Skip to main content
Howard M. Talenfeld

Howard M. Talenfeld

Practice areas:

Civil Rights, Child Abuse, Litigation, Government

About Me

Florida Child Advocate Blog - www.FloridaChildAdvocate.com


Howard Talenfeld, shareholder in the firm since 1982, focuses his
practice on protecting the rights of vulnerable individuals in civil
rights cases, personal injury cases and systemic reform litigation. He
has litigated cases that have resulted in multi-million dollar
settlements and jury verdicts that changed how governmental and private
institutions care for children and the elderly. Mr. Talenfeld is also
experienced in litigating complex commercial and class action cases in
state and federal courts.


In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, Mr. Talenfeld represented the state
of Florida in its major class-action law suits dealing with the foster
care system, children’s mental health system, juvenile justice system,
state psychiatric hospitals and the provision of Medicaid services to
the developmentally disabled, among others. Nationally, he pioneered
defending these cases by advocating for the improvement and reform of
human service systems, while protecting states’ rights and avoiding
federal over-sight. He has represented governors, secretaries of state,
state agencies, Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, the Florida
Legislature and Florida’s Auditor General in civil rights cases in
federal and state court.


His successes in the areas of children’s and elderly rights have
garnered Mr. Talenfeld his greatest personal accomplishments. In 1996,
he was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Youth Law Center, a
national children’s advocacy group. He helped the organization develop
into a viable entity that assist at-risk youth and teens. Continuing
that path, he began an effort to coordinate a statewide organization of
child advocates who would help Florida’s at-risk children. In 2002, he
became the founding President of Florida’s Children First! (FCF).
Comprised of advocates from throughout the state of Florida, FCF works
through multi-forum advocacy before the executive branch, the Florida
Legislature and the Florida Courts to protect children who are at risk
in foster care and in the delinquency system in Florida. Mr. Talenfeld
was instrumental in the passage of landmark legislation in Florida,
including the Foster Children Bill of Rights, Florida’s pilot project on
representation of foster children in Dependency Court, and Florida’s
breakthrough interagency education bill for foster children.


Mr. Talenfeld’s litigation successes have utilized creative legal
approaches to achieve extraordinary results. In 1998, he served as lead
counsel in the Broward County foster care class action, Ward v. Kearney.
The resulting settlement agreement greatly improved child welfare
practice and more than tripled the District 10 budget for its child
welfare system from $38 million to more than $100 million. In 1999, he
achieved another major victory, this time for the Florida’s
developmentally disabled population in Baumstein v. Sunrise Community,
Inc. 738 So. 2d 420, (Fla. 3DCA 1999). The case established the
existence of a private cause of action for damages for the violation of
Florida’s Bill of Rights for the developmentally disabled. He also was
the first attorney in Florida to utilize 42 USC § 1983, the federal
civil rights damage statute, to recover a damage award in excess of
Florida’s sovereign immunity limit of $100,000 on behalf of a foster
child. In the 2002 case, Roe v. Florida Department of Children &
Family Services, 176 F. Supp. 2d 1310 (S.D. Fla. 2001), Mr. Talenfeld
negotiated a landmark $5 million settlement and focused the nation’s
attention on the case in an episode of ABC’s 20/20.


Beyond his courtroom successes, Mr. Talenfeld has been a forceful
advocate for change. He has argued for systemic reform litigation before
many state and national groups, including the U.S. Congress, the
National Association of State Mental Health Lawyers, the American Public
Welfare Association and many Florida legislative committees.


Mr. Talenfeld is a member of the American Bar Association, the
Association of Trial Lawyers of America, and the National Association of
Council for Children. He previously chaired the Litigation/Class Action
Committee and was a representative for the State of Florida to the
National Association of Mental Health Attorneys (1993). Mr. Talenfeld
has received numerous awards, including the Florida Bar President's 2006
Pro Bono Service Award for the 17th Judicial Circuit in and for Broward
County, Florida. He currently is AV-rated by Martindale-Hubbell.


Among other memberships, Mr. Talenfeld chairs the Broward Days
Children's Issues Team (2000-present), was a Director of Florida's Voice
of the Mentally Retarded and sat on the Steering Committee for Citizens
for Broward's Children in 2000. He was also former Director with the
Youth Law Center in San Francisco, CA. Among civic organizations, he was
former President and Director of the Cypress Head Club Inc.; and is on
the City of Parkland Board of Adjustment and Planning and Zoning Board,
which he chaired for many years. He served on the Board of Trustees and
chaired the Campaign Committee of Temple Kol Tikvah, was a Board Member
of Hurricane Relief for Miami Foster Kids Inc., served as a Big Brother,
and has coached various sports teams, including soccer, baseball and
softball.


Mr. Talenfeld received his bachelors of business administration
degree from University of Miami School of Business, and his Juris
Doctorate from University of Miami School of Law, cum laude.


 

More 

Practice Areas

Licensed since 1980

  1. Child Abuse: 40%
  2. Civil Rights: 40%
  3. Government: 10%
  4. Litigation: 10%

Attorney Endorsements

2 total

  • No photo

    I endorse this lawyer.

    More 

    Brett Rogers Family Attorney
    Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community

  • David L. Hirsch

    I endorse this lawyer. Howard is the best advocate for children and has helped many people in this community in tough times of desparate need and gotten them through crisis and can do the same for you. I would certainly call him for my own family's issues should they ever arise.

    More 

    David Hirsch Family Attorney
    Relationship: Worked together on matter

Contact Info

Talenfeld Law

1776 N Pine Island Rd.
Suite 222
Fort Lauderdale, FL, 33322

Resume

License
StateStatusAcquiredUpdated
FLMember in Good Standing198005/07/2015

Professional Misconduct

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.
Avvo Contributions
Legal Answers
Education
School NameMajorDegreeGraduated
University of Miami School of LawN/AJ.D.N/A