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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, May. 31, 201112:00 PM EST

Jacksonville native returns as federal judge


by Joe Wilhelm Jr.

Staff Writer

A reception Friday served as a “welcome back” on different levels for the newest U.S. District Judge in the Middle District Jacksonville Division.

Judge Roy “Skip” Dalton Jr., 58, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 2 as the newest judge for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

The confirmation renews Dalton’s relationship with both Jacksonville and the federal government. He was born at Naval Air Station Jacksonville on July 9, 1952.

“I’m happy to be here and thrilled to get to work,” said Dalton at a Friday reception hosted by the Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association.

“At least by the end of 2010, the Middle District held 58 percent of the population of Florida within its geographical boundaries. We have case filings, as of the end of 2010, of 11,200” he said.

“We are No. 1 in the district and fifth among districts throughout the country. So you can see that the work before the Middle District is not only incredibly important and significant, but there is quite a bit of it.”

Prior to addressing members of the local federal bar association and guests, Buddy Schulz, a partner with Holland & Knight, explained that Dalton had quite a bit of legal experience.

“In the 1970s and 1980s, there were a handful of trial lawyers in our state getting a significant amount of verdicts on a regular basis, who a bunch of people like me kept their eyes on,” said Schulz.

“I’m talking about a group of people who were picking juries and making final arguments two or three times a month, and Skip Dalton was among that handful of lawyers who set the standard for the rest of us,” he said.

“For 35 years, in state and federal courts, he has tried products liability, medical malpractice, criminal, environmental, securities, business, probate and other cases. He has argued appeals, operated his own real estate development firm and he has been a founder and director of a bank,” said Schulz.

“Let me suggest to you as you stand at the podium before him, think to yourself ‘he’s been here,’” said Schulz.

Dalton is a 1976 graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Prior to accepting the judgeship, Dalton was in private practice in Orlando at Dalton & Carpenter. He plans to return to Orlando on the weekends to be with his family and will soon begin looking for a home-away-from-home in Jacksonville.

Geographically the Middle District of Florida stretches more than 350 miles from the Georgia border on the northeast to south of Naples on Florida’s southwest coast. Three of the six largest metropolitan statistical areas in the state, namely, Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando, are within the district.

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