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Biography

Holly Howanitz joined Wicker Smith in 2007 and is a partner in the Jacksonville office. She focuses her practice on defending claims in matters of general negligence, personal injury, medical malpractice, legal malpractice, insurance agent malpractice, products liability, automobile negligence, transportation and construction defect litigation. Ms. Howanitz has represented corporations such as The Doctor’s Company, CNA, Amerisure, Scottsdale, Swiss Re, Selective Insurance, ESIS, and The Medical Protective. Ms. Howanitz’s passion for the law has earned her an AV® PreeminentTM rating from her peers, the highest level rating awarded to lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell.

In the area of legal malpractice, Ms. Howanitz has defended attorneys in all areas of practice including real estate, probate, personal injury, and construction. Most recently, she has been involved in the defense of multiple individual and class action lawsuits pending in state and federal court involving allegations of legal malpractice, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, unfair and deceptive trade practices, and violations of state and federal securities laws.

Ms. Howanitz handles cases in all aspects of construction litigation such as water intrusion issues, settlement issues, defective windows, and roofing cases. She has experience in representing developers, general contractors, sub-contractors, architects, engineers, and other design professionals for residential and commercial properties.
Additionally, Ms. Howanitz has extensive experience in defending insurance brokers and independent insurance agents in errors and omissions litigation.
Ms. Howanitz is admitted to practice in the states of Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee. She graduated cum laude from Florida Coastal School of Law in 2004 and received her Bachelor of Arts from Oglethorpe University in 2002. Ms. Howanitz is an active member of The Florida Bar, The State Bar of Georgia, and Tennessee Bar, as well as the Jacksonville Bar Association, Jacksonville Women’s Lawyers Association, Florida Defense Lawyers Association, Junior League of Jacksonville, and the Defense Research Institute. She also serves as a faculty member at the Florida State College at Jacksonville, teaching tort law and bankruptcy to students in the legal studies program. In 2011, Ms. Howanitz was elected to the Board of Directors of the MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, which promotes academic achievement and positive life skills in Jacksonville youth through the game of tennis.

Education

  • Florida Coastal School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2004)
  • Oglethorpe University (B.A., 2002)

Admitted

  • 2005, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee and U.S. District, Northern District of Georgia
  • 2006, U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia and U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida

Professional Affiliations

  • The Florida Bar
  • The State Bar of Georgia
  • The Tennessee Bar
  • Jacksonville Bar Association
  • Jacksonville Women’s Lawyers Association
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association
  • Junior League of Jacksonville
  • Defense Research Institute
  • MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation Board of Directors, 2011
  • Rising Star by Attorney at Law Magazine Attorney at Law Magazine First Coast Edition, 2017
  • Jacksonville Business Journal’s 2016 Women of Influence
  • Florida Super Lawyers “Rising Stars”, 2014-2015
  • The Jacksonville Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Winner, 2015
  • Florida Coastal Moot Court Honor Board
  • Florida Coastal School of Law Moot Court Competition, First Place, 2003

