Gardens lawyer, Stormy Daniels’ attorney Avenatti share legal award

Palm Beach Gardens lawyer Edward Ricci joined Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti on a stage in Denver on Monday, both accepting an award as the Trial Attorney of the Year from the Public Justice Foundation.

Ricci and Avenatti, who became a regular on TV news shows for representing the porn star who claims she had an affair with President Donald Trump, received the award in connection with a $454 million verdict they won in 2017 against tissue giant Kimberly-Clark.

Along with two other attorneys who also shared the award, Ricci and Avenatti convinced a California jury that Kimberly-Clark had produced and sold defective surgical gowns. While a judge later reduced the amount to roughly $25 million, Ricci pointed out the jury verdict still stands as one of the largest ever against a medical device maker. The company is appealing.

Ricci, who traveled to Denver with his wife, former Palm Beach Circuit Judge Mary Lupo, said he was stunned to receive the award.

While he has received other honors during his 44-year career, “this is one of the most prestigious ones,” he said. Public Justice, based in Washington, is one of the oldest and largest public interest law firms. It focuses on cases involving environmental and health safety.

Ricci and Avenatti first joined forces in a bizarre 2005 lawsuit in which they accused top Palm Beach County attorneys and two Miami developers of conspiring against two elderly widows in the 2003 sale of a Boca Raton cemetery and mausoleum. While the attorneys settled with the late widows’ family before the case went to trial in 2014, a jury ordered developers Edward and Arthur Falcone to pay the family $4 million. The 4th District Court of Appeal threw out the verdict.

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