STUART Z. GROSSMAN V. CURACAO
Bank of America, BP, and possibly the Netherlands
are also on notice from the Coral Gables personal
INTERVIEW CONDUCTED AND EDITED BY BETH TAYLOR
Q: Were you always interested in the
A: I was the first person in my family to
graduate college. I did not have some
Uncle Phil or my dad to use as a role model
for being a lawyer.
Q: So what was the reason?
A: I grew up in the ’60s era that changed
the world as far as the concept of equality
was concerned. I think that I honed some
sense of justice then—if not in my conduct,
then certainly subliminally, and just
psychologically was always drawn to those
stories, to movies about people’s struggles,
to the prospects of people having equal
opportunities. I went on and became an
English major and studied theater and
literature. [I saw] a friend of mine from my
high school basketball team … in college
one day, and I said, “What’s that?” He had
a book on the LSAT. My friend George, if it
weren’t for him, I don’t think that I would
have really thought about it. I said, “You
know what, George? I think I’ll take that
test, too.” Clearly, I’m doing exactly what
I was intended to do, because I feel like I
haven’t really worked a day in my life.
Q: What steered you toward personal
A: When I was in law school, I was also
finishing a stint in the U.S. Coast Guard.
I was in search and rescue, and my
commanding officer let me take classes
here at the University of Miami. I had been
transferred back to Miami because my dad
had passed away. So I completed my active
duty here, and in my freshman year I was
at a social event and [met] R. W. “Buddy”
Payne. … It turns out that he was [with] the
leading trial lawyer firm in Miami—Spence
Payne & Masington. I got a job there as a
law clerk, and then they asked me to stay
as an associate, then I became a name
partner, and stayed there my entire career
until Grossman Roth was formed.
Q: What about personal injury has kept
your interest all these years?
A: I was in medical malpractice … and
products—how they fail—and aviation.
And now we do so much class action
work. I think the common denominator
is watching something big hurt someone
little, whether it’s a patient who’s caught
up in the maelstrom of surgery and comes
out radically altered from the way that
person went in … or if a product fails and
the manufacturer is not forthcoming,
having to figure out what the design
defect was. Same thing in the aviation
cases we handle.
Q: Your biggest case at the moment is
the bank-overdraft class action.
A: We’ve achieved now probably about
$1 billion worth of settlements; we’re
approaching that number. A lot of banks,
with their not-so-wealthy clients, would
sell them debit cards—it’s like a checking
account reduced to plastic. It would
have a value, and as long as you do not
exceed [that], you would not get a charge
for an overdraft. Let’s assume a fellow
has a $100 overdraft limit, meaning he’s