Kimbel L. Merlin is a trial attorney whose practice has focused on representing corporate owners in eminent domain. Her major clients include gas stations, convenience stores, fast food restaurants, major retailers, professional offices, commercial outparcels, as well as numerous other properties and businesses.
Ms. Merlin has held several leadership positions in eminent domain during her career. These include: Chair of the ABA Condemnation, Zoning and Land Use Committee (1982 – 1985); Chair of the Florida Bar Eminent Domain Committee (1993 – 1994); Co-Chair of the Hillsborough County Bar Association Eminent Domain Committee (1997-1998) and member of the Florida Bar Eminent Domain Practice and Procedure Steering Committee (1999 – present).
Her proudest career accomplishment is instituting the first-ever eminent domain program for the states’ circuit judges at their annual education conference in July 1995. She co-chaired subsequent circuit judges’ programs in September 1995, September 1996 and July 2000.
Ms. Merlin has written numerous eminent domain articles, including a chapter on “Special Benefits” in the leading national condemnation treatise,Nichols on Eminent Domain, and the chapter on “Authority to Exercise Power” in the Florida Eminent Domain Practice & Procedure Manual – Florida’s premier condemnation treatise.
She is recognized in the Martindale Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers in the field of eminent domain and has been selected to Florida Trend Magazine’s “Legal Elite” in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. She was also recognized in the 2006, 2007 and 2008 “Best Lawyers in America” publication and as a “Super Lawyer” by Florida Super Lawyers Magazine in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Ms. Merlin is a member of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (FPMA) and International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). She is a member of The Florida Bar, the Hillsborough County Bar Association and the American Bar Association.
Ms. Merlin was born in Gainesville, Florida on February 12, 1961. Her family moved to Titusville, Florida in 1968. She graduated from Titusville High School in 1979 and returned to Gainesville for college. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Florida in 1983 and her law degree in 1986. Ms. Merlin was a member of the University of Florida Law Review from 1984 – 1986 and served as Executive Editor during her last year of law school. She was a member of Chi Omega Sorority, Golden Key Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi. After graduation from law school she moved to Tampa.
She began in late 1986 with a civil litigation firm practicing exclusively in the field of eminent domain and became a partner in 1991. In 1994, Ms. Merlin became a directing partner and remained so until July 2000 when she helped form the law firm of Gaylord Merlin Ludovici & Diaz. She is admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the U.S. District Courts for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.
She is married to William F. (“Chip”) Merlin, owner and founder of Merlin Law Group, a Plaintiff’s insurance firm in Tampa. They have two children, Chase and Austin. Their family attends Christ the King Catholic Church and is a member of Palma Ceia Country Club, The Tampa Gator Club and Bull Gators. They are avid Gator fans and are active in supporting the Academy of the Holy Names and Jesuit High School in Tampa.