Colodny Fass’ Maria Elena Abate to Speak at the 2014 CLM Claims College
Sep 9, 2014
Colodny Fass Shareholder Maria Elena Abate was a speaker at the School of Insurance Fraud during its Claims College held from September 7-10, 2014, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Since joining Colodny Fass in 1992, Shareholder Maria Elena Abate has built her reputation and expertise in the areas of complex commercial litigation, insurance defense, insurance fraud, bad faith and class action defense, as well as employment law and civil rights issues.
Ms. Abate, who serves as Managing Partner of the Firm’s Litigation Division, is a member of the elite Claims and Litigation Management Alliance, an invitation-only national organization committed to furthering high standards of litigation and claims management in pursuit of client defense. Ms. Abate has also successfully completed the extensive requirements to achieve the designation of Certified Litigation Management Professional through CLM’s Litigation Management Institute. For the past several years Ms. Abate has been an active member of the Florida Property & Casualty Insurance Fraud Task Force and has lectured on fraud prevention at various venues with the Director of the Florida Division of Insurance Fraud.
With over 25 years of experience, she has worked closely with multiple defense firms and joint defense groups in complex commercial matters. Serving together with Firm Managing Partner Mike Colodny as outside general counsel, she was instrumental in the ability of Citizens Property Insurance Corporation to continue its ability to pay policyholders’ claims in the wake of several major hurricanes. For Citizens, Ms. Abate also handled complex litigation and class actions, as well as oversaw its defense counsel teams. She counseled Citizens’ claims handling and managed litigation of all its wind- and water-related cases. Her insurance-related governmental clients have included Citizens’ predecessor, the Florida Residential Property and Casualty Joint Underwriting Association, as well as the Florida Department of Insurance Division of Rehabilitation and Liquidation Services.
Ms. Abate, who formerly served as General Counsel to the South Florida Workforce Board for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, represents major employers and state agencies in the defense of employment-related class action and complex litigation, as well as other high-risk employment-related matters in cases involving the Fair Labor Standards Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Title VII, Section 1981 and 1983 claims, non-disclosures, non-competes, tortious interference claims and constitutional violations.
With extensive experience in handling employment-related matters involving all forms of discrimination, constitutional violations, health care issues, whistleblower claims, and breach of contract and unpaid wage claims, she is frequently called upon to counsel businesses in the volatile forum of human resources, specifically related to EEOC interventions, workplace investigations, training for best practices and employee manuals.
A member of the Administrative Law Sections of The Florida Bar and American Bar Association, Ms. Abate has represented clients in bid protests, DOAH proceedings, fair hearings, agency investigations and informal conferences before such state and federal agencies such as the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, Agency for Workforce Innovation, Department of Financial Services, Department of Health, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, Department of Labor, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Office of Insurance Regulation.
Prior to joining the Firm, Ms. Abate served as a staff attorney for The Honorable Arthur M. Birken, the Honorable Miette K. Burnstein, the Honorable Robert L. Andrews, the Honorable Patricia W. Cocalis, the Honorable Mel Grossman the late Honorable Joseph E. Price, and the late Honorable Stephen R. Booher of the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County, Florida.
A member of the Florida Bar, Ms. Abate is admitted to practice in all Florida state and appellate courts, the United States District Court for the Southern, Middle, and Northern Districts of Florida, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and the United States Supreme Court.
She has served in numerous positions within the Florida Bar, as a past Chair of the Florida Bar’s Public Interest Law Section (PILS), a member of the Continuing Legal Education Committee and as a Past Chair of PILS’ Legal Needs of Children Committee. She also is a founding board member of the Women’s Breast Health Initiative, a charitable organization dedicated to providing free mammograms to uninsured women.
Fluent in Spanish, Ms. Abate received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami, cum laude, and her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, cum laude.
About the CLM
The Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM) promotes and furthers the highest standards of claims and litigation management and brings together the thought leaders in both industries. CLM’s Members and Fellows include risk and litigation managers, insurance and claims professionals, corporate counsel, outside counsel and third party vendors. The CLM sponsors educational programs, provides resources and fosters communication among all in the industry. To learn more about the CLM, please visit www.theclm.org.