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For more than 35 years, Don Blackwell has built a strong and comprehensive practice defending local, regional and national companies in product liability, breach of warranty and commercial litigation claims in Florida, Texas and beyond. Don has represented many of the world's largest motor vehicle manufacturers, often in wrongful death cases and cases involving catastrophic injuries. 
 
Don also has defended manufacturers of medical devices, handheld power tools, industrial machinery, tractor-trailer trucks, earth moving equipment, commercial flooring adhesives, high-tech roofing systems, PVC and CPVC pipe and fittings, as well as numerous interests in the aviation industry including commercial carriers, aircraft leasing companies, helicopter manufacturers and fixed based operators. In addition, Don has defended federal and state class actions, toxic tort and asbestos matters, insurance coverage disputes, business disputes and general negligence and premises liability cases.

In addition, Don has served as an adjunct professor of legal research and writing at Southern Methodist University's Dedman School of Law and at St. Thomas University School of Law and more recently as an adjunct professor of Torts in the Intensive Paralegal Certificate Program at the University of Miami.  He also has authored or co-authored a number of peer-reviewed articles for The Florida Bar Journal, The Professional and the Trial Advocate Quarterly and spoken at several national legal conferences.

Don also dedicates a significant amount of his energies toward supporting and advocating for individuals and families affected by eating disorders. He has authored multiple works on the subject and is frequently called upon to speak at local, regional and national conferences and webinars.  

Bar Admissions

  • Florida, 1983
  • Texas, 1989

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas

Education

  • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1983
  • Spring Hill College, B.A., 1980

    magna cum laude

Professional Associations

    • Litigation Counsel of America
    • Defense Research Institute
    • The Florida Bar Association

Distinctions

    • Litigation Counsel of America
      —Peter Perlman Service Award, 2013
    • Super Lawyers Magazine
      —Florida Super Lawyers, 2013, 2016 — 2018
    • Martindale-Hubbell
      —Rated AV Preeminent

Speaking Engagements

  • "The Ethical Implications of Accessing the Social Media Accounts of Parties, Witnesses, and Jurors & Crisis Management When Best Practices Were Not Followed," Texas Lawyer In-House Counsel CLE Seminar, September 2018
  • "The Next Step on the Road to True Civility, Embracing Our Shared Humanity,” Litigation Counsel of America Conference, October 2017
  • “The Burden of Truth – Addressing Issues of Litigant and Juror Misconduct,” Litigation Counsel of America Fall Conference, October 2013 
  • “Guide to Becoming a More Effective and Efficient Legal Writer,” Defense Research Institute’s Young Lawyers’ Seminar, 2013
  • "Casey Casem Eat Your Heart Out –Ten of the Most Important Cases Of 1998 For The Product Liability Practitioner," January 1999
  • "You Think You've Got Problems – Using U.S. Courts To Invalidate A Foreign Aircraft Registration Or, Alternatively, To Secure Re-Registration With The FAA Aircraft Registry," January 1998
  • "Sexual Harassment In The Workplace: What We Didn't Learn From Justice Clarence Thomas' Confirmation Hearings," Summer 1993
  • "Don't Look at Me, I Just Own the Bird – An Overview of the Protections that the Federal Aviation Act Affords a Florida Aircraft Lessor," Vol. I, No. 1, Airport Press, April 1992
  • “And the Band Played On – Or Did It? An Overview of the Laws Governing the Public Use of Copyrighted Music," South Florida Chapter of Meeting Planners International, February 1993 
  • "The Importance of Understanding Contracts," South Florida Chapter of Meeting Planners International, February 1992
  • "Meeting Planner's Liability – An Overview," South Florida Chapter of Meeting Planners International February 1991 (Voted Speaker of the Year)

Publications

  • “The Time Has Come to Give Mental Health’s No. 1 Killer a Seat at the Table,” The Professional, Vol. XIVI, No. 2, Summer 2018
  • “The Next Step on the Road to True Civility: Embracing Our Shared Humanity,” The Professional, Vol. XIV, No. 3, Winter 2018
  • “Has the Time Come to Dispense With the Testimonial Oath?”, Trial Advocate Quarterly, Vol. 36, No. 4, Fall 2017
  • "Mandatory Injunctions – The Forgotten Art of Putting the Horse Back in the Proverbial Barn." Feature Article, The Florida Bar Journal, May 2012
  •  “Putting the Lid Back on Pandora’s ‘Jar’: A Clarion Call for the Elimination of Contingency Risk Multipliers in Florida PIP Litigation,” Feature Article, The Florida Bar Journal, August 2010 
  • "The Burden of Truth – Have Florida Courts Gone Far Enough in Addressing the Problem of Juror Misconduct." Feature Article, The Florida Bar Journal, Volume 81, No. 5 May 2007 (recipient of the Bar Journal's "Outstanding Article of the Year" Award)
  • "The Big Lie," The Florida Bar Journal, July 1999
  • "The Use of Daubert in Aviation Cases," Co-Author, Second Edition, 1998
  • "Out Like a Lamb – The Silent Demise of the 'Mutuality Requirement' in the Defensive Use of Collateral Estoppel in Florida," The Florida Bar Journal, March 1992