Attorneys

Our attorneys explore every possible legal aspect to successfully defend cases brought against our clients. Sonneborn, Rutter, Cooney, Viergever, Burt & Lury P.A. is committed to serving our clients with the same care and quality with which it began in 1983.

Shareholders

Barbara W. Sonneborn
R. William Rutter, Jr.
Rosemary Cooney
William T. Viergever
Michael D. Burt
Steven M. Lury

Partners

Lisa M. Munoz
Sharon L. Urbanek (Minnie)

Associates

John D. Heffling
Timothy D. Kenison
Susanne Riedhammer
Abigail McCall

Barbara W. Sonneborn

Barbara W. Sonneborn

bws@sonnebornrutter.com

Managing Shareholder

Barbara Sonneborn graduated from the University of Miami School of Law in 1976 and founded the law firm with Joseph P. Metzger in 1983. The firm quickly gained recognition as one of the preeminent medical malpractice defense firms in South Florida. During her legal career, Ms. Sonneborn has served as lead counsel in numerous complex civil jury trials involving medical malpractice, products liability and general liability. In her medical malpractice work, she has successfully defended hospitals, physicians and other healthcare professionals in a wide variety of matters including, but not limited to, wrongful death, infant death, brain damage, paralysis, surgery and nursing issues. Her vast trial experience has enabled her to obtain defense verdicts for her clients throughout the State of Florida.

Ms. Sonneborn was inducted as a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers in 2009. The Academy limits membership to 500 Fellows from the United States and only invites lawyers who have attained the highest level of trial advocacy during their legal career. She is also is a member of American Board of Trial Advocates, an elite group selected by their peers, and has received a distinguished highest rating of AV-Pre-Eminent in both legal ability and ethical standards from Martindale-Hubbell. In addition, Ms. Sonneborn has been named among “Florida’s Legal Elite” by Florida Trend Magazine and one of the Florida Super Lawyers. Ms. Sonneborn is a board certified civil trial lawyer by the Florida Bar and is board certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy.

R. William Rutter, Jr.

R. William Rutter, Jr.

rwr@sonnebornrutter.com

Shareholder, of Counsel

As a graduate of the University of Florida, Frederic G. Levin College of Law in 1967. Mr. Rutter embarked on his esteemed legal career that includes County Attorney for Palm Beach County, Circuit Court Judge, Administrative Judge, Civil Division, and Chief Judge.

The Honorable Chief Judge Rutter retired from the bench in 1988 to become a named partner at the firm to begin a career in civil litigation, mediation & alternative dispute resolution. As a Florida board circuit certified mediator he earned the reputation as an outstanding arbitrator. Mr. Rutter is rated AV (Peer Rated for Highest Level of Excellence) by the Martindale Hubbell attorney rating service. Mr. Rutter became of counsel with Sonneborn Rutter in 2016.

Rosemary Cooney

Rosemary Cooney

rcooney@sonnebornrutter.com

Shareholder

Rosemary Cooney is an invited member of the American Board of Trial Attorneys (ABOTA). She has an AV-Preeminent peer review rating from Martindale-Hubbell, the highest peer review rating for legal ability and ethical standards. She is also a Florida Board certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

A native of Palm Beach County, Ms. Cooney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction from the University of Virginia in 1976. Ms. Cooney graduated from Stetson University College of Law Cum Laude in December 1978 and was admitted to the Florida Bar in May 1979. After admission, she practiced law at a prestigious Palm Beach law firm, where she became a partner/shareholder. Ms. Cooney joined Sonneborn Rutter in 1985 where she continues to be a shareholder. Over the years, Ms. Cooney has tried complex malpractice, commercial and estate litigation cases to verdict in both jury and bench trials in state courts. Currently, Ms. Cooney specializes in family law matters.

In addition to her practice, Ms. Cooney is a member of the National Committee on University Resources, and a member of the Benefactor Society for the University of Virginia. She was a founding Board member of Hospice of Palm Beach County and is a Sustainer member of the Junior League of the Palm Beaches. Ms. Cooney is also a former Board member of the Literacy Coalition of Palm Beach County.