Speeches & Publications

  • Presenter, “Current Trends in Defending LOP Cases, Negligent Entrustment and Use of Biomechanical Experts”, Clayton Homes (September 9, 2018)
  • Presenter, “Spying the Lies”, Georgia Orthopedic Society (October 7, 2017)
  • Radio Interview (August 2017)
  • Employee Termination – not without its risks – Florida Society of Ambulatory Surgery Centers Annual Conference (July 13, 2017)
  • 5 hour Ethics Update, Publix (June 12, 2017)
  • Evaluating a New Case, USLAW Women’s Connection  (June 2, 2017)
  • Drafting the Best Plans: How to design and build the best defense for architects and engineers and address related coverage conundrums (March 23, 2017)
  • Operation Termination – Dealing with the Problem Employee – USLAW webinar (February 17, 2017)
  • 2016 USLAW Network Risk Management Exchange, Chairperson, Atlanta, GA (November 14-15, 2016)
  • Dealing with the Problem Employee: Reconciling General Risk Management Practices and Employment Liability Related to Risk Management Practices in the Transportation Setting, CEVA Logistics, Jacksonville, FL (September 30, 2016)
  • It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye: Weighing the Risks of A Liability Claim Vs. A Wrongful Termination Claim When Terminating an Employee, And Documenting It, After An Adverse Incident, USLAW Fall/Winter Magazine, Co-Author (2016)
  • Spying the Lies, GSASC/SCASCA Joint Semi-Annual Conference, Hilton Head, SC (August 18, 2016)
  • Something Bad Happened…Strategies for an Effective Rapid Response, USLAW Women’s Conference, Nashville, TN (June 3 – 4, 2016)
  • Spying the Lies, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (May 20, 2016)
  • Florida Adjuster 5-Hour Law & Ethics Update, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (May 20, 2016)
  • Current Trends In Construction Defect Litigation, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (May 20, 2016)
  • Reptile Jury Selection/Trends in Plaintiffs’ Presentation at Trial, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (May 20, 2016)
  • Complex Issues In Construction Mediation: Builders And Subs, Architects And Engineers, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (May 20, 2016)
  • Social Media in Litigation – What’s #Trending Now, USLAW Spring/Summer Magazine, Co-Author (2016)
  • Flying Fast Five Minute Drill – the Wackiest State Construction Laws, Spring USLAW NETWORK Client Conference, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (April 7-9, 2016)
  • Architects and Engineers: The Interplay of Commercial General Liability and Errors and Omissions Policies, Spring USLAW NETWORK Client Conference, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA (April 7-9, 2016)
  • Corrective Action Plans and How to Mitigate Future Events, Florida Society of Ambulatory Surgical Centers, FSASC Quality and Risk Management Conference, Orlando, FL (April 21, 2016)
  • Knowing the Law and Spying the Lies, Amerisure, Tampa, FL (February 18, 2016)
  • Indemnification Provisions and Additional Insured Endorsements – We Owe You What?, USLAW Fall/Winter Magazine, Co-Author (2015)
  • The Aftermath of a Bad Event, Florida Society Ambulatory Surgical Center Annual Conference & Trade Show, Orlando, FL (July 23, 2015)
  • How Not to “Tap Out” in a Coverage Dispute Over a Dram Shop Claim, USLAW Network Women’s Connection Conference, Sedona, AZ (May 2, 2015)
  • HVAC Claims: Don’t Get Sucked in to Plaintiff’s Theories on Negative Pressure, USLAW Network Spring Client Conference, San Antonio, TX (April 11, 2015)
  • Automotive Liability: Early Investigation Strategies, Jacksonville Claims Association, Jacksonville, FL (August 26, 2014)
  • Insurance Law & Ethics, Allstate, Jacksonville, FL (August 20, 2014)
  • Investigating and Defending Cases of Chronic Back Pain, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (June 13, 2014)
  • Homeowner Insurance Liability – 10 Minute Drills, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (June 13, 2014)
  • Ethical Claims Considerations in the Courtroom, Sedgwick, Course Instructor/Speaker, Jacksonville, FL (June 11, 2014)
  • Bad Faith Update: Emerging Issues & Current Laws, Jacksonville Claims Association, Jacksonville, FL (March 25, 2014)
  • Auto & Premises Liability Presentation, Amerisure, St. Petersburg, FL (December 4, 2013)
  • Professional Malpractice: Accountants, Lawyers, Agent E&O and Other Professionals, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (June 7, 2013)
  • Social Media Electronic Discovery Liability via Smart Phone, Wicker Smith Annual Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (June 7, 2013)
  • The “Ins” and “Outs” Of Patient Safety: Through the Looking Glass of In-House and External Counsel, The USLAW Annual Women’s Collection, Napa, CA (March 1, 2013)
  • The WebMD Syndrome, North American Risk Services (CEU Institute), Altamonte Spring, FL (February 7, 2013)
    Social Media – Investigating and Defending Claims, North American Risk Services (CEU Institute), Altamonte Spring, FL (February 7, 2013)
  • Social Media in Litigation, CNA National Webinar (October 29, 2012 and November 29, 2012)
    Closing Difficult Cases: Dealing with Difficult Clients: Hartford National Webinar (August 14, 2012)
    The Social Network, Wicker Smith Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (June 8, 2012)
    Defending Catastrophic Damages Claims, Gallagher Bassett, Tampa, FL (April 20, 2012)
    Defending Catastrophic Damages Claims, Amerisure, St. Petersburg, FL (April 20, 2012)
  • Making Sure your Firm Recognizes your Value (helpful hints for Associates on how to make Partner), ALA Annual Associates Luncheon, Jacksonville, FL (February 7, 2012)
  • Current Errors and Omissions Concerns for Property and Casualty Producers and Risk Managers, Harden & Associates, Jacksonville, Florida (November 10, 2011)
  • Current Errors and Omissions Concerns for Health, Life and Employee Benefit Producers and Risk Managers, Harden & Associates, Jacksonville, Florida (November 9, 2011)
  • Strategies for Early and Efficient Case Resolution, Ruby Tuesday, Inc., Maryville, TN (October 11, 2011)
  • Social Networking Sites—Your Best “Friend” for Investigating and Defending, CNA Health Pro Claims Conference, Chicago, Illinois (September 21, 2011)
  • Social Networking in Litigation—Practical and Ethical Concerns, First Coast Chapter – Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc., Jacksonville, FL (June 23, 2011)
  • Social Networking Sites—Your Best “Friend” for Investigating and Defending Claims, Wicker Smith Claims Seminar, Orlando, FL (June 10, 2011)
  • Coverage Issues: Defending Multiple Claims Under One Insurance Policy, USLAW, Santa Fe, New Mexico (April 29-30, 2011).
  • Defense of Catastrophic Damages Cases, CNA, Tampa, FL (April 22, 2011).
  • The Slavin Doctrine, The Economic Loss Rule and Chapter 558 Regulations, Amerisure, St. Petersburg, FL (April 22, 2011).
  • Use of Expert Witnesses at Trial, University of Florida Mock Trial Team (March, 2009).