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For nearly 40 years, Don Blackwell has built a strong and comprehensive practice defending local, regional and national companies in product liability claims involving motor vehicles, personal watercraft, handheld power tools, heavy equipment, and industrial machinery. Don also has defended manufacturers of medical devices, commercial flooring adhesives, high-tech roofing systems, PVC and CPVC pipe and fittings, as well as numerous interests in the aviation industry. In addition, Don has extensive experience defending toxic tort and asbestos cases.

An exceptional legal writer, Don has published several feature articles in The Florida Bar Journal, The Professional, the FDLA’s Trial Advocate Quarterly, and the LCA’s Legal Commentary and Review. Don also has spoken at several national legal conferences.

Don previously 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. Don also is spearheading a campaign aimed at shedding light on the myriad mental health issues disproportionately impacting members of the legal profession and the corresponding need for a higher level of Compassionate Professionalism. 

Don dedicates much of his free time to 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 eating disorder conferences and webinars. In 2020, Don organized and hosted the “Legacy of Hope Summit” - a first of its kind symposium attended by 25 highly-respected experts in the eating disorders field aimed at arriving at a blueprint for the path forward in the care and treatment of those illnesses.

 

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 – 2020
    • Martindale-Hubbell
      —Rated AV Preeminent

Recent Verdicts & Case Studies


CASE RESULTS DEPEND UPON A VARIETY OF FACTORS UNIQUE TO EACH CASE. CASE RESULTS DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE.

Recent News, Events and Blogs


Speaking Engagements

  • “Compassionate Professionalism: The Time Has Come to Embrace and Tend to Our Shared Humanity,” Co-Presenter, FDLA Annual Florida Liability Claims Conference, June 2022
  • "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
  • “Loneliness and the Law – An Open Invitation to My Fellow Trial Lawyers to “Come Out and Play!”” Presenter, Litigation Counsel of America Fall Conference, October 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

  • "For Whom the Statute Tolls: An Analytical Look at the Tolling Provision in Florida’s Product Liability Statute of Repose," Co-Author, The Florida Bar Journal, May/June 2021
  • “The Price of Being Right,” Author, The Florida Bar, Fall 2020
  • “The Help Desk,” Author, The Florida Bar, Winter 2020
  • “To the ‘Victim’ Go the Spoils: The Evolution and Operation of Spoliation of Evidence Law in Florida Product Liability Cases,” Co-Author, The Florida Bar Journal, May/June 2019
  • “Who Cries at Texas Roadhouse,” Author, The Florida Bar, Summer 2019
  • “For Want of a Knock on the Door – A Few Thoughts About Loneliness and the Law,” Author, The Florida Bar, Winter 2018
  • “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