Akerman lawyers are among a distinguished group of select legal teams named for their precedent-setting work by National Law Journal to its annual Pro Bono Hot List. The firm successfully represented Raymond Berthiaume in a pro bono appeals case whose precedent-setting outcome may help further protect the rights of LGBT individuals involved in legal disputes. Akerman lawyers secured a favorable ruling for Berthiaume, as the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a verdict against him because the district court judge presiding the case refused to allow jurors to receive questions about bias against LGBT individuals. The dispute stems from a four-year battle between Berthiaume and the City of Key West, Fla., after the former sued the city and one of its police officers over multiple counts involving his arrest at the time. The decision has granted Berthiaume a new trial.
"Winning always feels good, but the main reason we took this case is because lawyers needed to stand up on behalf of this individual who was discriminated against in the jury selection process," Untiedt told National Law Journal. "We wanted to stand up and say out loud that you can’t treat LGBT people any differently from anyone else."