Diana L. Martin is Of Counsel at Cohen Milstein, and a member of the firm’s Complex Tort Litigation and Consumer Protection practice groups.
Ms. Martin’s practice focuses on appellate litigation involving complex product liability, consumer class, mass tort, and managed care litigation. She not only handles appeals in these areas of law, but also provides appellate support at the trial stage. In this role, she works as an integral part of the trial team by strategizing best practices, drafting and arguing complex and case dispositive motions, handling jury instruction charge conferences, and assisting trial counsel in preserving and protecting the record in the event of an appeal.
Ms. Martin is often involved in cases that involve complex issues or require the development of innovative strategies for novel or evolving theories of liability. These areas have included developing legal theories to avoid the application of legal immunity to workers’ compensation carriers who deny or delay medical care to injured workers, and using Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act to hold hospitals accountable for drastically overbilling patients on a uniform basis. Her experience spans various practice areas, such as constitutional and civil rights law, commercial litigation, mass tort and class action litigation, managed care litigation, products liability law, and catastrophic personal injury litigation.
Ms. Martin is on the litigation team for the following notable matters:
- Reed, et al. v. USA (E.D. Tenn.): Cohen Milstein is representing plaintiffs in a wrongful death and property damage mass action against the U.S. Department of Interior and National Park Service for the negligence of its employees to perform their duties during The Chimney Tops 2 Fire in Tennessee, which originated in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and ultimately damaged or destroyed 2,500 homes, buildings and other structures, and killed more than 12 people.
- Bernardo, et al. v. Pfizer, Inc., et al. (S.D. Fla.): On February 20, 2020, Cohen Milstein filed a false advertising, medical monitoring, and personal injury class action against Pfizer, Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi, and other pharmaceutical companies on behalf of multiple plaintiffs and putative class members across the United States who, as a result of taking Zantac (ranitidine), may have been afflicted with cancer or may now be subjected to an increased risk of developing cancer.
- Lindsay X-LITE Guardrail Litigation (State Crts.: Tenn., S.C.): Cohen Milstein represents more than five families of decedents and victims of catastrophic injuries in a series of individual products liability, wrongful death and catastrophic injury lawsuits in Tennessee and South Carolina state courts against the Lindsay Corporation and several related entities for designing, manufacturing, selling, and installing defective X-Lite guardrails on state roadways.
Ms. Martin has successfully litigated the following matters:
- Herrera, et al. v. JFK Medical Center, et al. (M.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a class action lawsuit alleging that four Florida plaintiffs and others like them were billed inflated and exorbitant fees for emergency radiology services, in excess of the amount allowed by law, covered in part by their mandatory Florida Personal Injury Protection insurance. When the district court struck plaintiffs’ class claims, Ms. Martin successfully petitioned the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals to accept immediate appellate review and obtained a reversal of the district court’s order. Cohen Milstein resolved the case and secured final approval of a $220 million injunctive relief settlement.
- H.C., et al. v Ric Bradshaw, et al. (S.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein, in conjunction with the Human Rights Defense Center (HRDC) and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County, successfully represented juvenile offenders against the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach County School Board, challenging the practice of placing juvenile offenders in solitary confinement and for allegedly denying mandated educational services to juvenile offenders held at the Jail, “including services needed to address their disabilities,” in violation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The 2018 settlement was first-of-its-kind in Florida, as it ended the systemic practice of holding juveniles charged as adults in solitary confinement and ensures educational services of such juveniles.
- In re: Caterpillar, Inc. Engine Products Liability Litigation (D.N.J.): Cohen Milstein was co-lead counsel in a nationwide product liability class action lawsuit alleging Caterpillar sold diesel engines with defective exhaust emissions system that resulted in power losses and shutdowns. The case was settled in September 2016 for $60 million.
- Hand et al., v. Scott et.al (N.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein and Fair Elections Legal Network, a national voting rights organization, achieved a major victory in 2018 on behalf of former felons in Florida, who claimed their constitutional rights had been infringed by Florida’s Clemency Board. The court ruled that the Clemency Board’s process to grant or deny former felons’ restoration of voting rights applications was unconstitutionally arbitrary and violated the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments. While this case was on appeal before the 11th Circuit, Floridians voted to allow such voting rights restoration to felons.
- Mincey v. Takata (Cir. Crt., Duval Cty., Fla.): Cohen Milstein was lead counsel in a lawsuit brought on behalf of Patricia Mincey and her family, a Florida woman who sustained catastrophic injuries that rendered her a quadriplegic in 2014 when the driver’s side airbag in her Honda Civic deployed too aggressively during a collision due to a product defect. Patricia Mincey passed away in early 2016 due to complications from her quadriplegia. The suit charged that Takata, the manufacturer of the airbag system, knew of the airbag defect and hid the problem from consumers. When the defendants removed Ms. Mincey’s case to federal court in an attempt to have it bogged down in multi-district litigation, Ms. Martin successfully had the case remanded to Florida state court, where it is was resolved in July 2016.
- Wal-Mart Employment Discrimination Litigation (S.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein represented individual female Walmart employees in a lawsuit alleging that the company discriminated against them on the basis of their sex. Ms. Martin worked as part of the trial and appellate teams until the parties reached a confidential settlement with the plaintiffs.
In 2018, Ms. Martin was recognized by the Daily Business Review as the “Most Effective Lawyer” in the area of Pro Bono.
Ms. Martin currently serves as Audit Committee Chair of Families First of Palm Beach County. She is a past President of Florida Legal Services and served as a Board Member between 2007 and 2016. Ms. Martin was also a Board Member of the Florida Bar Foundation in 2015-2016. She has written numerous legal articles, which have been published in a variety of journals, including Trial Magazine, The Florida Bar Journal, and the Florida Justice Association Journal. Ms. Martin also co-authors Florida Insurance Law and Practice, an annual publication by Thomson/West.
Ms. Martin attended Flagler College, graduating summa cum laude with Departmental Honors in Philosophy/Religion. She earned her J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law, graduating with High Honors and achieving admission to the Order of the Coif.
Ms. Martin clerked for three years between 2002 and 2005 for the Honorable Martha C. Warner in Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal.
- Civil Procedure Rules Committee, Florida Bar
- Audit Committee Chair, Families First, Palm Beach County, 2008-present
- President, Florida Legal Services, 2015-2016
- Board of Directors, Florida Legal Services, 2007-2016
- Board Member, Florida Bar Foundation, 2015-2016
- Chair, Journal/News Editorial Board, Florida Bar Association, 2012-2013