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Taras Rudnitsky Attorney and Counselor at Law

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Taras Rudnitsky has dedicated his entire legal career to representing consumers seeking justice under the law.  His background as a consumer protection attorney, automotive engineer and expert witness has provided invaluable insight for consumers in cases throughout Florida and the United States.  Taras has been a featured speaker before consumer justice attorneys, governmental investigators, and corporate executives. He has also been interviewed by several television station and newspaper reporters regarding consumer justice issues.

This commitment to consumer justice is not new – in fact, it started before Taras even graduated from the University of Michigan Law School.  As part of the Law School’s Clinical Law program, Taras represented consumers in cases ranging from landlord/tenant to employment discrimination.  At the time, he was the only student to then earn a position in the Advanced Clinical Law program and focus on seeking justice for consumers.

Taras firmly believes all attorneys should contribute to their community.  Accordingly, Taras has provided pro bono representation to numerous clients since 1996.  Over the past years 6 years, Taras has earned numerous awards for his pro bono representation of consumers throughout Central Florida for 3 different legal aid organizations, donating over 600 hours of his time.  As a result of his commitment to his community, the Florida Supreme Court has repeatedly recognized Taras for Outstanding Pro Bono Service.  In 2016, Taras was honored with the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 18th Judicial Circuit in a ceremony held at the Florida Supreme Court.

Taras also believes in actively contributing to the legal profession. He has served on the Florida Bar Small Claims Rules Committee since 2011, including as Vice-Chair and Chair.  Taras has also served on the Board of Directors for Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida and the Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida since 2011, including as President; he continues to serve on both Boards and as a member of their Executive Committees.  He is also President of the Ukrainian American Bar Association, an international bar association.  Taras is also an active member of numerous legal associations, and helps train other attorneys throughout the United States on consumer protection litigation and advocacy.

LICENSES

  • Attorney:  The Florida Bar
  • Attorney:  State Bar of Michigan
  • Professional Engineer, 1994-2015:  State of Michigan

COURT ADMISSIONS

  • The Florida Bar
  • State Bar of Michigan
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan

AWARDS

  • 2016 Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the 18th Judicial Circuit
  • 2015 Seminole County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year:  Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • 2014 Guardian of Justice:  Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • 2013 Seminole County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year:  Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • 2012 Seminole County Pro Bono Attorney of the Year:  Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • 2011 Advocate of Justice:  Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • 2010 Pro Bono Award:  Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida
  • 2009 Pro Bono Award:  Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society

BAR LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

  • 2016: Co-Chair of 2016 national Auto Fraud Conference organized by the National Association of Consumer Advocates
  • 2015-2017:  President, Ukrainian American Bar Association
  • 2014-2015:  Chair, The Florida Bar Small Claims Rules Committee
  • 2014-2015:  President, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • 2014-2015:  President, Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida
  • 2013-2015:  Vice-President, Ukrainian American Bar Association
  • 2013-2014:  Vice-Chair, The Florida Bar Small Claims Rules Committee
  • 2011-2016:  Board of Directors, Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • 2011-2016:  Board of Directors, Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida

EDUCATION

  • Juris Doctor, 1998 (Order of the Coif – top 10%): University of Michigan Law School, Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering, 1993: Wayne State University College of Engineering, Detroit, Michigan
  • Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, 1988: Wayne State University College of Engineering, Detroit, Michigan (summa cum laude)

EXPERIENCE

  • Attorney and Counselor at Law, 1998-present, Owner of law firm exclusively representing consumers in consumer protection issues
    • Pursued justice for numerous consumers in disputes with big businesses, banks / debt collectors, automotive dealers, RV dealers and other entities
    • Representative consumer cases include consumer debt collection defense, lemon law claims, auto fraud, misrepresentations, home solicitation sales, deceptive and unfair practices, identity theft, post-judgment representation, and others
    • Representative products liability cases include defective automotive products cases against numerous car companies, as well as their suppliers and dealers
  • Consultant and Expert Witness, 1998-2004: Court-recognized expert witness in cases throughout United States
    • Hired as an expert witness to investigate hundreds of vehicles and vehicle components during accident investigations to determine whether a defect caused or contributed to any injuries
    • Analyzed vehicle safety performance in hundreds of cases throughout the United States
    • Recognized as an expert air bag engineer by state and federal courts throughout the country
  • Automotive Design / Performance Engineer, 1988-1995: Designed, developed and/or tested air bags, seat belts, seats, steering systems, vehicle interiors, vehicle structure, and other components for General Motors, and conducted actual vehicle crash tests and laboratory tests
    • As an automotive design/release and performance engineer and safety trouble-shooter, conducted over 30 crash tests, 130 sled tests and hundreds of sub-system tests for assessment of occupant crash protection, including air bags, seat belts (safety belts), dash panels (instrument panels), and many other components
    • Served as General Motors’ representative at U.S. Government sponsored crash tests to verify compliance with U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), and as divisional representative to General Motors’ Passenger Air Bag Core Group expert technical teams and a task force investigating seat performance in rear-end collisions
    • Air bag project leader for team that achieved highest possible 5-star rating in U.S. Government crash testing, and certified compliance to U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards related to occupant crash protection for several car lines

AFFILIATIONS

  • American Association for Justice (AAJ)
  • Center for Auto Safety (CAS)
  • Central Florida Trial Lawyers Association (CFTLA)
  • Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida (CLSMF)
  • Florida Justice Association (FJA)
  • Legal Advocacy Center of Central Florida (LACCF)
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA) (Co-Chair of 2016 national Auto Fraud Conference)
  • Orange County (Florida) Bar Association (OCBA)
  • Order of the Coif (top 10% of law school graduating class)
  • Public Justice (formerly known as Trial Lawyers for Public Justice)
  • Seminole County (Florida) Bar Association (SCBA)
  • Seminole County (Florida) Bar Association Legal Aid Society (SCBA LAS)
  • Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
  • Tau Beta Pi (national engineering honor society)
  • Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA)

PAST COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT HAS INCLUDED:

  • President of Church Council
  • Sponsor of Jazz for Justice / Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida
  • Volunteer and Board Member of Meals on Wheel, Etc.
  • Diamond Sponsor of Seminole County Bar Association Legal Aid Society
  • Patron Sponsor of March for Meals for Seminole County Meals on Wheels
  • Sponsor of Lake Mary High School 5K Run/Walk
  • Judge for High School debate tournaments
  • Volunteer for Justice Teaching initiative at Lake Mary school
  • Member of the Parent Teacher Student Association
  • President of the Dibrova Homeowners Association
  • Member of the Green Oak Township Road Committee
  • Coach – indoor and outdoor soccer
  • Proud contributor to numerous charitable organizations

OTHER LANGUAGES

  • Oral and written fluency in Ukrainian