by Heather Byrer and Blake Hood
JBA Workers’ Compensation Section co-chairs
Jacksonville will soon have two new Judges of Compensation Claims (JCCs) to welcome and we are saying goodbye to two excellent Judges who are returning to Tampa Bay and Orlando.
Judge Stephen Rosen previously practiced law for more than 30 years in Tampa and is returning to take over as JCC in St. Petersburg for the retiring Honorable Lauren Hafner.
Judge Neal Pitts previously practiced law for nearly 30 years in Orlando where he will be returning to fill Judge Joseph Farrell’s position, who sadly passed away in July.
Both judges have been warmly received in Jacksonville and many workers’ compensation practitioners are sad to see them go.
However, this means that two new judges will be appointed by the governor any day now and the local workers’ comp community is buzzing with anticipation.
Six candidates were narrowed down from a large field of 18 at the judicial interview process in August and await word from Tallahassee on the appointments. Let’s meet the candidates, who are listed in alphabetical order:
William Ray Holley
Mr. Holley is a Jacksonville native and currently employed by the Law Office of Amy Warpinski, Staff Counsel of Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. He practices both workers’ compensation defense and liability law in Florida and Georgia. Mr. Holley attended Stetson University for both undergrad and law school, graduating from law school in 1997. He also obtained a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of North Florida in 1997. Mr. Holley was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1997 and the Georgia Bar in 2006. He is a member of the Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Executive Committee, Florida Bar Workers’ Compensation Rules Advisory Committee, E. Robert Williams American Inn of Court, current president of the Northeast Florida Chapter of Friends of 440 and past president of the Rotary Club of Southpoint in Jacksonville, as well as affiliated with several other charitable organizations.
Ralph J. Humphries
Mr. Humphries moved to Jacksonville in 1962 and is currently a partner with Boyd & Jenerette, P.A. He has been practicing workers’ compensation defense law for more than 30 years and also has an extensive background in medical malpractice and liability defense. Mr. Humphries attended the University of Florida for both undergrad and law school, graduating from UF law school in 1976. He was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1977. Mr. Humphries was formerly the president of the Jacksonville Association of Defense Counsel and a former member of the Board of Directors for the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. Mr. Humphries has also previously been certified as a mediator in the State of Florida and was a founding member of the E. Robert Williams Inn of Court, which specializes in the professionalism in the workers’ compensation practice.
Martin L. Leibowitz
Mr. Leibowitz graduated from the University of Florida with a B.A. and from the University of Miami School of Law in 1981. He was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1982. He is a sole practitioner and has run his own firm, Martin L. Leibowitz, P.A., in Jacksonville since 1996. He practices workers’ compensation defense and claimant, as well as bankruptcy, law. He has been a member of the Executive Council of the Workers’ Compensation section of The Florida Bar since 1992, and served as chair of the section in 2003. Mr. Leibowitz is also a Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Court Mediator. Mr. Leibowitz is also a member of the North Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America, and Executive Board 2005-present.
Edward Scott Mallow
Mr. Mallow graduated from State University of New York, College of Oswego in 1981 and graduated from the University of Bridgeport School of Law in 1985. He is currently employed with Eraclides, Johns, Hall, Gelman, Johannessen & Goodman LLP in Jacksonville and practices workers’ compensation defense, longshore, employment and military law. Mr. Mallow is admitted to the Florida, Connecticut and the New York bars. Mr. Mallow is also a captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps in the U.S. Navy and served in Iraq in 2008, as well as previously in 2001.
Colleen Cleary Ortiz
Ms. Ortiz is currently a sole practitioner in Pensacola. She has represented both employer/carriers and claimants in workers’ compensation cases. Her practice also includes civil litigation, general liability, and Medicare compliance. Ms. Ortiz graduated from Arizona State University in 1983 and from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1989. She was admitted to The Florida Bar in 2000.
Ms. Rodrigues is currently employed in Navarre and is a managing member of the Law Offices of Rodrigues and Mayes LLC. Ms. Rodrigues is originally from London, England, and moved to the United States in 1982. She graduated from Albion College in Albion, Mich., in 1986. She then graduated from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Lansing, Mich., in 1989. Ms. Rodrigues also holds an LL.M. in International Business Law from King’s College London, in London, England, which she earned in 1990. Ms. Rodrigues practices workers’ compensation and juvenile dependency. She was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1992 and previously practiced with the law firm of Moseley, Prichard, Parrish, Knight and Jones in Jacksonville and subsequently relocated to the Panhandle as a result of marriage. Ms. Rodrigues became an American citizen in 2003.