Emilia A. Quesada
Partner / Chair, Insurance Practice Group
Emilia A. Quesada is a founding partner and Chair of the firm’s Insurance Practice Group focusing her practice in the areas of complex commercial litigation with specialized knowledge in insurance disputes including life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and ERISA claims, as well as pharmaceutical litigation, ﬁnancial service industry matters, banking litigation, products liability matters, litigation involving design professionals such as architects and engineers, general commercial litigation and class action defense.
Ms. Quesada has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies throughout her career including healthcare organizations related to managed care litigation, provider and consumer claims, HMO, PPO, Medicaid and Medicare claims, emergency services litigation, as well as in and out of network claims; life and disability insurance companies related to agent and independent contractor issues, interpleader actions, structured settlement disputes, STOLI matters, short and long term disability issues, long term care insurance claims, reinsurance matters, vicarious liability issues and bad faith litigation; and other insurers covering supplemental, accidental and other insurance products in the defense of first party claims. Additional representative matters include the defense of pharmaceutical companies, financial institutions, banking entities, oil and gas companies, products companies, design professionals and other companies in the defense of general commercial claims, business disputes, business torts, negligence and fraud claims, consumer claims including FDUTPA, FCRA and TCPA claims, officer/director liability claims, products liability matters and other civil claims in state and federal courts throughout Florida and Georgia, as well as before arbitration tribunals throughout the country.
Ms. Quesada is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings, the highest rating possible, and an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association (Commercial, Consumer and Healthcare rosters).
Prior to forming SMGQ, Ms. Quesada was a partner at a national law firm and senior associate at Hunton & Williams LLP (n/k/a Hunton Andrews Kurth). Ms. Quesada commenced her legal career in private practice at Steel Hector & Davis LLP (n/k/a Squire Patton Boggs) after completing a federal clerkship as an Honors Attorney through the Attorney General Honors Program for the U.S. Department of Justice in Atlanta, Georgia, where she was selected from over 2,500 applicants for one of eight positions.
Ms. Quesada is admitted to practice in Florida, including the U.S. District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Florida; in Georgia, including the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Middle Districts of Georgia; in New York; and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
Ms. Quesada served as one of 12 commissioners appointed to the ABA's Commission on Women in the Profession by the president of the ABA and was the first Hispanic appointed from Florida. Ms. Quesada has been featured in Attorney at Law magazine’s Women in Law edition, Law360's series Minority Powerbrokers Q&A, the MCCA's Diversity & the Bar magazine, and Diversity Inc. magazine. She has also been highlighted as a Hispanic leader by Miami Today and South Florida CEO magazine, and honored as a Super Lawyer for Insurance, Top Lawyer in Insurance by the South Florida Legal Guide and Best Lawyer in America for Insurance Litigation. Ms. Quesada is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, a prestigious association where less than one-half of one percent of American trial lawyers have been invited to join.
- Representation of Fortune 100 life insurance company in commercial litigation and first party insurance coverage defense, including structured settlement disputes, vicarious liability issues, agent disputes, and interpleader actions
- Representation of Fortune 100 health insurance organization in commercial litigation and ERISA-related disputes, including breach of contract, tortious actions and overpayment claims
- Representation of Fortune 100 life and disability insurance company in commercial litigation, first party insurance and disability coverage defense, including vicarious liability issues, ERISA-related matters, agent disputes, and interpleader actions
- Representation of Fortune 500 banking institution in commercial litigation and tort defense, including breach of contract, fraud and interpleader actions
- Representation of Fortune 100 telecommunications company in general and commercial litigation matters including breach of contract, consumer fraud claims, consumer disputes, and deceptive trade practices issues
- Representation of Fortune 100 chemical company in products liability and commercial litigation matters including class action defense, breach of contract, breach of warranty, intentional torts, consumer fraud, RICO, and a variety of consumer claims
- Representation of Fortune 100 oil and gas company in defense of class actions regarding consumer fraud claims and deceptive and unfair trade practices
- Representation of Fortune 200 products and services company in commercial litigation matters including breach of contract, consumer claims, and consumer tort issues
- Representation of Fortune 200 insurance company in defense of multi-billion dollar class action for breach of contract, unfair and deceptive trade practices and consumer claims, wherein class claims were defeated on appeal and case was dismissed with prejudice by appellate court, after class was certified at the trial level
- Representation of Fortune 50 health insurance organization in matters against hospital providers in arbitration actions, as well as state and federal court involving breach of contract claims, underpayment claims, violations of state and federal laws including deceptive and unfair trade practices, fraudulent concealment claims, and the recovery of overpayment claims for the health insurance organization
- Representation of Fortune 50 health insurance organization against medical providers in federal court for alleged ERISA violations seeking payment for tens of millions of dollars which was successfully defended at the pleadings stage
- Representation of developers, architect and engineering firms in arbitration disputes, as well as state and federal courts regarding construction litigation disputes including breach of contract, claims of lien, equitable claims, fraud and violations of statutes governing the industries
- Representation of Fortune 100 life and disability insurance company in commercial litigation, first party insurance and disability coverage defense, including vicarious liability issues, ERISA-related matters, agent disputes, coverage disputes, and interpleader actions
- Representation of Fortune 200 disability and accident insurance company in commercial litigation, first party insurance, disability and accident coverage defense
AWARDS, PUBLICATIONS & CLE PRESENTATIONS
- AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings
- Best Lawyer in Insurance Litigation, The Best Lawyers in America
- Top Lawyer in Litigation, South Florida Legal Guide
- Super Lawyers Honoree in Insurance Coverage
- Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
- Minority Powerbroker Q&A Feature, Law 360
- Go-To Law Firm for the Top 500 Companies in Litigation, American Lawyer magazine (selected by Prudential)
- Top Law Firm, Corporate Counsel magazine
- “The Do’s & Don’ts of E-Discovery,” Xerox Corporation CLE, Chair
- “Law & Order: Special Investigative Units,” NAMWOLF CLE, Moderator
- “Best Practices in Attorney-Client Privilege Issues in the Digital and Global Age,” NAMWOLF CLE, Panelist
- “Key Issues to Consider When Litigating Life, Health and Disability Actions to Maximize Recoveries,” NAMWOLF CLE, Panelist
- “Preventing a Runaway Arbitration,” NAMWOLF CLE, Panelist
- “Discovery in ERISA Cases? How Florida Federal Courts Are Changing the ERISA Landscape One Case at a Time,” Florida Bar Journal (February 2016)
- “Comment: Summarizing Prior Witness Testimony,” Florida State University Law Review (Fall 1996)
Commission on Women in the Profession of the American Bar Association, Former Commissioner (appointed by president of ABA)
NAMWOLF, Law Firm Member (Insurance PAC (former Chair) and Pharma/Biotech PAC)
Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council (FSMSDC), Certified Minority-Owned Law Firm
Defense Research Institute (Life, Health, Disability & ERISA Committee and Commercial Litigation Committee)
Corporate Counsel Women of Color
Cuban American Bar Association
Hispanic National Bar Association