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Joseph Farina

Joseph P. Farina (Retired Chief Judge 11th Judicial Circuit)

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Case Manager
Olga Montealegre
T: 305-371-5267
F: 305-371-5288
600 Brickell Avenue , Suite 2600 , Miami , FL 33131

Joseph P. Farina, retired Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit, is highly regarded as an active and effective settlement neutral who managed the resolution of countless complex matters as a Judge for over thirty years. Most recently, he was awarded the 2016 Dade County Bar Association Legal Luminary Mediation Award as “Best Mediator”. As a full time mediator, arbitrator, special magistrate, neutral evaluator and neutral umpire at JAMS, Mr. Farina has quickly distinguished himself as a knowledgeable and efficient neutral who works diligently every step of the way toward helping parties arrive at the best possible outcome to their dispute.

Prior to joining JAMS, Mr. Farina served as a Circuit Judge in the Circuit Civil Division of the 11th Judicial Circuit in Miami-Dade County, Florida from 1981 to 2012. From 1995 to 2009, he served for 14 years as Chief Judge, supervising the full operations of the Miami-Dade Court system, which is comprised of 123 judges, 15 general magistrates, 20 traffic hearing officers, and more than 500 administrative court staff serving in 10 courthouses. Mr. Farina has been recognized by many national, state, and local organizations for his leadership, professionalism, and accomplishments. During his more than 30 years on the bench, Mr. Farina was consistently rated one of the top judges in bar association polls.

Read counsel comments about Mr. Farina's skills and style as a neutral.

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • While handling the asbestos and Chinese drywall calendars, Mr. Farina presided over 3,500 cases, including complex business and financial disputes, class actions, product liability claims, significant personal injuries, including death claims, and a substantial number of commercial and residential foreclosure cases together with a civil docket involving claims in excess of $15,000
  • Conducted numerous settlement conferences during his service on the Circuit Court
  • Florida Supreme Court’s Circuit Civil Mediator Certification
  • Florida Supreme Court Qualified Arbitrator
  • Mr. Farina presided over hundreds of hearings and trials, mediated or arbitrated numerous cases involving a wide variety of issues including:
    • Business/Commercial: Breach of contract and indebtedness, civil forfeitures, commercial foreclosures, corporate and business governance, declaratory judgments, discovery disputes, fraud, factoring and financing, indemnification and contribution, injunctive relief, insurance claims, partnerships/joint ventures, premises liability, replevin, shareholder disputes, trade names, unfair/deceptive business practices
    • Class Action/Mass Tort: Presided over nation’s first Chinese drywall jury trial, asbestos and Chinese drywall litigation, class certification, constitutional challenges, economic loss rule, fairness hearings, Frye hearings, mesothelioma, motions in limine
    • Construction: Disputes involving construction of and damage to residential and commercial buildings, construction liens
    • Employment: Breach of employment contracts, non-compete agreements
    • Environmental: County ordinance and state statute enforcement, regulation, violation
    • Personal Injury/Torts: Presided over wrongful death actions involving an Arrow Air plane crash, change of venue, Fabre issues, forum non conveniens, libel/slander, motor vehicle and water craft negligence, negligent security, premises liability, product liability, punitive damages, sexual abuse, slip and fall, treble damages, trust litigation, wrongful death actions
    • Professional Liability: Business, legal, and medical malpractice claims, loss of license hearings
    • Real Property: Residential and commercial claims, leases, purchases and sales, commercial and residential mortgage foreclosures, commission claims, condemnation, condominium, deposit returns, homeowner associations, landlord-tenant disputes, land use

