Crabtree, Auslander & Tackenberg

Handling Complex Appellate Cases

Miami, Florida

Professional and Experienced Appellate Practice

Specializing in complex appellate cases

Crabtree, Auslander & Tackenberg is a Miami-based law firm that was founded to represent clients in appellate proceedings in Florida and throughout the United States. The firm’s partners are each board certified as appellate specialists by The Florida Bar.

The firm’s members have handled appeals on behalf of individuals and companies in virtually every subject matter in the realm of civil litigation. They have represented clients statewide before Florida’s appellate courts and in numerous federal appellate courts in the country, including the Supreme Court of the United States. They have been consistently named as one of the preeminent appellate practice firms in Florida by numerous publications, including Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers.

Board Certified Appellate Lawyers
Defining Success
240 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne Florida

Our Related Practice Areas

Class Action & Mass Tort Litigation

Navigating complex legal issues is an integral part of appellate expertise. Our firm uses that specialized knowledge to represent clients in high-stakes class-action litigation. The skill set necessary to succeed in class-action litigation is a natural extension of our firm’s strengths. Using those strengths, we represent both plaintiffs and defendants in class-action litigation, bringing creativity and outside-the-box thinking that clients on both sides of the courtroom can appreciate.

Trial Support

Our practice extends outside the appellate courthouse. Appeals are often won and lost long before they arrive at an appellate court. As appellate experts, we leverage our expertise to make sure that our clients make the best record possible in the trial court. That way, win or lose, our clients are positioned to succeed at the appellate level.

Class Actions
Mass Tort
Trial Support

complex appellate cases

Recent Decisions

Crabtree, Auslander & Tackenberg handles all types of civil appeals, ranging from commercial matters to complex family-law disputes. Below is a list of our firm’s recent successes in the appellate arena. Given the personal nature of some of our firm’s work, we have removed our client’s identifying information to protect their privacy.

Cavalieri v. Avior Airlines C.A., 25 F.4th 843 (11th Cir. 2022)

In a putative class action filed on behalf of thousands of consumers who purchased airfare from a South American airline, the firm obtained a reversal from an order dismissing the case on federal preemption grounds. Though the district court had dismissed the putative class’ case on the basis that their request for damages was preempted by the Airline Deregulation Act, the firm convinced the appellate court that the class sought merely to enforce the parties’ private agreements regarding the cost of passage and, thus, fell outside the scope of ADA preemption, as delineated by the United States Supreme Court.

Malek v. Malek, 346 So. 3d 179 (Fla. 3d DCA 2022)

In an appeal stemming from disputed ownership of a British Virgin Islands corporation that holds Florida real estate worth millions of dollars, the firm obtained reversal of an order compelling arbitration. Before the appeal, the BVI corporation had successfully intervened in the trial court—contending that an arbitration provision in its articles controlled the procedure for deciding who owns its shares. In a victory for the firm’s client, the appellate court held that the corporation had no interest in who owns it and, thus, no dispute with any shareholder over governance of the entity.

Olympus Ins. Co. v. Miller, Case No. 4D21-1903

The firm recently prevailed for the insured in a residential property insurance appeal when the insurer voluntarily dismissed its appeal, after full briefing and the scheduling of oral argument. The appeal involved policy interpretation—specifically the insurer’s contention that an endorsement to the policy authorized it to pay for all loss, including the insured’s claim for additional living expense—from the mold coverage protection of the policy, thereby exhausting policy limits below the insured’s damages that were recovered at trial.

CFLB Partnership, LLC v. Diamond Blue International, Inc., 352 So. 3d 357 (Fla. 3d DCA 2022)

In an appeal arising from complex real-estate development litigation, the firm obtained a reversal of an order entering a substantial unjust-enrichment money judgment against the firm’s client. Through an opinion that addressed both the scope of equitable unjust-enrichment relief under Florida law and the limitations of such relief in the face of an LLC’s separate corporate existence, the firm was able to have the judgment against its client reversed.

Confidential Family Law Appeal (Fla. 4th DCA 2021)

In an appeal arising from dissolution of marriage proceedings, the firm was able to obtain a reversal of an order improperly distributing the parties’ assets. The firm obtained this reversal by convincing the appellate court that the trial court had not considered the factors necessary to distribute the parties’ assets and, accordingly, that further litigation in the trial court was necessary under Florida law.

Crabtree, Auslander & Tackenberg

Firm Achievements

We are proud of the results we have achieved over the years for our clients. Although we value every win, below is a list of the victories that we are especially proud of at Crabtree, Auslander, and Tackenberg.


