Richard E. Mitchell - Attorney at Law

301 East Pine Street
Suite 1400
Post Office Box 3068 (32802-3068)
Orlando, Florida 32801

P 407-843-8880
F 407-244-5690

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Biography

Rick is a shareholder with the firm and is chair of the Higher Education practice group. He is a respected trial lawyer with substantial experience in a broad scope of litigation matters ranging from commercial cases to intellectual property cases to personal injury cases. Rick has also developed a concentration in the areas of college and university litigation and premises liability litigation involving the defense of business owners in cases involving criminal attacks. In addition, Rick routinely serves as local counsel in federal court cases for many highly respected out-of-state firms and their clients. 

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Background

Rick is a native Floridian, born and raised in Melbourne, Florida.

Before becoming a lawyer, Rick worked for the Walt Disney World Co. as a process improvement engineer for its theme park, maintenance and warehouse business units after graduating from the University of Florida College of Engineering with a bachelor’s in systems engineering in 1992. During his time with Disney, Rick learned firsthand the utmost importance of always providing excellent customer service and continues to honor this vital guiding principle.

In 1996, Rick followed his childhood dream of becoming a trial lawyer and left Disney to enter the University of Florida College of Law, where he worked hard to become a member of the Florida Law Review and to graduate in the top 5 percent of his class. Thereafter, Rick earned the top score on The Florida Bar exam in the 5th District Court of Appeal and delivered the honorary induction ceremony address on behalf of all newly admitted members of The Florida Bar.

After earning his law degree, Rick had the honor of serving as judicial law clerk to the Honorable G. Kendall Sharp, senior U.S. district court judge, and the Honorable James G. Glazebrook, U.S. magistrate judge, both of the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division. During his time with the court, Rick researched and drafted orders on hundreds of discovery, dispositive and evidentiary motions and observed numerous civil and criminal trials from start to finish.

In 2001, Rick joined the GrayRobinson family and worked hard to earn the trust and respect of the firm's clients and shareholders, which resulted in his appointment to shareholder with the firm in 2005, just six years after he graduated from law school.

In 2005, Rick was awarded an AV Peer Review Rating by the widely referred-to Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, which defines the AV rating as "showing that a lawyer has reached the height of professional excellence. He or she has usually practiced law for many years, and is recognized for the highest levels of skill and integrity."

In 2010, Rick was named a top lawyer in the area of "Business Law" in Florida Trend's annual "Florida Legal Elite" publication, which is based on a statewide vote by members of The Florida Bar, and in 2007 he was named a top "Up and Comer" attorney under 40 years of age in Florida Trend's annual publication.

