Ellis T. Fernandez

Ellis T. Fernandez

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Ellis T. Fernandez

Founder

Ellis T. Fernandez, III was the founding Partner for Fernandez Trial Lawyers. He was a board-certified Civil Trial Lawyer whom the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review awarded an A.V. Preeminent rating (highest).

E.T. was known throughout the country for his impeccable trial skills and for being an avid defender of the underdog. His mastery of civil litigation garnered him recognition as a member of the “Elite Eight” in the United States, and he was named a preeminent trial lawyer chosen to address the most difficult, complex, and catastrophic claims. Out of all trial lawyers reviewed by First Court, only eight, in the entire U.S., were selected as having all of the necessary skills to handle these claims, and the E.T. was one of them.

E.T. was a fighter both inside and outside of the courtroom. He battled cancer for many years. He was first diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2002 and ten years later with stage four metastatic melanoma. E.T. went into remission for almost nine years before he had an unfortunate reoccurrence and lost his battle on June 9, 2023.

E.T. will be greatly missed by his FTL family and three children, Rylan, Tarq, and Hudson. His aggressive and relentless pursuit of justice for his clients is the foundation of Fernandez Trial Lawyers and the standard we will uphold forever.

John M. Howell

John M. Howell

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John M. Howell, Esq.

Partner

John was born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1952. He graduated law school in 1977 and has been practicing in Jacksonville since that time. John is is an Martindale-Hubbell peer reviewed attorney with over 100 jury trials to verdict. He has seen every kind of cause of action and can try any case! As a result, John is a pillar of the FTL philosophy making him one of our most formidable defenders.
  • Florida, 1977
  • Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama, J.D., 1977
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, B.A., Cum Laude, 1974
  • The Florida Bar
  • The American Bar
  • Jacksonville Defense Lawyers Association
  • Florida Defense Lawyers Association
  • Defense Research Institute

Gerrard Molenaar, Esq.

Gerrard Molenaar, Esq.

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Gerrard Molenaar, Esq.

Gerrard was born and raised in the Netherlands, where he studied Physical Therapy. He practiced Physical Therapy in the Netherlands, England, and here in Jacksonville, Florida, where he worked for a local medical center for almost 13 years. He had a lifelong interest in law, and was in the fortunate position to go to Florida Coastal Law School after a successful career in health care. He utilizes his knowledge of health care in his analysis of cases, and enjoys his work at Fernandez Trial Lawyers. Gerrard is married, and has four children. His interests outside of work include sailing, reading, and spending time with his family.
  • Florida, 2019
  • Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Bachelor of Science: Physical Therapy, 1992
  • Florida Coastal School of Law, Juris Doctor, 2018
  • The Florida Bar

Michele G. Moss

Michele G. Moss

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Michele G. Moss

Michele G. Moss received her Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2003. She is admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, as well as, all State and Federal Courts in Florida. In addition, Ms. Moss has been recognized as a Florida “Rising Star”, by Florida Super Lawyers, since 2010-2011, and she has been a featured speaker at the Defense Research Institute (DRI) in the past. Michele has been in practice for over 20 years and has extensive experience in civil trial and litigation in the State of Florida and Federal courts.  Her diverse litigation practice includes construction defects, personal injury, cyber law, products liability, insurance coverage, and intellectual property. Her experience concerning products liability is uniquely focused on pharmaceutical, heavy machinery and premises liability litigation; while her knowledge of intellectual property cases ranges from claims involving copyright or trademark infringement, to civil liability for online content. Beyond her experience as a lawyer, we are particularly proud of her years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force … from which she was Honorably Discharged at the Rank of Captain. Thank you for your service, Michele!

Geraldine “Gerri” Deas-Matthews

Geraldine “Gerri” Deas-Matthews

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Geraldine “Gerri” Deas-Matthews

Trial Paralegal to John M. Howell, Esq.

Gerri is a Florida native, born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida.

Gerri’s educational background began with her enrollment in the Legal Assistance / Paralegal program offered in North Florida. She received an Associate of Science degree at Florida State College Jacksonville (formerly known as Florida Junior College).  She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, with Paralegal Studies.  Gerri is a devoted Florida Gator and Jacksonville Jaguar fan.  She enjoys the beach and exploring the outdoors.

Gerri has over twenty-eight years of experience in the legal field, and Fernandez Trial Lawyers is honored to have her a part of the team.

 

Education  

  • Florida State College at Jacksonville, 1995, Associate of Science  

  • Florida State College at Jacksonville, 2000, Bachelor of Arts  

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