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Richard J. Suarez

Richard J. Suarez

General Biography
Practice Areas
Business Commercial
Class Action & Mass Tort
Employment Law
Family Law
Personal Injury
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Richard J. Suarez (Retired Judge, District Court of Appeal) joins JAMS following a distinguished legal career, most recently from Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, where he served as chief judge from 2015 to 2017. Judge Suarez was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 2005 following his service as a judge on the County Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Miami-Dade County.

During his 14 years on the appellate bench, Judge Suarez authored hundreds of opinions in a wide range of areas, including class actions, construction, first party, bad-faith, and insurance coverage actions, breach of contract, property damage, personal injury, professional liability, and matters concerning governmental entities. Before going on the bench, Judge Suarez spent 22 years as a litigator focusing on civil litigation and appeals in both state and federal courts.

Judge Suarez is known for his combination of sharp legal acumen and pragmatism when it comes to settling cases. His extensive legal career allows him to quickly assess the merits of a case to get parties to think critically about a path to resolution.

ADR Qualifications

  • Over 16 years of judicial service, including successful term as chief judge of the Third District Court of Appeal
  • Authored over 600 published opinions while on the Court of Appeal
  • Participated as a member of three-judge panels in appeal decisions authored by others
  • Presided over numerous jury and non-jury trials in a range of areas at the state court level, including conducting settlement conferences

Representative Matters

  • Business Commercial
      • Breach of contract, breach of commercial contracts between city and county employee unions and government employees, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty, questions of interpretation and application of union contracts and city and county government ordinances, noncompete clauses in employment contracts, interpretation and enforcement of settlements and mediations
  • Class Action & Mass Tort
      • Class certification
  • Construction
      • Construction defects, damage to residential and commercial buildings, surety
  • Employment Law
      • Workplace discrimination, breach of employment contracts, harassment, retaliation, appeal of administrative order of employment disputes, appeal of city procedures for discharge of government employees
  • Family Law
      • Dissolution of marriage, child custody and time-sharing, division of property, termination of parental rights
  • Insurance
      • Bad faith, coverage issues, errors and omissions, failing to obtain coverage request, failure to defend, insurance claims, first property damage claims, interpretation of insurance policies and application of facts, property damage claims due to windstorm, natural disaster and other catastrophic events
  • Personal Injury
      • Auto accidents, premises liability, wrongful death, legal and medical malpractice

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.


  • Hispanic Heritage Judicial Trailblazer Award, Dade County Bar Association, 2017
  • Alumni Achievement Award, University of Miami School of Law, 2012
  • Public Servant of the Year Award, Rotary Club, 2004
  • Phi Kappa Phi National Scholastic Honor Society, 1968
  • Pi Kappa Lambda National Scholastic Honor Society, 1968


  • Member, Florida Bar Association, 1981–present
    • Standing Committee on Ethics
    • Standing Committee on Practice of Law Without License
    • Board of the Appellate Section of the Florida Bar
  • Appointed Member, Appellate and Trial Court Security Supreme Court Committees, 2016–2018
  • Appointed Member, Supreme Court Management Committee, 2012–2018
  • Member, Legislative Committee of the Conference of Appellate Court Judges, 2015–2017
  • Member, Budget Committee, Third District Court of Appeal, 2013–2017
  • Member, Board of Directors, Florida Humanities Council, 1998–2002
  • Member, Board of Directors, WLRN Public Television Station, 1997–2002
  • Member, Board of Directors, The Ronald McDonald House of South Florida, 1991–2002
  • Former Faculty Member, Advanced Judicial College

Background and Education

  • Judge, Third District Court of Appeal, 2005–2018
    • Presiding Chief Judge, 2015–2017
  • Judge, Eleventh Judicial Circuit County Court, 2002–2005
  • Partner;  Hardeman & Suarez, P.A.; 1991–2004
  • Shareholder; Corlett, Killian, P.A.; 1986–1991
  • J.D., cum laude, University of Miami School of Law, 1981
  • M.A., Music, University of Miami, 1970
  • B.A., University of Miami, 1968


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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