William R. Clayton maintains a national civil trial practice, having tried more than 100 cases in state and federal courts, and has won more than $100 million in jury verdicts (for both plaintiff and the defense).
William has been named in the 2012 Corporate Counsel edition of Super Lawyers among "Top Attorneys in Business Litigation" in the U.S.; in Florida Trend's Legal Elite (top 1.8% of Florida lawyers); and in "Super Lawyers in Florida" by Super Lawyers (top 5% of Florida lawyers.) He has been reported in the 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America and in the 2012 South Florida Legal Guide as among "Top Lawyers."
Outside of Florida, William was included among top litigation attorneys in New York City based on peer review rating in Avenue magazine's 2010 "Legal Elite" and in the "Top Lawyers in Southern Nevada, 2012" by Desert Companion magazine.
William is board certified as a Civil Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. In both Florida and Nevada, he is board certified as a Civil Trial Expert. William has been rated AV Preeminent® by the peer review rating publication, Martindale-Hubbell®. He was selected by invitation as a fellow in the Litigation Counsel of America, which is limited to less than .5% of American lawyers. He is a member of Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an organization whose membership is limited to trial attorneys who have achieved verdicts of $1 million or more. After winning verdict in a $70 million state court trial, a prominent judge described his legal services at trial as "wow man" and "brilliant."
William focuses his practice on commercial litigation and is frequently retained as lead trial counsel by NYSE and Nasdaq companies (on both plaintiff and defense sides). He is Co-Chair of the firm's Real Estate Litigation Practice.
Areas of Concentration
· Class action litigation
· Construction litigation
· Employment litigation
· Financial services litigation
· Insurance litigation, including bad faith
· Intellectual property litigation
· Jury trials
· Pharmaceutical and medical device litigation
· Product liability litigation
· Real property and title insurance litigation
· Securities and shareholder litigation
· Sports law
· Subprime and mortgage markets litigation
Professional & Community Involvement
· Associate Member, Lawyers for Civil Justice
· Board Certified Business Litigation Lawyer, The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education
· Board Certified Civil Pretrial Practice Lawyer, National Board of Civil Pretrial Practice Advocacy
· Board Certified Civil Trial Advocate, National Board of Trial Advocacy
· Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer, The Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education
· Civil Trial Advocacy Specialist, Nevada
· Faculty Member, National Institute for Trial Advocacy, Nova Southeastern University, Shepard Broad Law Center
· Former Dean of College, Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, Litigation Management College
· Member, American Bar Association, Litigation Section
- Torts & Insurance Practice Committee
- Title Insurance Litigation Committee
- Commercial & Business Litigation Committee
· Member, American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), Fort Lauderdale Chapter
- Co-Chair of Programs
- National Board Representative
· Member, American Inns of Court
· Member, American Judicature Society
· Member, Federation of Insurance & Corporate Counsel
- Former Chair, Construction, Fidelity, Surety & Public Contract Section
- Former Vice-Chair, Projects & Objectives Committee
· Member, John Henry Wigmore Club, Northwestern University School of Law
· Member, Leadership Broward Foundation, Inc.
· Member, Leadership Florida, Class XXV
· Member, The Million Dollar Advocates Forum
· Member, National Board of Trial Advocacy
· Member, Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Broward Foundation, Senior Executive Orientation
· Member, South Dakota Tennis Hall of Fame
· Member, The Florida Bar
- Business Law Section
- Trial Lawyers Section
· Faculty Member, Litigation Management College, Emory University, 2013
· Faculty Member, GT Litigation Skills Academy, Mediation/Negotiation Training, July 2010
· Litigation Counsel of America, 2010 (Fellow)
· Member, Northwestern University Leadership Circle, 2008-2009
Awards & Recognition
· Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Commercial Litigation; Litigation - Construction; Litigation - Intellectual Property; Litigation - Real Estate, 2010-2014
· Listed, VEGAS INC, "Top Lawyers," Class Action Litigation, 2013
· Listed, South Florida Legal Guide, "Top Lawyers," Litigation, 2012 and 2013
· Listed, Super Lawyers magazine, Florida Super Lawyers, 2009-2013
- "Top 100 Attorneys in Miami," 2011
· Listed, Desert Companion magazine, "Top Lawyers in Southern Nevada," 2012
· Listed, Florida Trend magazine, "Legal Elite," Employment Law, 2011
· Selected, Super Lawyers and Corporate Counsel magazine, "Top Attorneys in Business Litigation," 2011
· Team Member, a Law360 "Employment Practice Group of the Year," 2011
· Team Member, a Law360 "Product Liability Practice Group of the Year," 2011
· Listed, Wall Street Journal (Florida Edition), "Top 100 Attorneys in Miami," June 16, 2011
· Listed, Avenue magazine (New York Edition), "Legal Elite," Employment Law, October 2010, October 2011
· Selected, South Florida Daily Business Review, Complex Business Litigation Finalist, "Most Effective Lawyers," 2008
· Rated, AV Preeminent® 5.0 out of 5
· Within 20 minutes of the jury retiring to deliberate, our client, an affiliate of a large U.S. insurance company, received a complete defense verdict in an insurance coverage and breach of contract case in Miami federal court.