William T. Viergever

William T. Viergever

wtv@sonnebornrutter.com

Shareholder

William T. Viergever is an experienced appellate advocate with an extensive background in state and federal appeals. As a former law clerk to the Honorable Hugh S. Glickstein at the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal, Mr. Viergever developed a unique perspective as to what appellate courts expect in appellate briefs and pleadings. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1993 after which he received his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Miami in 1996. Upon the completion of his clerkship Mr. Viergever accepted a position at Sonneborn Rutter handling the firm’s appeals, complex motion practice and trial support. He is currently in charge of the Appellate Division for the firm. Mr. Viergever has successfully argued numerous appeals in the Florida District Courts of Appeal and before the Florida Supreme Court, primarily involving medical malpractice cases. His work has resulted in approximately 50 reported appellate decisions. Mr. Viergever has achieved a rating of “AV-Pre-Eminent”, the highest rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the world’s foremost lawyer rating publication.

Michael D. Burt

Michael D. Burt

mburt@sonnebornrutter.com

Shareholder

Mr. Burt is Board Certified as a Specialist in Civil Trial Law by the Florida Bar. He has extensive experience in all aspects of civil litigation in the State of Florida, with emphasis on medical malpractice defense on behalf of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers. He is admitted to practice to the Supreme Court of Florida, the United States District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida, the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Military Appeals and the United States Air Force Court of Military Review. He received his undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University in 1982 (Phi Beta Kappa) and his Juris Doctor degree from the Case Western Reserve University School of Law in 1985. Mr. Burt is rated AV Pre-eminent (5.0/5.0) (Peer Rated for Highest Level of Excellence) by the Martindale Hubbell attorney rating service.

Steven M. Lury

Steven M. Lury

slury@sonnebornrutter.com

Shareholder

Steven M. Lury graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 1980 and received his Juris Doctorate degree from the George Mason University School of Law in 1987. Mr. Lury has a broad array of complex and multi-party general litigation and medical malpractice litigation experience. Concentrating in medical malpractice defense, Mr. Lury is a frequent lecturer for various hospitals, physicians and insurance groups. He is a member of the Palm Beach County Bar Association and former member of The Florida Bar’s Standing Committee on Professionalism.

Mr. Lury is “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell. The “AV” designation represents the highest rating for legal ability and adherence to ethical standards, professional reliability, and diligence. He has represented and tried numerous cases on behalf of his clients throughout the state of Florida.

Mr. Lury is admitted to practice in all state courts within the State of Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Mr. Lury joined Sonneborn Rutter in 2014, becoming a shareholder in 2016.

Lisa M. Munoz

Lisa M. Munoz

lmunoz@sonnebornrutter.com

Partner

Lisa M. Munoz is a Partner with the firm. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and Philosophy. She continued her studies at St. Thomas School of Law where she was involved in Moot Court and was the Secretary of the Student Government Leadership. While in law school Mrs. Munoz also interned at the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office where she was a certified legal intern. As an intern she tried numerous criminal cases. She earned her Juris Doctor in 2003.

Since that time, she has spent her career focused on litigating medical malpractice, premise liability, general liability, wrongful death and personal injury cases both for Plaintiffs and Defendants. Along with this, she represents clients in family law matters. Mrs. Munoz has also represented injured clients in motor vehicle accident cases and has tried numerous motor vehicle accident cases to verdict.

Mrs. Munoz is a past board member of the Palm Beach County Justice Association. She is also a past member of the Hispanic Bar Association and the Florida Association for Women Lawyers. Mrs. Munoz has also been a member of The Craig S. Barnard American Inn of Court.