Education
  • University of Florida College of Engineering, B.S. (industrial and systems engineering, 1992)
    • Tau Beta Pi National Engineering Honor Society
    • Alpha Pi Mu National Industrial Engineering Honor Society
    • Cooperative Education Program (Walt Disney World Co.)
  • Georgia Institute of Technology, Logistics Institute
    • Materials Handling Certificate (1993)
    • Logistics Strategy Planning Certificate (1993)
  • University of Florida College of Law, J.D. (honors, 1998)
    • Order of the Coif
    • Florida Law Review, Senior Editor
    • Book Awards: Civil Procedure and Property
    • Darrey A. Davis Memorial Scholarship
    • The Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division Scholarship
Admissions
  • Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida
  • U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
  • U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Professional Associations & Memberships
  • The Florida Bar
    • Administrative Law Section, Member
    • Appellate Practice and Advocacy Section, Member
    • Business Law Section, Member
    • City, County and Local Government Law Section, Member
    • Trial Lawyers Section, Member
  • Judicial Nominating Commission, 5th District Court of Appeal, 2013-2016 
  • Florida Association of Police Attorneys, Member, 2012
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Central Florida Inns of Court
  • Institute of Industrial Engineers
  • University of Florida Alumni Council
  • American Intellectual Property Law Association, Member
  • Million Dollar Advocates Forum
  • National Association of College and University Attorneys, Member
  • International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, Member
Awards & Recognitions
  • AV Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Florida Trend, Legal Elite, 2010-2013, 2016
    • "Up & Comer," 2007 
  • Daily Business Review, Top Rated Lawyer, Appellate Law, 2013 
  • Orlando Home and Leisure Magazine, Top Lawyer, 2011 
Civic
  • Give Kids the World, Board of Directors, 2015
  • Junior Achievement, Classroom Instructor
  • Habitat for Humanity, Volunteer
  • COMPACT, Volunteer (high school student mentor)
  • Windermere's Police Chief Selection Committee, Co-Chair, 2012
Articles & Publications
  • An Ex Post Facto Enigma: When Does Increased Incarceration Not Equate to Increased Punishment?, 49 Fla.L.Rev. 179 (1997)
  • Florida Offers of Judgment in Federal Court  Enforceable or Not?, The Briefs (October 2007 Vol. 75 No. 10)
Presentations & Seminars
  • "Litigation Unveiled," The Community College Conference on Legal Issues, Valencia College, January 19, 2016
  • Panel Session, "Into the Eye of the Storm: Managing Communications in Crisis," The Community College Conference on Legal Issues, Valencia College, January 19, 2016
  • Presenter of What You Need to Know: Public Records Management and Electronic Discovery at the Community College Conference on Legal Issues, January 2007
  • Moderator for expert security panel including representatives from the University of Florida, University of Central Florida, Valencia Community College, Orange County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement at National Community College Conference on Legal Issues, February 2008
  • Judge, The National Trial Competition, February 2008 Regional Competition
  • Speaker, Introduction to Industrial and Systems Engineering, University of Florida College of Engineering, September 2010
  • Speaker, Litigation Unveiled  Protect Your College and Protect Yourself, The Community College Conference on Legal Issues, Understanding the Laws That Shape our Institutions, Valencia Community College, January 2012
Significant Reported Cases
  • BlueChip, LLC v. UCF Board of Trustees – After a full administrative trial, successfully obtained order in favor of UCF, rejecting petitioner's protest of $6.7 million public bid award for the installation of solar panel systems at public schools across Florida, and thereafter negotiated a favorable settlement under which petitioner agreed to reimburse a substantial portion of UCF's attorneys' fees and costs
  • McCarthy v. Town of Windermere, et al. – After full hearing and oral argument, successfully obtained a pre-answer summary final judgment in favor of the town and one of its council members rejecting the plaintiff's contentions alleging numerous violations of Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law, and thereafter successfully obtained a ruling granting the town's motion for attorneys' fees pursuant to Florida's frivolous claims statute (F.S.A. 57.105)
  • Big Toho Airboat Rides, Inc. v. City of Kissimmee – After full hearing and oral argument, successfully defeated plaintiff's motion for preliminary injunction seeking to ban enforcement of the city's newly enacted ordinance prohibiting all commercial activities in public parks, and thereafter successfully defeated plaintiff's emergency motion for stay on appeal
  • Lugo v. UCF Board of Trustees – Won motion to dismiss plaintiff's alleged claim for retaliatory discharge from her assistant professor position based on her opposition to an allegedly racially discriminatory textbook
  • Udowychenko v. LaserCraft, Inc. – After full hearing and oral argument, successfully defeated plaintiff's motion to certify class action comprising of red-light runners caught by automated detection system
  • Morris v. FAMU Board of Trustees – Successfully obtained appellate opinion rejecting plaintiff's writ of mandamus seeking to overturn his dismissal from FAMU's College of Law
