Brett Rivkind, Esq.
Brett Rivkind is a leading national renowned maritime personal injury and wrongful death attorney. He has been handling Maritime/Admiralty cases for over 40 years. After graduating from the University of Florida College of Law with honors, and being selected to the Florida Chapter of the Order of the Coif based on being in the top five percent of his graduating class, Brett Rivkind started his career at a large maritime firm, where he handled cases on the defense side. Within the first five years of handling hundreds of maritime and personal injury cases involving the cruise ship industry, Brett Rivkind decided he wanted to help the victims of accidents and crimes. Mr. Rivkind has handled all types of cases: personal injuries, wrongful deaths, sexual assaults, rapes, catastrophic injuries, involving both passengers and crewmembers. His cases have included all types of injuries including brain damage, stroke, heart attacks, herniated discs, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, factures, cancer, kidney failure, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator-cuff tears, broken hips, knee replacements, and psychological and psychiatric injuries. He has also been active in handling cases on appeal involving complex issues of Admiralty and Maritime Law. He is well respected by his peers, and other Admiralty and Maritime attorneys have retained his services to argue Maritime issues on appeal.
Brett Rivkind has been a frequent lecturer on maritime topics, including an invited lecturer to the State of Florida Judges at their Annual Judicial College on the topic of Maritime Law. He testified before the United States Congress as a maritime expert, and authored a paper addressing questions posed to him by the United States Congress involving passenger safety and security aboard passenger cruise ships. He has handled many high profile cases, including representation of more than a two hundred families who lost loved ones in a fire aboard a cruise ship, a case where families lost their loved ones due to the disappearance of a passenger cruise ship during a hurricane, as well as representation of the parents of George Smith in the high profile case that received national and international attention when George Smith was lost overboard during his honeymoon while a passenger aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. He has been referred internationally as a “World’s Leading Maritime Lawyer.” He has appeared on the Larry King Live show on three different occasions. He has also appeared on numerous television shows, including, MSNBC, Good Morning America, The Today Show, 20/20, Court T.V., Nancy Grace, Scarborough, Rita Cosby Show, Montel Williams, The Early Show, Abrams Report, Geraldo at Large, Fox News, local news channels, and Prime Time. He is past President of the Florida Bar Admiralty Committee and a member of the Admiralty Committee of the Association of America for Justice.
- American Bar Association
- The Florida Bar Admiralty Committee
- Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- National College of Advocacy
- Association of Trial Lawyers of America
- Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers
- Florida Admiralty Trial Lawyers Association
- Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
- Maritime Law Association
- Association of Trial Lawyers of America Admiralty Committee
- The Florida Bar
- United States District Court
- Southern District of Florida
- United States District Court
- Middle District of Florida
- Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals
- Supreme Court of the State of Florida
Awards & Recognitions
- Consistently Rated as AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell
- Rated as a “Super Lawyer” since 2014 by Thompson Reuters
- Consistently Rated as a “Best Lawyer” by bestlawyers.com
- A Member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum
- Rated as a “Lawyer of Distinction” by lawyersofdistinction.com
Brett Rivkind, internationally renown for his repeated victories against cruise ship companies, has appeared on dozens of major news programs, including Larry King Live, Good Morning America, and Larry King Live. His expertise and commentary are routinely sought by networks.
Brett Rivkind has appeared on major national television shows, including:
Mr. Rivkind at Congress
In 2006, Brett Rivkind was invited to testify before the United States Congress on cruise ship safety and security. The topics he was asked to cover dealt with international maritime security, law enforcement, passenger security, and incident investigation on cruises. The Congressional Hearings were prompted in part by publicity surrounding the disappearance of George Smith IV on his Royal Caribbean honeymoon cruise. Brett Rivkind was hired by the Smith family to pursue this case against the cruise line. The case received lots of attention as many wanted explanations as to how a man could disappear off a cruise ship during his honeymoon, and why the current law was not protecting cruise ship passengers. Brett Rivkind was the only plaintiff’s maritime attorney asked to testify before Congress during this session.
The Disappearance of George Smith
At the Congressional Hearings, the disappearance of George Smith during his honeymoon cruise was a main topic of discussion. Mr. Rivkind, speaking on behalf of the Smith family, was able to share his years of experience handling maritime cases involving incidents on cruise ships, including sexual assaults, disappearances, and other types of accidents which have led to serious injuries and even deaths. The disappearance of Merrian Carver, a 40-year-old woman on a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, was also discussed. Kendall Carver, Merrian’s father, spoke on her behalf.
Brett Rivkind was questioned about safety and security issues on board the cruise ships and what particular laws govern the cruise ship companies. Surprisingly, Congress had very little knowledge as to how the cruise industry was being regulated, and was not aware that there were no mandatory reporting requirements for the cruise lines when a crime does occur aboard a ship. Congress was shocked to hear there was not a system in place.
These hearings put the subject of cruise ship safety and security on the lawmaker’s minds and resulted in future hearings on the subject. This eventually led to the passage of the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010, signed into law by President Obama.