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:
- United States ex rel. Long v. Janssen Biotech, Inc. (D. Mass.): Cohen Milstein represents the plaintiff-relator in a whistleblower/qui tam lawsuit against Janssen Biotech (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), alleging that the manufacturer of the rheumatoid arthritis drugs Remicade and Simponi ARIA violated federal law by engaging in a scheme through which it provided physicians free practice management and infusion business consulting services over an extended period to induce the physicians to purchase Remicade and Simponi ARIA and administer these drugs to patients, including Medicare beneficiaries, via infusions performed in their offices.
- Underwood v. Meta Platforms, Inc. (Facebook) (State Crt., Cal.): Cohen Milstein has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Angela Underwood Jacobs, the sister of slain federal security officer Dave Patrick Underwood, against Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly Facebook. On May 29, 2020, Officer Underwood was providing security at a federal courthouse during a rally to protest the killing of George Floyd. According to documents filed in federal criminal proceedings, Officer Underwood was the victim of a drive-by shooting by Steven Carrillo and his accomplice, Robert Alvin Justus, Jr., who identify as boogaloo adherents, part of an extremist movement that advocates targeted violence against federal officers. Plaintiff alleges that by connecting users to extremist groups, including Officer Underwood’s killers who met through Facebook where they hatched their extremist plot to target and kill federal officers, and promoting inflammatory, divisive, and untrue content, the company bears responsibility for the tragic murder of Officer Underwood.
- 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.
- CSX Litigation (E.D. N.C.): On October 4, 2018, Cohen Milstein filed a putative class action on behalf of faith leaders, businesses, and residents in the southern and western portions of Lumberton, North Carolina who have twice suffered catastrophic flooding and damage due to CSX Corporation and CSX transportation entities ignoring and trying to block government entities from building a floodgate on a train underpass it owns and operates, including preventing the city from building a temporary berm in 2018 to protect its citizens from impending Hurricane Florence.
- Edwards v. Tesla (State Crt., Cal.): On June 25, 2020, Cohen Milstein filed a product liability lawsuit against Tesla, Inc., on behalf of Kristian and Jason Edwards. Ms. Edwards sustained catastrophic injuries as a result of the failure of the airbags to deploy in her Tesla model 3 during an accident.
- Doe v. Chiquita Brands International (S.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein is representing families of banana workers and others killed or tortured by the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, a foreign terrorist organization designated by the United States, which was allegedly receiving financial support and firearms and ammunition from Chiquita, a U.S. corporation with operations throughout Colombia.
Ms. Martin has successfully litigated the following matters:
- Trahan v. Mulholland (Cir. Crt., Alachua Cnty., Fla.): In August 2018, after a week-long trial, a jury awarded Ms. Trahan, an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, $4.6 million in damages for more than a decade of sexual abuse perpetrated by her father, a prominent Central Florida businessman. The jury also found her mother negligent in failing to use reasonable care to protect her daughter from the abuse. Ms. Martin represented Ms. Trahan as part of the trial team and on appeal, where she successfully defended the $4.6 million judgment in Florida’s First District Court of Appeal.
- S.B. v. FAMU (11th Cir. Ct. of Appeals): Cohen Milstein represented a FAMU student who filed an action alleging the university committed Title IX violations in failing to adequately investigate her claims of sexual assault. To protect her identity, Cohen Milstein named the plaintiff under a pseudonym, and the district court repeatedly denied the university’s attempts to make her identity public. Ms. Martin successfully defended the district court’s orders, protecting the plaintiff’s anonymity, when the university appealed the issue to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.
- 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.
Lindsay X-LITE Guardrail Litigation (State Crts.: Tenn., S.C.): Cohen Milstein successfully represented 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.
- H.C., et al. v Ric Bradshaw, et al. (S.D. Fla.): Cohen Milstein, in conjunction with the Human Rights Defense Center 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. Cohen Milstein and its co-counsel resolved the matter in 2018 by obtaining a settlement that was first-of-its-kind in Florida, as it ended the systemic practice of holding juveniles charged as adults in solitary confinement and ensures the provision of educational services to such juveniles.
- 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.
- 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.
- Mincey v. Takata (Cir. Crt., Duval Cnty., 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.
Ms. Martin currently serves on the Civil Procedure Rules Committee of the Florida Bar and serves as Audit Committee Chair of Families First of Palm Beach County. She is a past President of Florida Legal Services, where she was a board member from 2007 to 2016, and served as a board member on the Florida Bar Foundation from 2015 to 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, and co-authors Florida Insurance Law and Practice, an annual publication by Thomson/West. She was recognized by “Best Lawyers in America” in 2021 as “Best Lawyer” for practice areas of Appellate Practice; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions; and Personal Injury Litigation. In 2018, Ms. Martin was recognized by the Daily Business Review as the “Most Effective Lawyer” in the area of Pro Bono.
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