Disciplined in Sophisticated Defense and Insurance Litigation

As a Subrogation professional with over 14 years of experience, Mary Jo Kuusela knows that timely resolutions and proactive communication are essential for her clients.   Efficient, cost effective results are a top priority for Mary Jo, and her experience encompasses a range of successful multi-million dollar lawsuits and class action claims. Admitted to practice in both Florida and Texas, Mary Jo’s litigation practice focuses on construction defects, products liability, product recall, trucking and maritime claims.

She is well versed in the complexity of construction and contract cases, recently handling a lawsuit arising from a building collapse involving a breach of contract and construction defect claim where damages exceeded $7.3 million. Her recent experiences include a lawsuit arising from a water loss involving negligent installation and maintenance of a fire sprinkler system, and a roof damage claim due to construction defects caused by Hurricane Irma with damages exceeding $3.2 and $3.3 million.

Mary Jo loves a challenge. Starting as a legal secretary, working her way up as a paralegal, and ultimately becoming an attorney, she understands every facet of a law firm. Her past experiences are the reason for her client oriented, proactive approach, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with her clients and their insureds. Mary Jo has also written on a variety of legal subjects, as well as recently presenting a webinar on Fire Sprinkler Claims. She is also a proud member of the National Association of Subrogation Professionals and presented Subrogation College at the NASP Annual Conference.

Mary Jo actively supports local charities through various channels and believes giving back is integral to becoming a part of the community. She has volunteered in several pro bono activities at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in the Family Forms Clinic, Domestic Violence Program, and the Attorney Ad Litem Program. Mary Jo also contributes to Metropolitan Ministries, United Way, and her local church organizations, supporting their efforts in improving everyday life for those in need.


  • Florida
  • Texas


  • University of South Florida
    Bachelor of Arts
  • Stetson University College of Law
    Doctor of Jurisprudence


  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Florida Bar Association
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA)
  • National Association of Subrogation Professionals (NASP)
  • Texas Bar Association


  • Florida Courts (State and Federal)
  • Texas Courts (State and Federal)

1910, Inc. v. Ironwood Properties, Inc. (subrogation lawsuit arising from building damage caused by construction activities at adjacent lot including sheet pile driving, soil compaction, excavation and other vibratory construction. Damages exceeded $1.1 million.)

2800 Henderson and Artreach v. Brasscraft Manufacturing Co. (subrogation claim involving a water loss caused by a defective water supply line. Damages exceeded $950,000.)

Art & Frame v. Simon Roofing & Sheet Metal Corp. (subrogation lawsuit arising from a building collapse involving a breach of contract, and construction defect claim. Damages exceeded $7.3 million.)

Belle Vista v. Virginia Sprinkler Company, Inc. (subrogation lawsuit arising from a water loss involving a negligent installation and maintenance of a fire sprinkler system. Damages exceeded $3.2 million.)

Casa Linda Professional Building and Bristow v. Oncor Electric Delivery Co. (subrogation lawsuit arising from a fire caused by a Texas utility company due to improper maintenance of utility service. Damages exceeded $1 million.)

Club at Shiloh Ridge v. Ver-Max, Inc. (subrogation lawsuit involving a fire caused by improper service and maintenance of a commercial kitchen vent hood system. Damages exceeded $1.7 million.)

God’s Love in Action, et al vs. Midea Group Co., LTD., et al. - (subrogation lawsuit arising from a fire loss due to the failure of a refrigerator). Damages exceeded $1.1 million.

In re: West Explosion Cases - Cause No. 2013-2476-4 (170th Dist. McLennan County, TX) (mass tort litigation and subrogation lawsuit following explosion of fertilizer plant in West, Texas).

Pan Am Equities v. Frantz (subrogation claim involving a fire caused by the tenant due to unattended cooking. Damages exceeded $1.35 million.)