The firm was co-counsel with a leading Miami family law firm in the the trial court for a two-week trial and then represented the husband on appeal in the Third District Court of Appeal in a high-profile, nine-figure dissolution of marriage case that turned on the enforceability of a pre-nuptial agreement.


Crabtree & Auslander represented a husband before the Fourth District Court of Appeal in an action involving a nine-figure marital estate. The firm successfully reversed a trial court order calling for the client to make a 7.6 million dollar interim marital asset distribution.

Gobbi v. Mamann.

The firm represented one of the world’s leading art collectors in a multimillion dollar real estate dispute as co-counsel before the trial court and, then, lead appellate counsel—representation that ultimately led to settlement with the producer of “Seinfeld” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Smith

The firm upheld a $30 million dollar verdict against a tobacco company’s challenge to both the compensatory damages ($10 million in noneconomic damages) and punitive damages ($20 million) awards. The firm persuaded two of the three judges on the panel to specially concur in upholding the judgment despite their stated deep concerns regarding whether there was evidence to support the large jury verdict.

Butler v. Schlicting, 95 So. 3d 222 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)

After trial counsel obtained a $14 million verdict for the plaintiffs in a tragic auto accident case, the firm handled the post-trial briefing and the appeal—winning a per curiam affirmance (PCA) of the entire judgment in favor of the plaintiffs.

Valdes v. Valdes, 62 So. 3d 7 (Fla. 3d DCA 2011).

The firm represented the wife in protracted post-dissolution litigation occurring before the trial and appellate courts that focused upon the husband’s incomplete financial disclosure before, during, and after trial. The case culminated in a Third District Court of Appeal opinion forcing the husband to account for, and the trial court to distribute amounts to the wife based on an error of over one million dollars.

Crabtree, Auslander & Tackenberg

Case Studies

In theory, class action litigation is intended to make litigation more efficient. By consolidating claims together, both plaintiffs and defendants should be able to resolve their largest disputes more quickly and less expensively. Heavy emphasis on should. In practice, that is not always how it works.

We approach class action litigation differently. Regardless of which side of the case we happen to be on, we strive to make class actions what they were designed to be: efficient. For defendants, that means less cost. For plaintiffs, that means faster results.

Case Study 1: Outside-the-box strategy lowers defense costs

Our creative mindset toward class action litigation recently paid off for one of our clients that we were representing in a Florida state court action.

Our client, a California-based tech company in the medical records space, was—like the other members of its industry—sued in Florida state court over its copy-charge practices, which the plaintiffs contended violated Florida regulatory caps on the amount a medical records custodian could charge for copying. The other Industry defendants generally lost or settled. We proposed a different path.

Rather than run up fees and expenses litigating class certification, we reached a stipulation with the other side: we would agree to class certification (without prejudice to seek decertification); in exchange, we would not be required to post a bond to have a stay pending appeal if we lost the case. That decision saved the client considerable money, but we were not done. After the class was certified, we were able to avoid any formal discovery by reaching a second stipulation—this one as to the material facts in the case. With that second stipulation in hand, both sides moved for summary judgment. We won. After that, we were able to resolve the remainder of the case without any appeal.

Short circuiting the class action process paid off for our medical records client. They were able to resolve the action much more quickly and more cost effectively than they otherwise would have if they had hired a defense firm that employed the standard defense playbook.

Case Study 2: Planning a plaintiff-side class action for efficiency
Our unique approach to class actions also works on the plaintiff side. We learned that Uber was paying their drivers less than they were contractually required to pay them on their minimum-fare rides. Instead of employing the typical plaintiff-side strategy–conducting months of discovery, running up costs, and wasting everyone’s time, all while hoping to cause the defendant enough pain to coerce a settlement–we designed our case so that it could be resolved, on the merits, as efficiently as possible. By limiting our claim to a strict breach-of-contract action, we were able to avoid what bogs down most nationwide class actions for years: unnecessary fights over facts. Those discovery fights only benefit people who plan their day in six-minute increments. Those people were not our clients. Discarding the typical playbook, we moved for class certification and for summary judgment on our breach of contract claim as soon as we could. That was risky. The standard playbook employed by class counsel is the standard because it allows for back up plans and fact-based settlement discussions. But we believed in our case and our clients deserved to be made whole as soon as possible. Uber was not new to litigation. It has faced dozens of national class actions. It was won many, and it has settled some. But it has only lost once. We were lead counsel in that case. By designing our plaintiff-side class action to be as lean as possible from the outset, we were able to get our clients 100% of their damages as quickly and efficiently as possible. That is how class actions were meant to be litigated. We bring that efficiency to every class action we litigate.

Appellate Expertise at Crabtree & Auslander

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