Tuesday, January 29, 2019

New Mediator in St. Petersburg

Effective February 4, 2019, Rochelle Lefler will be the state mediator in the St. Petersburg OJCC Office. She is taking over for Judge Young as she assumes the bench in Tampa.

Most recently, Ms. Lefler has been a private mediator at Lefler Dispute Resolution Services in Tampa. She has been mediating civil, family, and workers' compensation cases; she also provided Medicare Set-Aside compliance services. Ms. Lefler has a significant background in legal practice, mediation, and workers' compensation specifically. Many will remember her previous service as a State Mediator in 2000-2001 in the St. Petersburg District. 

Ms. Lefler earned her Juris Doctor at Stetson University College of Law, and her B.A. from University of Tampa. We are happy to welcome her back to the OJCC!  

Monday, January 28, 2019

A New Inn of Court in Miami

I was very proud on January 17, 2019 to attend the inaugural dinner of the Richard Sicking Inn of Court in Miami. This is the FOURTH Florida workers' compensation inn. The movement began in Jacksonville with the E. Robert Williams Inn. Next, the William Wieland Inn was organized in Orlando. Then the The Tampa Bay Workers Compensation and Disability American Inn of Court was formed more recently. Then, in 2019 the Richard A. Sicking American Inn of Court was launched. 

I have been proud to support the Inns of Court movement for almost twenty years. It is an exceptional concept, driven by goals of professionalism and mentoring. I congratulate the Sicking Inn, and the 50 exceptional judges and lawyers that are inaugural members. I also congratulate the judges that have agreed to be honorary members, supporting the ideals and mission of the group!

Judge Sylvia Medina-Shore
Daron Fitch
Frank Garcia
Charles M. Hill
Janelys Holland
Ivan Morales
Eduardo Neret 
Virna Roa
Christine Santisteban
Richard Sicking

Judge Margret Kerr
Mercedes de los Santos
Javier Finlay
Suzanne Gorowitz
Carolina Hernandez
Ignacio Rodriguez
Robert Rodriguez 
Henry Roman 
Cory Schnepper
Mark Touby
Lorraine Young

Judge Edward Almeyda

Richard Chait
Rangel Cruz
Karen Gilmartin 
Tom Glick
Ryan Knight
Ramon Malca
Michele Ready
Richard Robbins
Mariam Yanes

Judge Walter Havers
Matthew Colon
Matthew Ferran
Leopolda Garcia 
Rhonda Lapin
Vanessa Lipsky
Ileana Marcos
Darien McMillan
Steven Miller
Salvatore Sicuso

Judge Jeffrey Jacobs
Jeanette Edwards 
James Fee
Ashley Fuxa
Gloria Garcia
Christopher Hessen
Stacey Laskin
Christopher McClure
Dawn Traverso
Mark Zientz

The honorary members are:
Judge Iliana Forte (FTL)
Judge Daniel Lewis (FTL)
Judge Keef Owens (PSL)
Judge Neal Pitts (ORL)
Judge Michael Ring (FTL)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Help Wanted St. Petersburg

State Mediator Wanted
St. Petersburg District Office

Position posted on www.peoplefirst.com
Vacancy is immediate. Application deadline is
January 21, 2019

Senior Attorney/State Mediator-OJCC - 72003531
Date: Jan 7, 2019
Location: SAINT PETERSBURG, FL, US, 33701

Requisition No: 51733
Agency: Division of Administrative Hearings
Working Title: Senior Attorney/State Mediator-OJCC - 72003531
Position Number: 72003531
Salary: $76,947.60
Posting Closing Date: 01/21/2019
This position is Mediator for the Judgers of Compensation Claims Office and mediates workers' compensation cases.

Must be a member of The Florida Bar for at least 5 years, must have completed a Florida Supreme Court certified circuit civil mediation program and must be certified as a circuit civil mediator by the Florida Supreme Court.

Below are examples of duties which may be assigned to this position by the supervising Judge: 

Coordinating and setting mediation conferences with the OJCC, claimants, employers, carriers and their attorneys (if represented).

Conducting mediation conferences with the parties to contested workers compensation claims in an attempt to help resolve issues and settle claims.

Answer inquiries of parties regarding the workers’ compensation adjudication process and mediation process.

Provide input for the formulation of and amendments to the rules of procedure regarding the mediation process.

Maintain accurate records regarding the disposition of claims and preparing reports required by law or deemed necessary by the assigned JCC.

Traveling, where necessary, to conduct mediation conferences.

Successful completion of Level 2 background screening is required for all positions with the Division of Administrative Hearings.

The State of Florida is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Affirmative Action Employer, and does not tolerate discrimination or violence in the workplace.

Candidates requiring a reasonable accommodation, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, must notify the agency hiring authority and/or People First Service Center (1-866-663-4735). Notification to the hiring authority must be made in advance to allow sufficient time to provide the accommodation.

The State of Florida supports a Drug-Free workplace. All employees are subject to reasonable suspicion drug testing in accordance with Section 112.0455, F.S., Drug-Free Workplace Act.

To apply: Application must be submitted though People First at https://peoplefirst.myflorida.com/ .