Representative Matters

  • Mediated the return of a $250,000 security deposit regarding voided sale of a condominium unit. Parties involved were a Bahamian company and a Turkish national.
  • Mediated a matter involving the improper seizure of a private jet through the fraudulent use of a domesticated out of state judgment.
  • Appointed as a Special Magistrate to monitor video depositions at Federal corrections facility related to a complex civil case involving financial institutions, investors and a title company.
  • Served as a Curator of the Estate to resolve conflicts between two personal representatives with divergent and competing interests. Reviewed emails and created privilege logs concerning personal and sensitive material.
  • Mediated a matter involving a commercial property landlord suing a tenant for breach of lease, specifically the violation of covenants restricting use of the premises for a specified type of business. Tenant was an international franchisor occupying multiple floors of property during a multi-year lease.
  • Mediated suit regarding breach of joint venture agreement, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment and an equitable lien on real estate.
  • Mediated insurance dispute over a substantial water leak from adjoining businesses for which the business/property insurer was contesting the extent of the water damage, and relying on insurance policy limitations and exclusions to minimize liability and payment.
  • Mediated case involving condominium owners sued for defamation, libel per se, together with violations of the Federal Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA) and the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA).
  • Mediated a case involving physical assault and robbery of school teacher by a student. Issues included sovereign immunity, punitive damages and the legislative claims bill.
  • Arbitrated employment matter involving claim of termination without cause, unpaid wages, costs, interest and attorney fees. Issues included: minimum guaranteed bonus; accrued, unpaid base salary; accrued unused vacation; and accrued equity interest in the company.
  • Arbitrated a dispute of a foreclosure of mortgage on expensive residential property. Issues included a negotiated short sale amount, private investor financing, and waiver of deficiency and dismissal of pending law suit.
  • Mediated matter involving bank foreclosure on a strip mall owned by a limited liability company. Issues involved personal guarantees on mortgage, collections, and judgments against individuals involved.
  • Mediated claim again a large insurance company after a driver injured two pedestrians with his vehicle. Case involved alleged violations of insurance company policy limits and, rules governing the regulation of attorneys
  • Mediated first party insurance benefits claim involving a commercial property which flooded during a heavy thunderstorm. Case involved multiple elements of policy coverage and exclusions.
  • Mediated insurance coverage case where Plaintiff suffered from multiple sclerosis, and sought coverage under medical insurance policy for a prescription drug. Issues involved breach of contract claims together with declaratory judgment relief regarding the policy’s benefits.
  • Mediated case where Plaintiff was injured stepping into an uncovered water meter box in a city sidewalk, requiring surgery. Claims included disability and lose of wages.
  • Mediated breach of contract dispute between a computer technology company claiming unpaid fees for services rendered and a non-profit corporation.
  • Mediated case with Plaintiff seeking damages for wrongful death of spouse as a result of a fatal shooting that occurred at their condominium property. Issues concerned criminal trespassing, adequate security, premises liability and extent of wrongful death damages.
  • Mediated medical dental malpractice claim against an oral surgeon for failing to diagnosis a tumor inside the mouth. Claim of delayed treatment causing facial deformity and extensive physical, neurological and psychological injury.
  • Mediated insurance coverage actions involving catastrophic automobile accidents with significant injuries and/or death.
  • Honors
    • Recipient of 2016 Dade County Bar Association Legal Luminary Mediation Award.
    • Recipient of the "OSCA" award for Outstanding Leadership and Inspired Vision for Florida's Judicial Branch, presented by the State Courts Administrator, August 11, 2012
    • Appreciation recognition for Leadership, Dedication and Guidance to the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, presented by the Conference Chair, August 14, 2012
    • Chief Justice’s Commendation in recognition of service to the judicial branch during tenure as Chief Judge, June 2009
    • Proclamation by Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, establishing Joseph P. Farina Day on June 17, 2009 in honor of service to the community
