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Cherine Smith Valbrun

Cherine Smith Valbrun
Chair, Insurance Practice Group

Cherine Smith Valbrun is a partner at Kim Vaughan Lerner LLP, and the Chair of the firm's insurance Practice Group. She concentrates her practice in complex commercial and business tort litigation matters, and e-discovery. She has extensive experience in civil litigation related to breaches of contracts, insurance defense, shareholder disputes, commercial construction, commercial leasing, and commercial torts. She has successfully domesticated out-of-country foreign money judgments and assists clients with drafting and negotiating commercial agreements.

Cherine has represented various domestic and international clients from Fortune 500 companies to small businesses and individuals in all phases of litigation and alternative dispute resolution proceedings. She represents clients from a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, telecommunications, insurers, food and beverage, retail merchandising, financial institutions, accounting services, recruiting, information technology consulting, and homeowners’ associations.



Representative Experience

  • Represent financial institutions and FDIC in litigation matters.

  • Represent insurance company in property damage litigation.

  • Represent multi-national telecommunications company in business tort case alleging federal RICO and telecommunications fraud claims.

  • Defended chemical manufacturer/distributor in an environmental contamination jury trial.

  • Represented business investors in a six-day trial challenging recognition of an out-of-country foreign judgment.

  • Coordinate and manage e-discovery in several matters, including imaging servers and inspection of computers.

  • Prevailed on summary judgment against developer and buyer in a breach of contract case on behalf of real estate investor.

  • Obtained award of damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and statutory penalties for real estate investor in arbitration.

  • Obtained judgments against a commercial retailer’s vendors and the vendor’s guarantors.

  • Secured release of client’s escrowed deposit in a dispute over the purchase and sale of a yacht.

  • Settled various claims on behalf of recruiting firm for employee’s breach of non-compete agreement and tortious interference.

  • Obtained temporary injunction for minority shareholder in dispute over multimillion dollar sale of business.

  • Defended corporation in class-action claim for breach of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, breaches of warranties and fraud.

  • Defended accounting consulting firm from professional liability claims.
    Negotiated complex commercial construction agreement on behalf of auto parts warehouse.

  • Drafted and negotiated commercial leases on behalf of landlord.

  • Drafted and negotiated termination of commercial lease agreements on behalf of international clients and separation agreements between shareholders/members as a result of shareholder disputes.

  • Domesticated out-of-country foreign money-judgments for foreign individuals and corporations.

  • Obtained favorable rulings for pro bono client in two separate one-day domestic violence and child custody trials.



Honors & Recognitions

  • Top Lawyer - Commercial Litigation, BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA 2023

  • 40 Under 40, Honoree, Broward County Bar Association, 2021

  • Florida Rising Star, SUPER LAWYERS, 2010, 2015-2016, 2018-2022

  • Florida Legal Elite, Up & Comer, FLORIDA TREND, 2015-2016

  • Up & Comer Finalist, Law, SOUTH FLORIDA BUSINESS & WEALTH, 2016

  • President's Distinguished Leadership Recognition, Dade County Bar Association, 2017

  • Award for Recognition of Pro Bono Service, BROWARD LAWYERS CARE, 2014

  • 40 Under 40 Leaders of Today and Tomorrow, LEGACY MAGAZINE, 2014

  • Influential Caribbean Women, KARIB NATION, INC., 2011


Professional & Community Activities

  • The Florida Bar

    • Former Governor, 17th Judicial Circuit, Board of Governors, Young Lawyers Division

    • Appointed Member, Standing Committee on Professionalism

    • YLD Representative, Business Law Section of the Florida Bar

    • Fellow, Class III, Leadership Academy

    • Business Law Fellow, 2013-2015

  • Broward County Bar Association, Professionalism Committee Member

  • Caribbean Bar Foundation, Board Member, 2010–present

  • Caribbean Bar Association

    • Past-President, 2009-2010

    • Board Member, 2007-2011

  • Legal Services of Greater Miami, Board Member

  • National Bar Association, Member



  • Settlement Strategy Without Sacrificing Trial, In-house Training

  • 8th Annual Circuit Court and Litigation Boot Camp: The Nuts and Bolts, 2019

  • E-Discovery for Trial Lawyers, Florida Bar 2019

  • Using Documents at Depositions, Legal Services of Greater Miami

  • Written & Electronic Discovery, Legal Services of Greater Miami

  • Legal Malpractice Summit, Case Law Update, Broward County Bar Association




  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D.

  • University of Miami, B.A., cum laude



Bar Admissions


  • All Florida state courts

  • United States District Court, Southern District of Florida



Professional Background

  • Kim Vaughan Lerner LLP, Chair, Insurance Practice Group

  • Steel Hector & Davis LLP (now Squire Patton Boggs), Legal Intern

  • District of Columbia Public Defender’s Office, Legal Extern

  • DunnCox Law Firm, Law Clerk

  • Washington Gas & Light Co., Legal Department

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