Kenneth B. Bell


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J.D., with honors, Florida State College of Law (1982)
B.A, History, Davidson College (1978)
Diploma, Booker T. Washington High School, Pensacola, Florida (1974)

Bar/Courts Admitted:

All Florida State Courts; U. S. Supreme Court; U.S. Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida; U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida

Contact Information

(850) 434-9200

Legal Assistant Paralegal
Jennifer Reeves Stephanie Gaherty
850-208-7029 850-208-7060

Martindale-Hubbell Rating:


Practice Areas:

Appeals and Trial Support, Circuit Civil and Appellate Mediation, Arbitration, Civil Litigation

Professional Experience:

Former Justice Kenneth B. Bell leads the firm’s appellate/trial support group and maintains an active ADR and litigation practice. As a mediator, he is Supreme Court Certified in both Circuit Civil and Appellate Mediation.

Mr. Bell was appointed to the Florida Supreme Court in 2002. As a justice, he authored numerous significant opinions on a wide variety of issues. His service on Florida’s Supreme Court was best summarized by Governor Charlie Crist when he accepted Justice Bell’s resignation in the Fall of 2008:

“Your contributions to Florida law and the judicial system will stand for many years to come. You never wavered in following the text of our Constitution and statutes, and by doing so you set an example of judicial restraint for jurists everywhere. As a man of humility and deep faith in God, you have served as a role model of personal and professional integrity on the bench.”

Prior to his service on the Supreme Court, Mr. Bell was a circuit judge in Florida’s First Judicial Circuit. Indeed, in 1991, he became the youngest circuit judge in the history of the First Circuit. In his twelve years on the circuit court bench, Judge Bell handled more than 27,500 cases as a general jurisdiction judge and was actively involved in improving the judicial system.

Preceding his elevation to the judiciary, Mr. Bell was a successful private practitioner in the Pensacola area as its first Board Certified Real Estate Attorney.

Representative Opinions – Majority

Bautista v. State of Florida, 863 So. 2d 1180 (Fla. 2003)
Bellsouth Telecommunications, Inc. v. Meeks, 863 So. 2d 287 (Fla. 2003)
D’Angelo v. Fitzmaurice, 863 So. 2d 311 (Fla. 2003)
Florida Birth-Related Neurological, v. Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, et al., Florida Birth-Related Neurological, v. Ferguson, et al., 948 So. 2d 705 (Fla. 2007)
Florida Department of Children & Families v. Sun-Sentinel, Inc., 865 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. 2004)
Florida Department of Revenue, et al., v. Cummings, et al., 930 So. 2d 604 (Fla. 2006)
Foundation Health, et al., v. Westside EKG Associates; Health Options, Inc., et al., v. Westside EKG Associates; Humana Medical Plan, Inc., etc., v. Westside EKG Associates, 944 So. 2d 188 (Fla. 2006)
Miami-Dade County v. Omnipoint Holdings, Inc., 863 So. 2d 195 (Fla. 2003)
Milks v. State of Florida, State of Florida v. Espindola, 894 So. 2d 924 (Fla. 2005)
Parker v. Parker, 950 So. 2d 388 (Fla. 2007)
Raborn v. Menotte, 974 So. 2d 328 (Fla. 2008)
Reeves v. State of Florida, 957 So. 2d 625 (Fla. 2007)
Sanders v. State of Florida, 944 So. 2d 203 (Fla. 2006)
State of Florida v. Burris, 875 So. 2d 408 (Fla. 2004)
State of Florida v. Clements, 903 So. 2d 919 (Fla. 2005)
State of Florida v. Iseley, 944 So. 2d 227 (Fla. 2006)
Travelers Indemnity Co. v. PCR Incorporated, 889 So. 2d 779 (Fla. 2004)
Velez v. Miami-Dade County Police Department, 934 So. 2d 1162 (Fla. 2006)
Wade v. Hirschman, 903 So. 2d 928 (Fla. 2005)
Walton County v. Stop the Beach Renourishment, Inc., 2008 WL 1127 (Fla. 2008)

