Florida Legal Community Mourns 'Brilliant' Plaintiff's Litigator
Coral Gables' Ervin Gonzalez 'understood the human condition'
Super Lawyers online-exclusive
By Beth Taylor on June 8, 2017
Ervin A. Gonzalez, who passed away on June 8 at age 57, was one of the most successful plaintiff’s personal injury litigators in the state. His victories ranged from the Chinese drywall cases to the BP oil spill claims. He was a past president of the Dade County Bar Association and of the Miami-Dade County Trial Lawyers Association, as well as a former governor of The Florida Bar.
“We felt like we got a first-round draft pick,” says Dean C. Colson of the firm’s decision in 2000 to hire Gonzalez at Colson Hicks Eidson in Coral Gables. Gonzalez landed 33 verdicts of $1 million or more.
But to those who knew him, he was much more than a highly skillful attorney. Colson describes what it was like to work with Gonzalez over the past 17 years:
“It was a pleasure every day. He came in and spoke to everybody in the office as he made a lap to his office, and smiled at everybody. He helped everybody in their cases, and he was a delight to have as a law partner.”
Gonzalez was featured on the cover of Florida Super Lawyers Magazine in 2008.
“He was an exceptionally talented attorney and well regarded by his fellow lawyers,” says Cindy Larson, publisher of Super Lawyers magazines. “I had the honor of spending some time with Ervin. He was charismatic, and our conversations were always thoughtful; yet he was so very easy to be around. Our thoughts are with his family and his circle of legal and personal friends.”
Mark Seiden, a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville Beach, faced off against Gonzalez in court during a suit involving Eller Media in 2005.
“During both the pre-trial and trial of the civil case, I was impressed with Ervin, not only as a trial lawyer and advocate, but as a gentleman. He epitomized what a lawyer should be: always truthful and professional, never bringing a hotly contested case down to a personal level and ethical in everything he did and said,” Seiden says.
“About a year after the trial, we renewed our acquaintanceship and became friends. We would have lunch almost every month at his beloved Caffe Abbracci in Coral Gables and would also stay in touch by phone and email. After I retired and moved to northeast Florida, we still stayed in touch, though less frequently, by phone and email.
“Ervin was a brilliant trial lawyer, certainly the best I had ever seen in a civil setting. But more important, he was a renaissance man who truly appreciated and understood the human condition. He dealt with people from all walks of life with respect and sensitivity. He was always prepared and was a pleasure to watch in a courtroom. Ervin fought hard, but clean. Moreover, he was a fine human being and epitomized the term ‘gentleman’. I was stunned at the news of his untimely death. His passing is a great loss, not only to me as his friend, but to the entire community.”
Adds Colson: “People knew him, people liked him, because he helped so many people. If you had a question about one of your cases, you’d call up Ervin and he’d take the time to help you out. Given the number of people who came to mourn at his wake, I think people are grappling with this. They’re having a hard time.
“You just don’t replace Ervin, because he was such a good friend.”
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