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Three New Justices Appointed to Florida Supreme Court

February 20, 2019Article

With the retirement of three justices from the Florida Supreme Court at the end of 2018, newly sworn in Governor Ron DeSantis wasted little time and within days of his swearing-in appointed three new justices with solid credentials and reputations within the Florida legal community.

  • Barbara Lagoa is a veteran Third District Court of Appeal Judge and Miami native, who made history on January 9, becoming the first Cuban-American woman appointed to the Florida Supreme Court. She had presided over more than 11,000 cases in the past dozen years as an appellate judge. Justice Lagoa received her JD from Columbia University in 1992, where she was an associate editor of the Columbia Law Review, and earned an undergraduate degree in English from Florida International University. In 2003, Justice Lagoa joined the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida as an assistant U.S. attorney, trying numerous criminal jury trials, including drug conspiracies and Hobbs Act violations, as well as criminal appeals. In 2006, she was appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal by former Gov. Jeb Bush. Prior to joining the bench, she worked at prominent firms, including Greenberg Traurig and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, where her practice focused on general and complex commercial litigation, including employment, securities, construction, and insurance coverage litigation.
  • Robert J. Luck, a 39-year-old Miami native, is a former federal prosecutor and Third District Court of Appeal Judge. Previously an appellate lawyer for Greenburg Traurig, Justice Luck was also an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of Florida from 2008-2013, where he worked on appeals, major crimes and economic crimes. By the time he left office, Luck was deputy chief of the Major Crimes Division. He was appointed to the 11th Circuit bench in September 2013, and served there until he was named to the Third District Court of Appeal in March 2017. Justice Luck is a product of the Miami-Dade County public schools, earning an undergraduate degree in economics at the University of Florida before graduating magna cum laude from the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law in 2004. He also served as editor and chief of the Florida Law Review.
  • Carlos G. Muñiz is a veteran government attorney. A 1997 Yale Law School graduate, Justice Muñiz is a former editor of the Yale Law Journal. After earning his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia in 1991, he started his career working for the U.S. Department of Justice. After law school, he served two federal clerkships, the first with Judge Thomas A. Flannery on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and the second with Judge Jose A. Cabranes on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Justice Muñiz has also worked in private practice for the top Washington, D.C. firm, Hogan & Hartson, as well as Gray Robinson, P.A., and McGuireWoods. His specialties included defending businesses in government investigations, civil litigation, commercial disputes, constitutional and civil rights law, and administrative law. He held several positions in the Florida government including as deputy chief of staff and counsel for the Florida House of Representatives under then Speaker Marco Rubio, deputy general counsel to Governor Jeb Bush, and most recently as general counsel to the U.S. Department of Education under Secretary Betsy Devos, and before that, a three-year stint as deputy attorney general and chief of staff to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Evelyn Fletcher Davis is a senior partner at Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP. As one of the leading toxic tort and product liability defense attorneys in the U.S., Evelyn has tried, managed, and settled thousands of cases across the country. She has been instrumental in the Florida dockets, where she leads her litigation areas in aggressive motion practice and enforcement of new legislation.