Update on Tampa Appointment

Recently, Governor Scott appointed new Judges of Compensation Claims in Ft. Lauderdale (Hon. Michael Ring) and Tampa (Hon. Rita Young) and reappointed judges in Jacksonville and Pensacola. Details are in Appointments and Reappointments

There was some flurry of inquiry the following Monday as some questioned why both Tampa positions were not filled. I can unequivocally answer this question: "I don't know." I have every reason to believe that the second vacant position will in fact be filled.

It is clear that Judge Young replaces Judge Douglas Spangler, as the Governor specifically said so. But, there was some question whether Judge Young was appointed from the "position one" list or the "position two" list, as Judge Young was nominated for each (for details see August JCC Nominees Announced).

I have since been provided clarification. The Governor's office filled the vacancy created by Judge Spangler's retirement, appointing Judge Young, from the "position one" list, which included:

Brian Anthony 
Lawrence Anzalone 
Rita Lawton Young

Thus, the candidates for filling the vacancy created by Judge Lorenzen's retirement are those on the "position two" list, which included:

Brian Anthony 
Tonya Ann Oliver 
Rita Lawton Young 

And, which now includes only Mr. Anthony and Ms. Oliver. As further information becomes available, it will be posted here.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Reappointment and Appointment of Judges

Friday, January 4, 2019 Governor Rick Scott announced the reappointment and appointment of Judges of Compensation Claims: 

Ray Holley, 49, of Jacksonville, is reappointed as a Judge of Compensation Claims for the Jacksonville District. He has served the Jacksonville District since 2010. Holley received both his bachelor’s and law degree from Stetson University.

Ralph Humphries, 66, of Jacksonville is reappointed as a Judge of Compensation Claims for the Jacksonville District. He has served the Jacksonville District since 2010. Humphries received both his bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Florida. 

Nolan Winn, 65, of Gulf Breeze, is reappointed as a Judge of Compensation Claim for the Pensacola District. He has served the Pensacola district since 2006. Winn received his bachelor’s degree from Jacksonville University and his law degree from Tulane Law School. 

Rita Lawton Young, 59, of St. Petersburg, is appointed as a Judge of Compensation Claims for the Tampa District. Young is a State Mediator and Senior Attorney for the Division of Administrative Hearings. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Mississippi and both her master’s and law degree from the University of Florida. She fills the vacancy created by retirement of Judge Spangler. 

Michael Ring, 59, of Lighthouse Point, is appointed as a Judge of Compensation Claims for the Fort Lauderdale District. Ring is the owner of the Law Office of Michael J. Ring, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from the Nova University School of Law. Ring fills the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Hogan.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Orlando Office Relocates

In the 1970s there was a sitcom of note. As did most televisions shows in that era, the Jeffersons came with a theme song. This one was entitled "Movin on Up." And I am reminded of that tune as the Orlando District Office moves this week from 400 West Robinson Street in downtown Orlando to our new location just over the Seminole County line: 

Office of the Judges of Compensation Claims
225 S. Westmonte Drive, Suite #3300
Altamonte Springs, FL, 32714

During the week of October 22, 2018 proceedings are likely to occur at the West Robinson Street office. Parties and attorneys should rely on communications from the presiding judge or mediator in this regard. Towards the end of the week, proceedings may instead be conducted at the new Westmonte Drive location. And, beginning the week of October 29, 2018 all proceedings will be at Westmonte Drive. 

Those who have experienced parking difficulties at the old Orlando office location will be pleased with the ample parking available at Westmonte Drive. On a recent visit there, over 100 vacant parking spaces were counted. 

Attorneys may have to make some adjustments. Primary among these will be the realization that OJCC judges and staff will be in secured office areas, and not generally accessible to the public. That is consistent with the evolution of OJCC office arrangements in recent years, but is a departure from the historical arrangements. Dropping in on staff to check on orders or filings is a thing of the past, and attorneys should adapt to checking the electronic platforms for such questions. 

We hope that everyone is better served with the new location. We invite you to come by and visit the the new Orlando District Office!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

August JCC Nominees Announced

The Statewide Judicial Nominating Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims met in Orlando on Monday, August 20, 2018.
The Commission nominated the following Judges for reappointment:

Hon. William Holley, Jacksonville
Hon. Ralph Humphries, Jacksonville
Hon. Nolan Winn, Pensacola

The Commission nominated the following applicants for the position in Ft. Lauderdale:

Jeffrey Breslow - OJCC Mediator, Ft. Lauderdale
David M. Goehl - Martinez, Roman, Goehl, P.A., Biscayne Park
Michael James Ring - Law Office of Michael J. Ring, Pompano Beach

The Commission nominated the following applicants for the positions in Tampa:

Position One:

Brian Anthony - Anthony Law Office, Tampa
Lawrence Anzalone - Burnetti, P.A., Lakeland
Rita Lawton Young - OJCC Mediator, St. Petersburg

Position Two:

Brian Anthony - Anthony Law Office, Tampa
Tonya Ann Oliver - Bichler, Oliver, Longo and Fox, Tampa
Rita Lawton Young - OJCC Mediator, St. Petersburg