Sharon L. Urbanek (Minnie)

Sharon (Minnie) Bidka Urbanek

minnieu@sonnebornrutter.com

Partner

Sharon (Minnie) Bidka Urbanek graduated from West Liberty State College in 1998 and received her law degree in 2002 from West Virginia University. Ms. Urbanek was formerly employed by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of West Virginia, where she received the Director’s Award from the United States Department of Justice. The annual award recognizes a very small number of Justice Department employees for their dedication to carrying out the Department of Justice’s mission. Ms. Urbanek received the award as a result of her work in a case which involved a plot to blow up a FBI facility located in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

Ms. Urbanek currently specializes in medical malpractice defense and business litigation. Prior to attending law school, she was a paralegal and assisted in a wide variety of cases, including: general defense work, workers’ compensation, real estate transactions, tax preparation, Federal Black Lung litigation, and family practice.

Ms. Urbanek is a member of the Florida bar admitted to practice in the county and circuit courts of Florida. She is also admitted to practice in the United States District Courts for the Southern District of Florida and Northern District of West Virginia. Ms. Urbanek is also a member of the West Virginia bar.

John D. Heffling

John D. Heffling

jdheffling@sonnebornrutter.com

Associate

John D. Heffling is an associate with over 30 years’ experience representing clients in a variety of civil litigation and business matters. He joined the firm in 2014 and continues to handle a variety of civil litigation matters including business, contracts, patent and copyright, insurance, personal injury, and Americans with Disabilities Act litigation. Mr. Heffling graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, obtained a Master’s Degree from Rollins College, and his Juris Doctorate, with Honors, from the University of Florida, Frederic G. Levin College of Law.

Mr. Heffling is a member of the Florida Bar and the Palm Beach County Bar Association, and is admitted to practice in all Florida courts, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, and the United States 11th Circuit Court of Appeals

Timothy D. Kenison

Timothy D. Kenison

tkenison@sonnebornrutter.com

Associate

Timothy D. Kenison has the unique combination of being both a trial and appellate attorney. His current practice focuses on medical malpractice. He has previously worked extensively in commercial litigation, premises liability, tenant/landlord disputes, and criminal defense at both the trial and appellate level. As a former Palm Beach County assistant public defender, Mr. Kenison tried over thirty (30) cases to verdict as of the time he left the Office of the Public Defender in 2010. He has also argued before the Fourth District Court of Appeal. Mr. Kenison earned his J.D. in 2003 from Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law and his B.A. in 1997 from the University of Florida. He has been a member of the Florida bar since 2004 as well as a member of the Pennsylvania bar.

Susanne Riedhammer

Susanne Riedhammer

sriedhammer@sonnebornrutter.com

Associate

Susanne Riedhammer has been practicing in South Florida since 1998. She received her Bachelor of Arts, with honors, from the University of Florida in 1994, and her Juris Doctor from Nova Southeastern University in 1998. Ms. Riedhammer is admitted to practice in the State of Florida, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida as well as the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. While she focuses her practice on medical malpractice and general liability defense, Ms. Riedhammer has previously represented a variety of clients, including a national nursing home chain, large healthcare companies in complex commercial and securities fraud matters, and the Republican Party of Florida during the 2000 election. Additionally, Ms. Riedhammer has handled several appeals, including oral argument before both the Third and Fourth District Courts of Appeal.

Abigail McCall

Abigail McCall

amccall@sonnebornrutter.com

Associate

Abigail McCall is an Associate and focuses her practice on matters involving medical malpractice, wrongful death, personal injury, and premises liability. Before joining the firm, Ms. McCall worked as an Associate at another prominent insurance defense firm, where she gained extensive experience representing physicians and hospitals in personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death matters.

Ms. McCall received her B.S. from the University of Florida in 2001 and earned her J.D. from Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando in 2011. While in law school, she was as a law clerk at a prominent Orlando law firm, working on commercial litigation matters relating to contract disputes and business torts. She was also an Intern at the Orange County Legal Aid Society.

Prior to embarking on her legal career, Ms. McCall worked for several years in marketing and business development in the news media and sports marketing industries. She was admitted to practice in Florida in 2012 and is actively involved in the legal community. Ms. McCall is a member of The Florida Bar and the Palm Beach County Bar Association, where she serves on the Board of Governors for the Young Lawyers Section.