Representative Opinions – Concurring

Acker v. Acker, 904 So. 2d 384 (Fla. 2005)
Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General re; Authorizing Miami-Dade & Broward County Voters to Approve Slot Machines in Pari-Mutuel Facilities, 880 So. 2d 522 (Fla. 2004)
Bulgin, etc. v. State of Florida, 912 So. 2d 307 (Fla. 2005)
Goble v. Frohman, 901 So. 2d 830 (Fla. 2005)
Sunset Harbour North Condominium Association v. Robbins, 914 So. 2d 925 (Fla. 2005)
Tillman v. State of Florida, 934 So. 2d 1263 (Fla. 2006)
Representative Opinions – Concurring in Part, Dissenting in Part
Bay County, FL v. Town of Cedar Grove, et al., 992 So. 2d 164 (Fla. 2008)
Busby v. State of Florida, 894 So. 2d 88 (Fla. 2004)
Grosvenor v. State of Florida, 874 So. 2d 1176 (Fla. 2004)
Wilson v. Salamon, 924 So. 2d 363 (Fla. 2005)

Representative Opinions – Dissenting

Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General re: Public Protection from Repeated Medical Malpractice, 880 So. 2d 667 (Fla. 2004)
Aguilera v. Inservices, Inc., et al., 905 So. 2d 84 (Fla. 2005)
B.C. v. Florida Department of Children & Families, 887 So. 2d 1046 (Fla. 2004)
Calabro v. State of Florida, 995 So. 2d 307 (Fla. 2008)
Dorsey v. State of Florida, 868 So. 2d 1192 (Fla. 2003)
Florida Department of Corrections v. Abril, et vir., 969 So. 2d 201 (Fla. 2007)
Kasischke v. State of Florida, 991 So. 2d 803 (Fla. 2008)
Montgomery v. State of Florida, 897 So. 2d 1292 (Fla. 2005)

Professional Associations and Memberships:

The American Bar Association:

  • Section of Dispute Resolution: Arbitration Committee; Mediation Committee
  • Section of Litigation: Appellate Practice

The Florida Bar:

  • Appellate Law Section of the Florida Bar, (2009-present), Treasurer, Member of Executive Council, Liaison to RPPTL Section
  • The Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar (1982-present) Member, Amicus Coordination Committee
  • ADR Section (2010-present) Executive Council, Former Chair of Membership and Outreach Committee (2013) Treasurer
  • Member, Hawkins’ Commission on Review of Discipline System, The Florida Bar (2011-2012)

American Inns of Court-Pensacola Chapter (1996-2002, 2007-2010)
Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association (1982-present)
Okaloosa-Walton Bar Association
National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals
Florida Circuit-Civil Mediator Society

Other Professional and Community Activities:

Member, Advisory Board to Florida Tax Watch Center for Government Efficiency (2013)
Trustee, Florida TaxWatch’s Board of Trustees
Chair, Advisory Board to Florida TaxWatch Center for Smart Justice (2012)
Member, Florida’s “Task Force on Citizens’ Safety and Protection.” (2012)
Chair, Escambia County Consolidation Study Commission (2009-2010)
Supreme Court Liaison to the Rules of Judicial Administration Committee, the Trial Court Budget Commission, the District Court Budget Commission, the Small Claims Rules Committee, and the RPPTL Section of the Florida Bar (2003-2008)
Nomination Committee, Florida Legal Services, Inc. (2003-2008)
Supreme Court’s Circuit Committee on Professionalism- First Circuit (2000-2002)
Florida Conference of Circuit Judges (1991-2002) – Member of Delphi Study Commission-Judges Committee (1999)
Waterfront Rescue Mission (1988-2002, 2007-present), Board President (1995-1999, 2008-2011), Board of Directors (1990-2002, 2007-present)
Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce (1982-1990, 2008-present)
Justice Fellowship (1991-2001)- Board of Directors, Vice-President and Executive Committee
Escambia County 4-H Foundation (2000-2002) Board of Directors
Northeast Pensacola Sertoma Club (1983-1986) Board of Directors and Vice-President
Leadership Pensacola, Class of 1986
Sacred Heart Foundation, Inc., (1986-1989) Board of Directors
Friends of Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart, Inc. (1985-1986) Founding President and Board of Directors
Pensacola Board of Realtors (1984-1990) Continuing Education Committee-Lecturer
Homebuilders Association of West Florida (1984-1990) – Land Use Committee- Lecturer
Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund (1982-1990)
American Bar Association (1982-1988, 2009-present)
American Judicature Society (1992-1996)
Yan-Bian University of Science & Technology (1989-1991) – Founding President and Board Member (then known as Yan-Bian Chinese-Korean Technical University)