  • Hallford v. Florida A&M University College of Law, et al. – Won motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint with prejudice after oral argument in case where second-year law student demanded readmission to the College of Law, after which plaintiff agreed to pay a substantial portion of FAMU's attorneys' fees and apologized for filing the lawsuit
  • C.J. Bellamy, et al. v. Exxon Mobil Corporation – Won summary final judgment after oral argument in alleged "negligent security" case involving a shooting injury
  • University of Central Florida v. Pi Kappa Alpha National Fraternity – After full trial on the merits, won final judgment upholding UCF's termination of the Pike Fraternity's interest in eighty-year land lease and fraternity house located on UCF's campus
  • Wilhelm v. Florida A&M University College of Law, et al. – Won motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint after oral argument in case where fourth-year law student requested the federal courts to award her a juris doctor degree by judicially overruling the important decisions of the College of Law and its Academic Standards Committee, dean and faculty members.
  • Faith Fairbrother, et al. v. Town of Windermere – Plaintiffs sued the town of Windermere in an attempt to extinguish the public's rare and valuable easement and riparian rights over land running between plaintiffs' lakeview lots and the shorelines of lakes Down and Bessie, both of which are Outstanding Florida Waterways. After preparing and serving a motion for summary final judgment, successfully negotiated a settlement that forever preserves the full measure of the public's rights and required plaintiffs to reimburse the town for its attorneys' fees and costs.
  • Johnson v. Exxon Mobil Corporation – Successful defense of federal court wrongful death case wherein plaintiff's personal representative contended that Exxon's "negligent security" resulted in the shooting death of the decedent. Prepared and filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings on the ground that Exxon owed no legal duty to the decedent as a matter of law. After the U.S. magistrate judge entered a report and recommendation ruling that our motion should be granted, successfully negotiated a favorable settlement of all claims (M.D. Fla. 2006)
  • Graney v. Mitsubishi Digital Electronics America, Inc. – Successfully defeated plaintiff's motion to certify nationwide fraud class action after oral argument (M.D. Fla. 2006)
  • Loggerhead Sea Turtle v. Flagler County Board of County Commissioners – Successfully defeated plaintiff's motion for emergency preliminary injunction under the Endangered Species Act after full evidentiary hearing. Decision reported at 359 F.Supp.2d 1209 (M.D. Fla. 2004)
  • U.S. Department of Defense v. Dogariu – Won favorable decision after full bench trial overruling the U.S. Department of Defense's denial of a security clearance to a naturalized U.S. citizen and world-renowned optical physics professor from Romania.
  • Burgos v. University of Central Florida – Successful defense of civil rights case in which the plaintiff demanded admission to UCF in a case of first impression under Florida Statutes guaranteeing community college graduates admission into one of Florida's public universities. Decision reported at 283 F.Supp.2d 1268 (M.D. Fla. 2004)
  • Dye v. Advantage Venture Partners, Ltd. – Won motion to dismiss with prejudice after oral argument on plaintiff CFO's alleged claims against venture capital firm and its president for fraudulent inducement and breach of contract. Conducted oral argument before 5th District Court of Appeal and successfully obtained order affirming trial court's dismissal with prejudice of four of plaintiff's six claims. Thereafter, won defense summary final judgment on remaining claims after oral argument without having served an answer and in the face of opposing affidavits. Affirmed on appeal at 869 So.2d 630 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004)
  • Citifactors Financial Group, Inc. v. University of Central Florida – Won defense summary final judgment after oral argument on plaintiff's alleged claims for fraud, promissory estoppel, account stated and open account
  • Cataldo v. The Optimal Open MRI, Inc. – Won motion to dismiss with prejudice after oral argument in 8,000-member putative class-action case accusing MRI center of overcharging insured patients in violation of Florida Statutes
  • Jones v. Stanley – Won defense summary final judgment after oral argument in legal malpractice case without having served an answer and in the face of opposing affidavits
  • Simons v. Barnette – Trial team won total defense verdict after three-day federal court bench trial in case filed by two 401(k) plan participants against the plan trustee for alleged breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Decision reported at 2003 WL 23336343 (M.D. Fla. 2003)
  • Harrold v. Moeller – After five-day jury trial, trial team successfully defeated plaintiff's alleged claim for breach of securities contract and obtained favorable jury verdict on client's counterclaim for fraud together with costs and attorneys' fees. Decision affirmed on appeal at 883 So.2d 814 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004)
  • Electro World, Inc. v. RF Micro Devices, Inc. – Won defense summary final judgment after oral argument on plaintiff's alleged claims for breach of contract and unjust enrichment
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