paramedics who weren’t there.

But while Powell was away on a call, city personnel chief Pat Moran seized his cassette recorder. City officials maintained that Powell had illegally recorded a private meeting, and they filed a police report. The Orange-Osceola state attorney’s office later charged Powell with illegally taping the meeting.

But Orange Circuit Judge Richard F. Conrad threw out the charge in an order signed Monday. Basing his decision on a 1985 Florida Supreme Court case, Conrad said the taping was not illegal because the parties “had no reasonable expectation of privacy.”

That was because the meeting in a public official’s office was attended by 16 to 20 people, some of whom went in and out of the room, and because the conversation could be heard in an adjoining room, Conrad wrote.

Powell, who has received a promotion to paramedic engineer since his August arrest, said he is relieved that the case is behind him.

“In the last six months, my family and the fire department have been through a lot of useless turmoil.

All of this didn’t need to happen. It was totally unnecessary,” he said. “All I can say is the system works.”

Barrett said late Wednesday that he had decided recently to ask the state attorney’s office not to prosecute the case.

“We told the state attorney we weren’t interested in pursuing the case,” the city manager said. “We felt like it was in the best interests of the city to put it all behind us.”

Powell and his attorney, Russell Troutman, said they have not decided whether to file a civil suit against the city because of Powell’s arrest.

The Orlando Sentinel
Thu. November 8, 1990

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    Law Offices of Richard B. Troutman, P.A.

    Winter Park Office:

    1101 North Kentucky Ave.
    Winter Park, Florida 32789
    Ph. 407-647-5002

    Orlando Office:

    801 North Orange Ave.
    Suite 820
    Orlando, Florida 32801
    Ph. 866-434-5770