Awards and Recognitions:

Super Lawyer, Florida Super Lawyers, 2012-2013 (Appellate)
Florida Legal Elite, Florida Trend, Appellate Law (2010-present); Arbitration & Mediation (2009)
“Dedication to Public Interest Law,” Public Interest Law Student Association, FSU College of Law, 2004
Judicial Distinguished Service Award, Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency, Chapter VI, 2000
“Certificate of Appreciation,” Waterfront Rescue Mission for four years of service as board President in which we doubled the services for homeless and drug addicted men and women
“God in Government Award”, Cantonment-Ensley Ministerial Association, presented “to an elected official who has demonstrated a measure of moral and spiritual excellence in office,” 1996
“Above and Beyond Award,” SED Network (Multi-Agency Network for Severely Emotionally Disturbed Children) for “dedication and commitment in service to severely emotionally disturbed children and their families.” May, 1995
Certificate of Appreciation from the Florida Association of School Resource Officers and the Santa Rosa County Sheriff for “Continuous Assistance and Support to Santa Rosa County’s School Resource and Dare Officers,” for the years 1994 and 1995

Sampling of Speaking Engagements:

“Whose side are you on: Superman’s or the Elites’,” Ethics presentation, 1st Judicial Cir. Legal Community Conference, Oct. 5-7, 2012
“No Courts-No Justice-No Freedom,” 2012 Law Day Luncheon, Okaloosa–Walton Bar Association
“Persuasive Brief Writing” presentation at Appellate Practice Seminar, March 23, 2012
“Can’t We All Just Get Along: Tips for a Successful Eminent Domain Mediation”, ALI/ABA Eminent Domain and Land Valuation
Litigation/Condemnation 101: Making the Complex Simple in Eminent Domain, Coral Gables, Florida, February 17-19, 2011
“From Time to Time: Avoiding Regrets When Administering a Title Claim,” Florida Land Title Association’s 2010 Round Table, Orlando, Florida, April 14, 2010
“That Mean Mean High Water Mark: The Stop the Beach Renourishment Decision,” Florida Land Title Association’s 2009 Round Table, Orlando, Florida, April 22, 2009.
“Florida’s Judicial Branch: Something to Cherish,” Panhandle Tiger Bay Club, Pensacola, Florida, March 20, 2009
“Legacy: A Raccoon Syndrome Therapy Session,” The Leadership Academy of Sacred Heart Health System, Pensacola, Florida, January 9, 2009
“Pray For Those In Authority,” Community Prayer Breakfast, Pensacola, Florida, October 8, 2008
Presenter, First Circuit Bench & Bar Professionalism Seminar, Milton, Florida, May 30, 2008
Keynote speaker, Judicial Appreciation Luncheon, The Collier County Women’s Bar Association, Naples, Florida, October 24, 2008
“Professionalism Before the Supreme Court,” Practicing Before the Supreme Court Seminar, Tallahassee, Florida, June 12, 2008
Keynote Speaker, Lake County Law Day, Lake County, Florida, May 1, 2008
“Appellate Practice,” American Inns of Court-Pensacola Chapter, Pensacola, Florida, November 15, 2007
Keynote Speaker, Crystal River Annual Law Day Luncheon, Crystal River, Florida, May 4, 2007
“In Derogation of Common Law: A Flawed Doctrine,” Federalist Society, Tampa, Florida May 3, 2007
Keynote speaker, Dedication of the Historic Clay County Courthouse, Green Cove Springs, Florida, April, 2006
“The Dibble: Finding Direction in Times of Doubt or Despair,” Jacksonville Chapter of CLS, April 18, 2005, Jacksonville, Florida
Commencement Speaker, Florida State University, Spring, 2005
