Sean M. McDonough Partner




Sean McDonough, regional managing partner of the Miami and Orlando, Florida, offices, has devoted most of his nearly 30-year legal career to trial practice. Among his areas of concentration are professional liability (legal malpractice, D&O, architects and engineers, and medical malpractice including nursing home and pharmaceutical matters), product liability, environmental matters, trucking and transportation litigation, and complex tort and general casualty.

Sean’s success as a litigator and trial attorney is substantially due to his persistence and dedication. Sean quickly ascertains the facts and law in cases he handles so that he can provide his clients with prompt and accurate early evaluations. If cases cannot be efficiently resolved, he has the requisite skills and tenacity to bring them to successful conclusion, whether by dismissal, summary judgment or trial. Throughout the process, he follows his clients’ guidelines precisely and provides them with excellent, responsive service.

Sean began his legal career as a claims attorney for a legal malpractice insurance company. He also was a journalist for the St. Petersburg Times.

View Sean's exemplar trial experience.

Areas of Focus

Professional Liability
Sean’s practice emphasizes litigation and defense of an assortment of professional liability matters. He has obtained several summary judgments in favor of his clients. Sean has defended attorneys, nursing homes and doctors in professional liability cases. Intimately familiar with related state and federal regulations, Sean has handled nursing home malpractice claims, implementing carefully crafted strategies designed to limit or avoid punitive damages and attorney fee exposure that are available to plaintiffs under statute.

Product Liability
Sean has defended a wide range of product liability cases, including claims concerning tires, wheels, industrial equipment, food products, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and electronic equipment such as VCRs, televisions, microwaves, washers and dryers, laptop computers and battery packs.

Complex Tort & General Casualty
Sean has extensive experience litigating and trying complex and catastrophic claims involving uninsured motorists, automobile and trucking accidents; environmental property damage; premises liability and other general liability claims.

Lawyers’ Liability
Sean has defended numerous lawsuits against lawyers and law firms and has obtained several summary judgments in favor of his clients. Sean’s position as a claims attorney for a legal malpractice insurance company for two years before becoming a trial attorney gives him special insight into these cases.

Trucking, Transportation & Cargo
Sean is a co-chair of the firm’s Transportation, Cargo & Logistics practice. He has defended trucking companies in lawsuits ranging from straightforward to catastrophic personal injury losses or wrongful death cases and cargo losses. Additionally, Sean is a member of several 24/7 emergency response teams for Wilson Elser clients, providing 24-hour, on-site client assistance in mobilizing experts, investigators and client control immediately after catastrophic events.

Sean handles cases involving liquor liability, negligent security and premises liability, among other issues, for hotels, restaurants, resorts, outdoor recreational companies, golf courses and country clubs, condominiums and timeshares.

Representative Matters

Obtained summary judgment in favor of a probate lawyer in a legal malpractice action involving the drafting of wills. 

Obtained a defense verdict in an alleged food poisoning case involving sushi sold at a supermarket; plaintiff was claiming permanent injuries. 

Obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death claim despite defending a 19-year-old driver of a jeep with oversized tires who admittedly drank alcohol just before driving home after midnight on New Year’s Eve. 

Obtained a defense verdict while defending the driver who rear-ended the plaintiff despite Florida’s law allowing a presumption of negligence by the rear-end driver without a showing of a sudden and unexpected stop. 

Obtained a defense verdict in a products liability action against a laptop manufacturer where the plaintiff claimed the laptop overheated and severely burned her legs. 

Obtained a judgment in favor of a PIP carrier in a two-day non-jury trial in Jacksonville, FL, after proving that the plaintiff was over-treating and pill-shopping. 

Obtained a defense verdict in a slip and fall accident occurring in a parking lot in which plaintiffs’ last demand was $850,000. 

Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a shopping mall owner after plaintiff claimed inadequate traffic controls in the parking lot caused an intersection collision between her and the co-defendant. 

Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a Canadian insured in an auto accident case in which the plaintiff claimed he rear-ended her but the jury apparently believed she made an illegal U-turn in front of him. 

Obtained a summary judgment for a truck driver when an eyewitness claimed the truck swerved in and out of its lane but the driver’s dashcam video showed otherwise. 

Obtained a very favorable verdict on behalf of a mall in a slip-and-fall case that resulted in an attorney’s fee and cost award against plaintiff pursuant to Florida’s proposal for settlement statute and rule that far exceeded the plaintiff’s minimal verdict. 

Obtained various advantageous settlements on the eve of various product liability trials involving tires, wheels, industrial equipment, VCRs and elevators.