Prather v, Bosch Home Appliances Corp. (subrogation lawsuit arising from fire caused by product defect in dishwasher involving a CPSC recall. Damages exceeded $800,000.)

Tieszen v. Titeflex, et al. - (subrogation lawsuit arising from a fire loss due to the failure of corrugated stainless steel tubing (“CSST”). Damages exceeded $800,000. 

Travel Pro v. Southern Coatings (subrogation lawsuit arising from roof damage due to construction defects revealed during Hurricane Wilma. Damages exceeded $3.4 million.)

February 22, 2017 PUBLICATIONPennsylvania – VOIDED Terms and Conditions: Unlawful and Unconscionable Exculpatory Clauses

How many of your subrogation claims have been closed because of the subrogation killing terms and conditions of a contract? A recent decision in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, United States District Court found in favor of a subrogating insurance carrier and held that the terms and conditions barring recovery were both unlawfully drafted and unconscionable, thus allowing the subrogating carrier to move forward with its subrogation claim. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., a/s/o Sara Rivera v. Petroleum Heat & Power Co., Inc., 2016 WL 5816182 (E.D. Penn. October 5, 2016).

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October 20, 2016 PUBLICATIONKentucky- Business Personal Property Damages Excluded under Daubert

Have your personal property or business personal property subrogation damages ever been excluded under a Daubert challenge? They could be if the damages are not sufficiently supported by evidence.  If any of the steps are not followed in calculating the actual cash value of the personal property damages, the entire claim may get excluded. 

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October 13, 2015 PUBLICATIONWhen is the Contract Complete? Court Rules that Statue of Repose Commences Upon Final Payment.

Recently, Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal reviewed the statute of repose relative to improvements to real property.

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October 01, 2012 PUBLICATIONExperts – When to Discuss the Facts and When to Obtain a Report

How many times have you received an expert report without requesting one? It happens more than one would think. Hopefully, you are working with experts who do not prepare reports on their own without your request. If you are working with an expert for the first time, it would be wise to communicate with the expert to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to a written report. After all, once an expert has issued a report, it cannot be re-written.

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April 01, 2012 PUBLICATIONAre Expert Reports Always Protected by the Work Product Protection? ...Maybe Not.

A question sometimes arises as to whether expert reports are protected under the work product doctrine when experts are retained by claims adjusters, as opposed to attorneys.  For instance, when expert reports are issued to adjusters or another subrogation professional, the report can be deemed not protected, because the report is written during the normal course of an adjustment or investigative stage of a claim. On the other hand, when expert reports are directed  to an attorney, the expert report usually has a better chance of being protected from subsequent disclosure, per the work product doctrine.

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July 08, 2010 PUBLICATIONMaryland Court Holds Waiver of Subrogation Contract Language Does Not Bar Recovery After Project Completion and Final Payment

In Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company v. Phoebusa Maryland appellate court ruled that an insurance company's subrogation claim could proceed against a general contractor and subcontractor, despite subrogation waivers in the AlA form construction contract governing the contractors' work. In Phoebus, the plaintiff-insurer issued a property insurance policy to a restaurant's owner subsequent to the restaurant's construction. When a fire damaged the restaurant and it was determined that defective electrical wiring and components caused the fire, the insurer sought recovery from the contractors who performed electrical work during the restaurant's construction.

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May 24, 2010 PUBLICATIONDon't Cut Corners on Proper Notice...It Matters!

This article was originally published in NASP's Subrogator publication, Winter 2010. © 2010.  Reprinted by permission.

Contact the authors for the full version of the article.

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April 01, 2005 PUBLICATIONFlorida's "Made Whole" Doctrine: Returning A Portion of the Insured's Deductible Is Permissible – For Now!

