Disciplined in Sophisticated Defense and Insurance Litigation

A Partner with the firm, Mary Jo Kuusela joined Butler in 2004 after earning her Doctor of Jurisprudence in 2003 from Stetson College of Law. Her litigation practice is focused on subrogation including construction defect, product liability, product recall, and water damage. Mary Jo's experience encompasses a range of successful multi-million dollar lawsuits and class action claims. 

In addition to her litigation practice, Mary Jo has presented webinars regarding ethics issues involving adjusters, experts, and attorneys. Mary Jo presented Subrogation College at the NASP Annual Convention in 2012 and 2013. She has presented several seminars to clients concerning aspects of large loss subrogation, including Subrogating Construction Claims, Notice Requirements, Carmack Amendment, and the Made Whole Doctrine. She has also written extensively on a variety of legal subjects, taught Legal Research and Writing at St. Petersburg College, and volunteers at the Hillsborough County Courthouse in the Family Forms Clinic, Domestic Violence Program, and the Attorney Ad Litem Program.

Admissions

  • Florida
  • Texas

Education

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

Memberships

  • American Bar Association (ABA)
  • Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA)

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.)

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.)

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.)

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

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

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.)

Tieszen v. Titeflex (subrogation lawsuit arising from a fire and explosion caused by product defect and defective design of corrugated stainless steel tubing "CSST". Damages exceeded $800,000 .)

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.)

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.)

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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Blog Posts

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

October 28, 2014 EVENTNASP Webinar
NASP Webinar
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November 11, 2012 EVENT2012 NASP Annual Conference
2012 NASP Annual Conference
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November 09, 2010 EVENTNASP Litigation Seminar
NASP Litigation Seminar
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February 23, 2010 EVENTSubrogating Construction Claims and the Obstacles We Typically Face
Subrogating Construction Claims and the Obstacles We Typically Face
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July 23, 2008 EVENTFlorida Subrogation Update
Florida Subrogation Update
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Key Points
Practice Area CASE TYPE
  • Construction Defect - Structure Failures
  • Construction Defect Litigation
  • Explosions
  • Federal Tort Claims Act Litigation
  • Fire Spread Litigation
  • Heavy Equipment Claims
  • Hurricane Losses
  • Large Loss Subrogation
  • Manufacturer Liability
  • Material Failures
  • Negligent Supervision
  • Products Liability
  • Products Liability - Automobile
  • Products Liability - Consumer Products (All Types)
  • Products Liability - Equipment Losses
  • Products Liability - Pipe Failures
  • Reinsurance Coverage
  • Sovereign Immunity Issues
  • Standard Liability
  • Structural Collapse
  • Subrogation
  • Trucking
  • Construction Defect Litigation - Indemnity Claims
  • Owner Controlled Insurance Program - OCIP