    • Greater Miami Jewish Federation’s 2009 Community Service Award, March 2009 
    • Justice Teaching Champion Award in recognition of dedication to the education and protection of Florida’s children, June 2009
    • Cuban American Bar Association’s Mario P. Goderich P.A.V.E.R (Professionalism, Achievement, Values, Excellence & Respect) Award, January 2009
    • Florida Association for Women Lawyers’ Theodore Klein Award, December 2008
    • Justice Harry Lee Anstead Professionalism Award, Miami-Dade Justice Association, June 2007
    • Honorable Gerald Kogan Judicial Distinction Award, Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Miami Chapter, May 2007
    • David W. Dyer Professionalism Award, Dade-County Bar Association
    • Sookie Williams Award Recognizing Exemplary Service to the Miami-Dade Legal Community, Daily Business Review, July 2004
    • Jurist of the Year, Florida Chapters of the American Board of Trial Advocates, June 2004
    • Distinguished Leadership Award, Conference of County Court Judges of Florida, May 2004 
  • Memberships and Professional Activities
    • Advisory Board Member, Association of Certified E-Discovery Specialists (ACEDS), 2013
    • Founding Advisory Board Member and guest instructor for the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial High School, a Miami-Dade County magnet high school dedicated to Legal Studies, Forensic Science and Homeland Security, 2010-present
    • Member, Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Judges Advisory Committee for American Bar Association, 2011-present
    • Florida Chief Justice Representative on Executive Council of the Florida Clerk of Court Operations Corporation, July 2010-July 2012
    • Vice Chair, Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Branch Governance Study Group, 2009-2011
    • Chair, Florida Supreme Court’s Strategic Planning Committee on Long Range Planning for the State Court System and Task Force on Judicial Branch Planning, November 2004-June 2009
    • Chair, Florida Supreme Court’s Judicial Management Council, 2006-June 2008
    • President of the National Conference of Metropolitan Courts, which is composed of the Chief Judges of the Nation’s Metropolitan Courts, October 1998-September 1999
    • Chair of the Judicial Administration Section of the Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, which is comprised of all Chief Judges of the State of Florida, July 1997-June 1999
    • Chair, Florida Conference of Circuit Judges, July 2001-June 2002
    • Member, Executive Committee of the Florida Conference of Circuit Court Judges, July 2002-July 2012
    • Member, Executive Committee of the Florida Supreme Court’s Trial Court Budget Commission, July 2004-March 2012
    • Member, Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, July 2002-present
    • Member, 11th Judicial Circuit Historical Society, October 2006-present
    • Member, Alliance for Human Services Board of Directors, July 1998-December 2008
  • Judge, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida, 1979-2012
    • Chief Judge, 1995-2009
    • Administrative Judge, Circuit Criminal Division, 1992-1995
    • Judge, Circuit Court, 1981-2012
    • Judge, County Court, 1979-1981 
  • Mayor, Miami Shores, Florida, 1977-1979
  • J.D., University of Florida College of Law, 1970
  • B.A., George Washington University

Counsel Comments


    “Today all the clients and lawyers involved exchanged very kind and professional emails bringing what was difficult and potentially nasty litigation to a good and fair conclusion. I thank you for your efforts in making that happen, and the privilege of working with you.”
    -- Insurance Litigator, West Palm Beach

    “I now know first hand why you were selected as the top mediator in Miami. It would be our honor if you would consent to mediating in the future on our cases. We appreciate and thank you for your high skill and professionalism.”
    --
     Miami Litigator

    “Where past mediations did not help, Judge Farina was a Godsend in sorting out this convoluted nightmare and ending years of fruitless litigation. It never would have resolved without Judge Farina; his legal expertise and savviness with the parties led to a miraculous conclusion to this dispute. I always respected Judge Farina on the bench, and I respect him now as a mediator. I cannot thank him enough for interceding to resolve this case.”
    -- Prominent Litigation Attorney

    "Your work on this matter was unparalleled. Thank you."
    -- Insurance Defense Attorney

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Specialties

  • Arbitration
  • Business/Commercial
  • Class Action/Mass Tort
  • Construction
  • Employment
  • Environmental
  • Personal Injury/Torts
  • Professional Liability
  • Real Property
  • Special Master/Discovery Referee
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