Per Florida's Made Whole Doctrine, insurers need only reimburse their insureds to the extent of their insured's legally recoverable loss. In the recent case of Monte De Oca v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., ---So.2d---, 2004 WL 2955008 (Fla. 3d DCA 2004), the Third District Court of Appeal supported the partial return of a deductible to an insured based on the insured's comparative negligence. This case is significant because it clarifies that an insurer, in Florida, does not violate the Made Whole Doctrine when the insurer returns only a prorated portion of the deductible to the insured due to the insured's comparative negligence.

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January 01, 2005 PUBLICATIONSpoliation of Evidence - Limiting the Duty to Preserve

A summary of Killings v. Enterprise Leasing Company, Inc., 2008 WL 4967412 (Ala. 2008). A recent case from the Supreme Court of Alabama.  In Killings v. Enterprise Leasing Company, Inc.,1 the Alabama Supreme Court recently held that a Plaintiff may proceed with a claim of spoliation against a third party responsible for negligently discarding necessary evidence in an underlying case.

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September 07, 2018 eALERTToyota Issues Recall for Prius Hybrid Vehicle Due to Fire Risk

On September 5, 2018 Toyota issued a recall for its Prius hybrid vehicles manufactured between 2016 and 2018 due to a risk of fire.

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September 07, 2018 eALERTFord recalls 2 million F-150 trucks because of fire risk

This recall involves approximately 2 million F-150 pickup trucks in North America due to a seat belt mechanism malfunction that has started fires. 

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May 31, 2018 eALERTSmart ForTwo Cabrio and Coupe Vehicles Recalled for Fire Risk

The recall involves rear insulation mats within the engine compartment that might deform, deteriorate and loosen over time that can come into contact with the hot exhaust system resulting in a fire.

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March 20, 2018 WEBINARSQuick Investigating Tips for Fire Sprinkler Claims

Watch Partner Mary Jo Kuusela as she presented Quick Investigating Tips for Fire Sprinkler Claims. This course provides the adjuster and subrogation specialist with quick investigating tips for simple to complex issues involved with fire sprinkler system claims. The presentation addresses origin and cause, system identification, and information needed to evaluate a claim to determine if there is subrogation potential. There is also a discussion on the installation, protection, and maintenance involved with fire sprinkler systems, as well as governing codes and authorities. 

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Blog Posts

October 13, 2014 BLOG POSTIs Texas Following Florida's Lead On Changing The Economic Loss Rule?

Practicing in both Florida and Texas I have seen the Economic Loss Rule evolve over the years, and its direct impact on the recovery potential for our subrogation claims appears to be moving in a positive direction. Recently, the Texas Supreme Court held in a per curium opinion in Chapman Custom Homes, Inc. v. Dallas Plumbing Co., 2014 WL 4116839 (Tex. Aug. 22, 2014), that a claimant can now bring a tort claim (negligence, in this case) against a party, as well as a breach of contract claim. In doing so, the Court applied ...

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October 28, 2014 EVENTNASP Webinar

Ethical Considerations for Subrogation Professionals During the Claims Handling Process

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November 11, 2012 EVENT2012 NASP Annual Conference

Mary Jo spoke at NASP's 2012 Annual Conference.  The topic was, "Subrogation College."

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November 09, 2010 EVENTNASP Litigation Seminar

Litigation for the Subro College 200

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February 23, 2010 EVENTSubrogating Construction Claims and the Obstacles We Typically Face

Local Education and Networking

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July 23, 2008 EVENTFlorida Subrogation Update

National Association of Subrogation Professionals, Florida Chapter Meeting

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March 08, 2018 NEWSInternational Women's Day

"Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence."

-Sheryl Sanberg

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Key Points
Practice Area CASE TYPE
  • Commercial Litigation
  • Construction Defect Litigation
  • Contribution Claims
  • Explosions
  • Federal Tort Claims Act Litigation
  • Fire Spread Litigation
  • Hurricane Losses
  • Manufacturer Liability
  • Material Failures
  • Negligent Supervision
  • Products Liability
  • Sovereign Immunity Issues
  • Structural Collapse
  • Subrogation
  • Trucking