(1930 - 2008)
Robert M. Montgomery, Jr. chalked up more than 65 million-dollar judgments and was the first lawyer to ever beat Big Tobacco. He was the lead lawyer in Florida's $13.5 billion settlement with tobacco companies in 1997. He earned million-dollar judgments for Kimberly Bergalis and others who contracted AIDs from Jensen Beach dentist David Acer in 1991 in a case that earned national headlines. Behind his Alabama drawl and $2,500 Brioni suits was a fierce competitor skilled in cross-examining witnesses. His reputation long established in Palm Beach County, he took the cases he fancied. He defended Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore when she was under siege for the butterfly ballot of the 2000 presidential election. He challenged Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Art Johnson for transferring Dreyfoos School of the Arts Principal Amelia Ostrowsky in 1997. He took Burt Reynolds' side in the actor's divorce from Loni Anderson in 1994. He sued the distributor of a cheap handgun that was used by middle school student Nathaniel Brazill to kill Lake Worth Middle School teacher Barry Grunow. As much a force as Mr. Montgomery was in the legal world, he was just as well-known in the local arts community. There was hardly a prominent arts group or institution in Palm Beach County that didn't receive the benefit of his leadership or largesse at some point. Robert Montgomery died on August 3, 2008 at 78 years of age.