The Jury's Out: The Composition of Jury Pools Across Florida

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1 The Jury's Out: The Composition of Jury Pools Across Florida Claims Defense Update Seminar Thursday, September 19, 2013 Presented by: William Boltrek, Esquire Traci McKee, Esquire FORT MYERS BONITA SPRINGS SANIBEL Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A.

2 William Boltrek, III Associate Practice Areas Tort & Insurance Litigation Office Fort Myers Direct Dial Fax Undergraduate Degree University at Buffalo, B.A Law Degree Quinnipiac University, J.D Admission to The Florida Bar 2012 Admission to The NY Bar 2000 William Bill Boltrek focuses his litigation practice in tort and insurance defense. He is admitted in all Florida State Courts. Bill is also admitted in all New York State Courts, as well as the Eastern and Southern District Federal Court of New York. He is also admitted to the United States Court of Appeals Armed Forces and the United States Supreme Court. While attending law school, Bill worked for one of the largest gun manufacturers, working on defending municipal firearm litigation. He also dealt with areas of law pertaining to the Commerce Clause, Cybersquatting, and Patent and Trademark prosecution. Bill also drafted domestic and international licensing agreements and maintained compliance with the Department of Defense and State Department regulations. Upon graduating law school, Bill became an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County (Brooklyn) New York. While working as an Assistant District Attorney, Bill prosecuted misdemeanor and felony cases, as well as presented numerous cases to the Grand Jury. He served as Lead Counsel on numerous hearings and trials resulting in criminal convictions. Bill was placed in charge of misdemeanor assistants and monitored their cases and conviction rates. After leaving the District Attorney s office, Bill joined a prominent insurance defense firm, with offices across New York State. He entered the firm as an associate, became partner in 2009, and supervised an office in Western New York. Bill litigated many cases involving jury trials to verdict in all aspects of insurance defense in both State and Federal Court, including cases involving premises liability, motor vehicle liability, insurance fraud, Labor Law, Title IX, negligent security and supervision, breach of contract, discrimination, construction law, EEOC, and employment law. He has also argued cases before the Second and Fourth Department of New York Appellate Division. Bill is a native of Stony Brook, New York and relocated to Southwest Florida in He is an avid football fan, and also enjoys travelling and golf. PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC AFFILIATIONS Bill is a member of the Florida Bar, the New York Bar, Lee County Bar Association, Florida Defense Lawyers Association, and the Defense Research Institute. Blogs: swflemploymentlawblog.com legalscoopswflre.com FLimmigrationlawblog.com

3 Traci T. McKee Associate Practice Areas Tort & Insurance Litigation Office Fort Myers Direct Dial Fax Undergraduate Degree University of North Florida, B.B.A., summa cum laude, 2000 Law Degree Stetson University College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude, 2007 Admitted to The Florida Bar 2008 Traci McKee is an associate attorney in the firm s Torts and Insurance Practice department. Although she concentrates her practice on defending professionals in malpractice lawsuits and grievance disputes, Traci also represents individuals, corporations, and governmental entities involved in personal injury, products liability, and toxic tort disputes. In addition to her trial practice, she also represents the firms clients in appeals, primarily related to torts and insurance litigation. Traci is admitted to practice in Florida, the Middle District of Florida, and the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2010 and 2011, Traci was honored with the James A. Dixon Young Lawyer of the Year Award from the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. The award is given annually to a young lawyer who exceeds the standards of excellence, dedication and commitment to the FDLA and its goals. For four consecutive years ( ), she was also recognized by Florida Super Lawyers magazine as a Rising Star in the field of civil litigation defense. While only 5% of lawyers in the entire State are named to Florida Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5% are named to the Rising Stars list. Prior to joining the firm, Traci served as a federal judicial intern for The Honorable John E. Steele, United States District Court Judge for the Middle District of Florida. She also spent two summers as a summer associate prior to joining the firm as an associate. Traci also gained invaluable experience working as a claims specialist for State Farm Insurance Company prior to attending law school. Before graduating valedictorian of Stetson University College of Law in 2007, Traci served as the Executive Editor of the Stetson Law Review a member of Stetson s Moot Court Board. Traci served as team captain of the Women s Volleyball Team of the University of North Florida during undergrad. Traci is originally from Kissimmee and presently resides in Fort Myers with her husband, Rusty, and two sons, Brett and Braden. PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC AFFILIATIONS Traci is a member and also serves on the Board of Directors for the Florida Defense Lawyers Association. Blogs: swflemploymentlawblog.com legalscoopswflre.com flimmigrationlawblog.com

4 County by county statistics from the 2010 U.S. Census and candid feedback from defense lawyers William Boltrek, III, Esq. Traci T. McKee, Esq. Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. Florida Law on Jury Selection It is improper to exercise challenges based upon race, gender, or ethnicity Muhammad v. State, 782 So. 2d 343 (Fla. 2001) So How Is This Information Useful? Maine Justice 1

5 U.S. Census Trivia Which county in Florida has the largest percentage of its population over age 65? U.S. Census Trivia Which county in Florida has the largest percentage of its population with a bachelor s degree or higher? U.S. Census Trivia Which county in Florida has the largest percentage of residents below the poverty level? 2

6 U.S. Census Trivia Which county in Florida has the highest median household income? First DCA Widely varied among counties Alachua: well educated jurors, average diversity, rated 7 8 as to being defense oriented Escambia, Gadsden, Jefferson, Taylor, Wakulla, and Walton: least defense oriented, lowincome laborers, fairly liberal on social issues and lawsuits 3

7 Second DCA Sarasota and Collier Counties viewed as the most defense oriented counties, conservative, white collar, educated, and generally in favor of tort reform Hillsborough, Highlands, and Hardee Counties viewed as the least defense oriented mid to low education, neutral on tort reform, fairly liberal social ideals Second DCA By County Charlotte Collier DeSoto Glades Hardee Hendry Highlands Hillsborough Lee Manatee Pasco Pinellas Polk Sarasota Third DCA Miami Dade County Population = 2.5 Million Diverse jurors, many of Hispanic or Latino descent, liberal social values, not adverse to lawsuits Monroe County Considerably more defense oriented than Miami Dade Middle class, older in age, varied races, some adversity to lawsuits 4

8 Fourth DCA Varied among the counties Indian River, Martin, and Okeechobee Counties considered the more defense oriented in this District Fairly conservative, middle to upper Broward and Palm Beach Counties viewed as fairly middle of the road but becoming more diverse and unpredictable St. Lucie County viewed as the least defense oriented Primarily low income individuals with liberal points of view Fifth DCA Broward, Seminole and Flagler Counties viewed as most defense oriented in the Fifth District Educated with many professionals Volusia, Orange, Osceola and Lake Counties viewed as middle of the road Average education and average income level Avoid Being the Defendant in Maine Justice Know your audience Hire local counsel Familiarize yourself with jury pool and judges! 5

9 William Boltrek, III Traci T. McKee

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