Presenter/Facilitator in Criminal, Civil and Family portions of Fifth Judicial Circuit’s Annual Professionalism Conference, Ocala, Florida, Spring 2004-6
“A View from the Bench: Professionalism in Appellate Practice,” Advanced Capital Cases Seminar, Orlando, Florida, October 10, 2004
Keynote speaker on Professionalism, Jacksonville Bar Annual Luncheon, October, 2004
“Our Common Cause: Preserving Our Democracy by Assuring a Healthy Independent Judiciary,” Business Law Section Annual Luncheon, The Florida Bar Annual Meeting, Boca Raton, Florida, Summer, 2004
Prayer for National Leaders, Annual Florida Leadership Prayer Breakfast, Tallahassee, Florida, March 18, 2004
Keynote Speech on Judiciary, National Day of Prayer, Washington, D.C., May 6, 2004
“Honoring Those in Authority,” 28th Annual Governmental Prayer Breakfast, Pensacola, Florida, February 7, 2004
“More Than a Conviction: Seeking Justice,” Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, Orlando, Florida, September 19, 2003
“Ambassadors of Justice; Servants of the Law,” Issues Forum, Florida Coastal School of Law, September 11, 2003
“State of the Judiciary,” RPPTL Section’s Annual Legislative and Recent Case Law Update, RPPTL, Palm Beach, Florida, Summer 2003-8
“The Future of Your Courts: The Impact of Revision 7 on Civil Actions,” Florida Retail Federation Annual Meeting, Summer, 2003
“Revision 7 to Article V and Its Impact,” RPPTL Section Annual Meeting, St. Petersburg, Florida, May 23, 2003
“Independent Courts Protect Our Liberties,” Law Day Speech, Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association, May 1, 2003
“Fathers: Legacy Matters,” Father Initiative Annual Banquet, Pensacola, Florida, April 17, 2003
“Principles of Effective Advocacy,” FSU College of Law Moot Court Annual Banquet, Tallahassee, Florida, April 15, 2003
“A Charge to Judge Ronald V. Swanson,” Investiture Speech, Milton, Florida, May 16, 2003
“The Relationship Between the Trial and Appellate Courts,” Florida District Court of Appeals
Annual Education Conference, Pointe Vedre, Florida, September, 2002
Inner City Youth Rally speech encouraging a unified stance against gang activity, drug abuse, teen sex/pregnancy, STD, Milton, Florida, 2000
“Our Youth At Risk: Today’s Child From Where I Sit,” Santa Rosa County Association of School Administrators, April 1, 1998
“Drugs, Gangs and Juvenile Court,” Drug Awareness Seminar, Santa Rosa County
“The Juvenile Justice System: Its Strengths and Weaknesses,” a series of speeches to service clubs across the First Judicial Circuit
“Ruminations of a Circuit Judge,” Alabama Hereford Association, Molino, Florida, June, 1994
“Family Law and Domestic Relations,” Guardian Ad Litem Training Course, Milton, Florida (1991-1999)
“Criminal Justice-A System in Crisis,” Kiwanis, Rotary, Christian Businessmen Club and other social organizations throughout First Judicial Circuit, Spring, 1991
Lecture on “Tenancies” at Annual RPPTL Real Estate Certification Course, Tampa, Florida, 1990
Lectures on the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause and Public Schools to school administrators seeking Masters in School Administration, UWF, 1998-1999
Lectures on Evidence, Business Law and Real Estate Closings, Pensacola Junior College’s Legal Studies Program, late 1980’s
Lectures to Realtors and Homebuilders on real estate contracts, leasing, closings, mechanic’s lien law and professional liability, Escambia-Santa Rosa Counties, 1984-1990

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