Miami lawyer Jonathan Goodman was riding a ski lift in Colorado on a snowy day last December, midway through his vacation, when he whipped out his cell phone to check his voice mail at work.

He was sorry he did. His then co-counsel at Akerman Senterfitt, Julie Nevins, had left a message notifying him that they had just lost a big case in U.S. District Court in Miami, in which they were representing the defendant. After a three-month trial late last year, jurors had sided with the plaintiff, AlphaMed, a Largo pharmaceutical company, granting $48 million in damages. That figure later would balloon to $78 million when jurors returned punitive damages as well.

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