Florida surgeon faces death penalty for alleged murder of local lawyer

By Claire Wolters | Fact-checked by Davi Sherman
Published May 25, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • After being charged with the murder of a local lawyer, a Florida surgeon faces the death penalty.

  • Lawyers involved in medical malpractice or other high-risk cases should have plans in place to ensure their health and safety.

A Florida plastic surgeon is facing the death penalty for the alleged murder of a local lawyer. The lawyer had been representing co-workers whom the surgeon was trying to sue as part of a business dispute.[]

The surgeon, Tomasz Kosowski, was arrested on the charge of murder in March, following the disappearance of lawyer Steven Cozzi and evidence—including a car filled with brass knuckles, a stun gun, duct tape, and sedatives, as well as blood in Kosowski’s truck—linking Kosowski to his death. Kosowski was indicted on Thursday, April 27, for first-degree murder and is awaiting a May 30 trial. The state is seeking the death penalty.[][]

In the lawsuit that might have influenced his motive, Kosowski sued one of his former financial workers for allegedly failing to file insurance claims and lying to patients, costing him thousands of dollars and damaging his reputation online.[]

When it comes to lawyer safety, “malpractice issues can sometimes be riskier due to the high stakes involved, particularly when it comes to the reputation and livelihood of the medical professionals, as well as the health and safety of patients,” says says Min Hwan Ahn, Esq, an immigration lawyer and founder of EZ485 who has experience managing medical malpractice cases.

That being said, each case has its own merits, and no one field of law is guaranteed to be inherently riskier than another, Ahn adds.

“Legal matters often involve a great deal of stress and emotions for the involved parties, which may manifest as aggression,” Ahn says. “It's important for attorneys to manage these situations professionally, maintaining a healthy distance while prioritizing their safety.”

Lawyers involved in medical malpractice lawsuits or lawsuits with significant amounts of money on the line should take proper safety precautions, Ahn adds. 

Some tips for protecting oneself include:

Sharing information about potential threats with colleagues and staff.

  • Maintaining a professional demeanor.

  • Refraining from engaging in personal conflicts.

  • Having a secure office environment.

  • Employing a properly trained security staff to manage and de-escalate situations involving suspicious individuals.

  • Having contingency plans in place.

“My advice to fellow lawyers would be to remain vigilant and take threats seriously,” says Ahn. “Most importantly, never underestimate the importance of legal representation and always prioritize the safety of everyone involved

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