[ George A. Vaka is a certified circuit and appellate mediator by the Supreme Court of Florida ]
[ Founder, George A. Vaka, has established his mediation practice @ georgevaka.us ]
[ Named by peers to Florida Trend's Legal Elite ]
[ Honors keep adding up....less than 5% of lawyers are AV rated in America ]
[ Recognized by The National Law Journal® in its selection of Tampa's Top Attorneys ]
[ Think Experience. Think Excellence. Think Extraordinary. ]
[ Board Certified as a Specialist in Appellate Practice ]
[ AV Preeminent Peer Rated 5.0 out of 5 ]
[ "Florida Super Lawyer in both appellate law and insurance law" ]
[ "Honored as Best Lawyers in America in both appellate law and insurance law" ]
[ Recognized in Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers AV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell ]
George A. Vaka
Nancy A. Lauten
Richard N. Asfar

Real Experience In Appellate Law

For more than 25 years, Nancy A. Lauten has maintained a vibrant, active appellate practice in the state of Florida. She brings a tremendous wealth of diversity and experience to the firm. Aside from being an attorney, Ms. Lauten is a licensed practical nurse, and she has also earned her master’s degree in motion picture production. Ms. Lauten started her specialization in appellate practice, clerking for the Honorable Earle Zehmer, then Chief Judge of the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee. She joined the statewide Fowler, White law firm and represented both large and small corporations and insurers in a wide variety of appellate matters. Ms. Lauten currently dedicates her practice exclusively to the representation of individuals and small businesses in matters against insurers and the interests of big business.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

December 2009 – PresentAttorney – Vaka Law Group, P.L.,
Tampa, FL
Appellate Practice
Responsible for state and federal civil appeals, including insurance coverage appeals, first party property insurance coverage appeals, as well as plaintiffs’ personal injury, commercial, and medical malpractice appeals.

July 2003 – December 2009Attorney – Vaka, Larson & Johnson, P.L.
Tampa, FL
Appellate Practice
Responsible for state and federal civil appeals, including plaintiffs’ personal injury, medical malpractice, and insurance coverage appeals. Participated in numerous oral arguments in both state and federal courts.

June 2000 – June 2001Attorney – Vaka, Larson & Johnson, P.L.
Tampa, FL

1988 – May 2000Shareholder and Associate Attorney
Fowler, White, Gillen, Boggs, Villareal & Banker, P.A., Tampa, FL
Appellate Practice
Responsible for 250 state and federal appeals including insurance coverage and workers' compensation appeals. Of those appeals, 160 have reported decisions. Participated in numerous oral arguments in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court of Florida and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

1986 – 1988Florida First District Court of Appeal – Tallahassee, FL
Judicial Clerk to Chief Judge E. Earle Zehrner

1985 – 1986Florida House of Representatives – Tallahassee, FL
Legislative Intern for Health Care and Insurance Committee

1973 – 1983Licensed Practical Nurse

EDUCATION

2001 – 2003
University of Miami
Coral Gables, Florida
M.F.A. in Motion Picture Producing
2002 Outstanding Graduate Student, School of Communications

1983 – 1986
Florida State University College of Law
Tallahassee, Florida
J.D. With Honors
With High Honors
Member Florida State Law Review
Comment, "Who's Minding the Cradle?" Regulatory Reform in the Child Care Industry." 13 Fla St. L.Rev 633;
Winner of Bedell Award for Best Article on a Social Issue

1985
St. Edmund Hall, Oxford University
Oxford, England Accredited Summer Program in Law
Sponsored by Florida State University

1980 – 1982
University of South Florida
B.A. Business Administration
Cum Laude
Phi Kappa Phi

BAR MEMBERSHIP AND PRACTICE

  • The Florida Bar - 1986
  • Hillsborough Association of Women Lawyers
  • Florida Association of Women Lawyers
  • Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Appellate Law (1994-2004)
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association (1994-2000)
    • 1998 Convention and Annual Meeting Chairperson
    • 1997 Convention and Annual Meeting Co-Chairperson

ADMITTED TO PRACTICE

  • Northern, Middle and Southern Federal District Courts of Florida
  • 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • 10th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Supreme Court of the United States

SIGNIFICANT CASES

De la Fuente v. Florida Insurance Guaranty Association – Property insurance case; submitted amicus brief for United Policyholders to the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of the Plaintiff.

Sebo v. American Home Assurance Company – Property insurance case; submitted amicus brief for United Policyholders to the Florida Supreme Court on behalf of the Plaintiff.

Cammarata v. State Farm Florida Insurance Company – First party bad faith case; Fourth District reversed the judgment for the insurance company and ruled that an appraisal award satisfied the conditions precedent to filing an unfair claims handling claim.

Ochoa v. Koppel – Personal injury case; The Second District reversed the dismissal of Plaintiff’s lawsuit based on a purported settlement. The court ruled that the filing of a motion for enlargement of time to accept a proposal for settlement does not toll the thirty-day acceptance period between the date of the proposal and when it is deemed rejected.

Angelotta v. Security National Ins. Co. – Insurance coverage case involving a modified golf cart; Fifth District reversed a ruling in favor of the insurance company and held that the golf cart was a low speed vehicle, which under Florida law, was required to be covered by an insurance policy issued pursuant to financial responsibility laws. This is a case of first impression in the nation.

Olesky v. Stapleton- Medical malpractice/wrongful death action; Second District reversed the judgment for the defendant healthcare providers and ordered a new trial.

Warfel v. Universal Property Ins. Co. – Sinkhole insurance coverage dispute; Second District reversed a verdict for insurance company and ordered a new trial for the homeowner. The Florida Supreme Court approved the result and issued one of the leading opinions on statutory presumptions.

Goins v. Bartlett- Personal injury case; Second District affirmed $3.3 million verdict in favor of Plaintiff.

Saunders v. Dickens – Medical malpractice case; submitted amicus brief for the Florida Justice Association to Florida Supreme Court on behalf of the Plaintiff. Trinity Services Group, Inc. v. Burnum - Personal injury case; Second District affirmed $2.2 million dollar jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff.

Lindquist v. Moschini - Personal injury case; Second District affirmed $1.1 million jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff.

Miller v. Taylor - Action to revoke transfer on death agreement; Second District affirmed $579,000 award to Plaintiffs.

Malkin v. Hegedus - Medical malpractice case; Second District affirmed $458,000 award to Plaintiff.

Club Bamboo Condominium Association v. Anthony - Personal injury action; Second District affirmed $515,000 award to Plaintiff.

Luscomb v. BJ's Wholesale Club - Third District reversed on order determining a workers' compensation lien that would have effectively required Plaintiff's attorney to repay part of his fee to the carrier to satisfy its lien.