· Represented one of the largest condominium developers in the U.S. defending against a condominium association claiming damages in excess of $8 million, involving 25 parties, where the case settled with our client paying nothing to the plaintiff (or anyone else) and at the same time the developer recovered approximately $1 million from the general contractor.
· Defended one of the world's largest hotel affiliates against a multimillion-dollar claim by a condominium association, where the plaintiff was paid zero and had to pay our client $20,000 to settle the case.
· Defended in Florida federal district court a national energy company based in California, against the holder, a multimillion-dollar credit facility, where we asserted a usury defense and in settling the case, our client paid nothing to the lender.
· Represented two doctors and one of the most prominent medical laboratories in the U.S. in a two-week jury trial where the plaintiff (a shareholder and former "at will" employee) asserted numerous claims for breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract and sought about $17 million in damages, plus punitive damages, against our clients. Granted a "zero" verdict. Following that result, obtained an award of attorney's fees and costs in excess of $1 million against the plaintiff, where the state court trial judge in the order described his legal services at trial as "wow-man" and "brilliant."
· Represented the developer of the tallest building on the Gulf Coast from Florida to New Orleans, who was awarded a judgment for $41.5 million in a two-week federal jury trial involving breach of a builder's risk insurance policy.
· Within weeks of engagement, defeated an action, based upon a $62 million real estate contract, for specific performance and a lis pendens recorded against a Las Vegas hotel and casino located near the Strip.
· Within approximately three weeks of our engagement by a major insurance company, resolved an alleged bad faith claim, without ever having to file an answer to the complaint.
· Within three months after filing suit for a professional football player, obtained a judgment granting specific performance and conveyance of real property valued at approximately $2 million. Obtained an award for attorney's fees and costs of $350,000 with an appeal in a per curiam decision just six days after oral argument.
· Obtained a voluntary dismissal with prejudice for a client in an alleged sexual harassment case in California, where a co-defendant was a national sports organization, two months before a jury trial and without paying a dime.
· As a result of a state court lawsuit filed on behalf of one of the oldest families in the U.S., and in a probate litigation setting, concluded the setting aside of an under-market real estate contract for the sale of the real property and a re-sale of the property resulting in a gain for the client in excess of approximately $9 million.
· In a products liability case involving a manufacturing machine, where the plaintiff's demand was approximately $2 million for the loss of use of his right arm after an accident, obtained a summary judgment for the manufacturer on the strict liability, warning label and manufacturing defect counts of the complaint.
· Defended a Nasdaq company in a multimillion-dollar federal jury trial involving the sale of computer software for cellular communications in Central America, where the jury, on our counterclaim for breach of contract, asked the court if it could award our client more money than requested, attorneys' fees, costs and interest.
· Defended an alleged engineering malpractice in a multimillion-dollar jury case for the design of a cofferdam in a major river.
· A million-dollar jury trial where the jury, in basically a breach of contract action, awarded treble damages and asked the court if it could award punitive damages, attorneys' fees and interest.
· Defended a major university concerning the construction and design of its natural and artificial turf football fields in a nationally publicized jury trial.
· Defended one of the largest real estate developers in Las Vegas in a jury trial.
· Defended one of the largest international overnight delivery companies and obtained judgments for attorneys' fees and costs against plaintiffs alleging sick building syndrome.
· Obtained a jury verdict from a federal jury concerning the retrofitting of a $14 million yacht.
· Defended (in New York) a $300 million intellectual property case, where the plaintiff's claims, against one of the largest auto rental companies in the nation, asserted trademark and Lanham Act violations.
· Obtained a settlement of $4.9 million in a breach of contract case three months prior to trial and for our client's investment of a few hundred thousand dollars.
· Defended numerous federal court actions protecting the intellectual property rights of one of the most famous Las Vegas casinos and hotels against the unlicensed use of federally registered trademarks.
· Defended one of the largest computer software and hardware companies in the world in a product liability case filed in federal district court and obtained a dismissal with prejudice of the case, without having to pay the plaintiffs.
· Defended serious charges and complaints filed by the Florida Board of Professional Engineers against an engineer and one of the largest swimming pool contractors in Florida before an Administrative Law Judge, defeating the board on the merits and recovering attorneys fees' against the board.
· Defeated a lawsuit by an Independent gubernatorial candidate seeking to become a third participant in the first televised debate for Governor of Florida scheduled between republican candidate Charlie Crist and democratic candidate, Jim Davis, based upon First Amendment grounds.
· Defended a major nationwide trucking company from claims of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
· Represented a $300 million scaffolding services company in a lawsuit for tortuous interference against a competitor and for breach of employment agreements against former key employees.
· Obtained a temporary injunction against an international sports organization that had instituted a life-ban against an athlete for alleged anti-doping violations.
· Obtained arbitration award for a major university concerning the construction of its soccer fields.
