- Appellate law
- Employment discrimination / wrongful discharge defense
- Employer/HR consultation and investigation
- Medical malpractice defense
- Commercial litigation
- Creditor oriented bankruptcy
- Civil rights and constitutional claims
- General tort defense
- General civil litigation
- Correctional officer liability litigation
- Mississippi University for Women, B.A. magna cum laude, English
- Florida State University College of Law, J.D., high honors
- Rated “AV” by Martindale-Hubbell
- Member, Appellate Law section of Florida Bar and America Bankruptcy Institute
- Associated with the firm since 1987
- Member, Mediator Qualifications and Discipline Review Board of the Office of State Court Administrators
- Member, Second Judicial Circuit Professionalism Panel
- Has successfully argued appeals before the Florida District Courts of Appeal, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- Has served as an adjunct instructor at FSU College of Law in the area of creditor’s rights and at Tallahassee Community College on the subject of litigation procedures
Admitted to Practice
- All Florida State Courts
- United States Supreme Court
- Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- U.S. District Court for the Northern and Middle Districts of Florida
Laura Beth Faragasso recently obtained a favorable decision from the Florida First District Court of Appeals on behalf of the firm’s client, Florida A&M University, in a dispute regarding the autonomy of the Student Government Association’s Supreme Court to require a new, campus-wide election for the positions of president and vice-president of the SGA, in the wake of electoral improprieties at one FAMU’s precincts. The adversely affected candidate obtained injunctive relief in the trial court but was reversed on appeal. As argued by FAMU, the district court ruled that the candidates had failed to make a showing of the essential elements of injunctive relief and that no due process rights were implicated by the decision of SGA, an extracurricular organization of the University. Florida A&M Board of Trustees v. Bruno, 198 So. 3d 1040 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016)
Laura Beth Faragasso and Miriam Coles recently obtained a favorable result for their client, Florida A&M University, on appeal to the Florida First District Court of Appeals. After briefing and oral argument, the First District upheld the entry of summary judgment in favor of the University in a breach of contract and abuse of process claim brought by a former student against the University relating to disciplinary action taken against her, which significantly delayed her ability to graduate. The First District affirmed the trial court’s ruling that the student’s failure to appeal the final order of discipline via petition for writ of certiorari to the circuit court amounted to a failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and thus barred her separate lawsuit for money damages. Sylvain v. Florida A&M Board of Trustees, 204 So. 3d 162 (Fla. 1st DCA 2016).
Laura Beth Faragasso and Dawn McMahon recently obtained summary judgment for defendant, the Florida Department of Children and Families, in a federal Equal Pay Act case. Two current, female ARNP employees of Florida State Hospital challenged a disparity between their rate of compensation and that of a male ARNP co-worker who had left the employment of the hospital to work with another agency and then returned to FSH at the time of critical need for prescribing medical providers. The male co-worker had demanded and received a 10% salary increase with each move, resulting in a significant pay disparity between the nurse practitioners, despite all ARNPs performing the same essential job functions. When the female ARNPs demanded that their salary be increased to the same level as their male counter-part and the hospital declined, they sued. The district court agreed with the defense argument that factors such as salary compression for long-term state employees; insufficient personnel budge appropriations by the legislature; critical need at the time of the male co-worker’s return to the hospital; and the co-worker’s willingness to seek alternative employment were all gender neutral justifications for the salary differential and thus there was no Equal Pay Act violation. Patricia N. Kalu and Susan Linder-Wyatt v. State of Florida, Department of Children & Families, Case No. 4:15cv388-RH/CAS, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida.
Dawn McMahon and Laura Beth Faragasso recently defended an FMLA/nursing mother accommodation and retaliation case against the Florida Department of Corrections after winning the plaintiff’s related termination claim on summary judgment. The three day trial resulted in a hung jury. The case ultimately resolved for nuisance value shortly before the scheduled re-trial in May 2015. Sheila Kerce v. Florida Department of Corrections, Case No. 4:13-cv-00557-MW-CAS, Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division.
Dawn McMahon and Laura Beth Faragasso recently defended a four-count employment discrimination / promotional and retaliation case against the Florida Department of Children and Families in federal court, after winning two of the original six counts on summary judgment. At the conclusion of the three day trial, the jury returned a defense verdict on three of the four remaining claims and awarded the plaintiff significantly less than had been offered in pre-trial negotiations. Phyllis Garrett v. State of Florida, Department of Children & Families, Case No. 4:13-cv-00568-RH-CAS, Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division.