· Prosecuted claims in federal district court, on behalf of one of the largest U.S. banks, against a commercial borrower and defended against a lender liability counterclaim, where the amount in controversy was in excess of $10 million.
· Represented one of the largest parcel post companies in the world in a dispute with a general contractor over the construction of a major distribution center.
· Represented one of the largest computer companies in the world in a dispute with a general contractor over the construction of a turbine engine generator for information systems.
· Law Clerk, Hon. Harlington Wood, Jr., U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Publications & Presentations
Articles, Lectures & Publications
· Co-Author, "2010 - An Opinion Odyssey: The Year In Title Insurance Case Law," Paper Presented to Florida Land Title Association, April 14, 2010
· Co-Author, "Don't These Judges Ever Stop Writing? This Year's Case Update on Title Insurance, Real Property and Commercial Cases," Paper Presented to Florida Land Title Association, April 22, 2009
· Co-Author, "2008 Case Law Update: Title Insurance, Real Property and Commercial Cases," Paper Presented to Florida Land Title Association, April 15, 2007
· Co-Author, Annual Case Law Update, Paper Presented to Florida Land Title Association, 2005-2007
· Co-Author, "Protection is Possible: Key Issues Under Sarbanes-Oxley," Paper Presented to Inaugural Federation Forums, October 14, 2004
· Co-Author, "Recent Developments: Title Insurance, Real Property and Related in Florida,"Paper Presented to Florida Land Title Association, 2003-2004
· Co-Author, "A Title Insurance Company's Blueprint for Pursuing Its Former Agent," Committee News, Title Insurance Litigation Committee of the Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice, Summer 2003
· Co-Author, "What You Need to Know About Daubert Today," Paper Presented to Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, March 7, 2002
· Co-Chair and Faculty Member, "Masters in Trial," ABOTA Foundation, Renaissance Hotel, Plantation, Florida, May 10, 2013
· Speaker, "How to Make Your Jury Trials Rock," Litigation Counsel of America, Telluride, CO, March 22, 2013
· Presenter, "Recent Developments in Daubert and Frye Decision Law in Florida," Legal Summit, The Doctors Company, Napa, CA, July 16, 2011
· Co-Presenter, "Technology Tips For Trial Lawyers," American Board of Trial Advocates, Fort Lauderdale Chapter, June 29, 2011
· Speaker, "Mastering Effective Discovery as a Tool for Success," 35th Anniversary Spring Seminar of Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL, May 13, 2011
· Speaker, "The Evolution of Trying a Case in Court," South Florida Chapter of Litigation Support Professionals, Fort Lauderdale, FL, February 17, 2011
· Speaker, "2010, An Opinion Odyssey: The Year In Title Insurance Case Law," Florida Land Title Association Claims Avoidance Roundtable, St. Petersburg, FL, April 14, 2010
· Speaker, "An Approach To Title Insurance Claims," Fidelity Financial Group, Omaha, Nebraska, July 28, 2009
· Speaker, " Bad Faith Preventative Measures," Assurant Solutions, Miami, FL, June 18, 2009
· Speaker, "Don't These Judges Ever Stop Writing? This Year's Case Update," Florida Land Title Association, Orlando, FL, April 22, 2009
· Speaker, "Discovery Issues," Florida Bar Speakers Bureau, Broward County Chapter of Paralegal Association of Florida, Broward County Bar Association, Fort Lauderdale, FL, April 11, 2009
· Speaker, "2008 Case Law Update: Title Insurance, Real Property and Commercial Cases," Florida Land Title Association, Orlando, FL, April 15, 2007
· Speaker, "Mediating the Complex Case," ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Title Insurance Litigation Committee, Orlando, FL, February 24, 2006
· Speaker, Annual Case Law Update, Florida Land Title Association Claims Avoidance Roundtable, Orlando, FL, 2005-2007
· Speaker, "Recent Developments: Title Insurance, Real Property and Related Decisions," Florida Land Title Association Claims Prevention, Avoidance and Education Committee Roundtable, Orlando, FL, April 21, 2004
· Panelist, "A Survey of Recent Cases and Issues in Title Insurance," American Bar Association, Title Insurance Litigation Committee of the Tort, Trial & Insurance Practice Section, Las Vegas, NV, May 2, 2003
· Speaker, "Recent Developments: Title Insurance Decisions in Florida," Florida Land Title Association Claims Prevention, Avoidance and Education Committee Roundtable, Orlando, FL, April 23, 2003
· Panelist, "Don't Get Shifted in the Courtroom - Expert and Electronic Discovery Pitfalls," Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel, Boca Raton, FL, March 7, 2002
· Speaker, "Mock Trial on a Decided Case," Litigation & Valuation Services Conference, Florida Institute of CPAs, Fort Lauderdale, FL, January 11, 2002
· Speaker, "Cost of a Lawsuit Claim and Dispute Resolution Processes" and "The Engineer as an Expert Witness," Legal Issues Seminar, Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers, Palm Harbor, FL, May 13, 2000
(Also at Fort Lauderdale and Las Vegas, Nevada Offices)