Governor Rick Scott today announced his appointments for Judges of Compensation Claims. For the last few months, the OJCC has managed with 5 vacancies around the state. Some unexpected retirements at the OJCC created three of those before expected, and two other judges retired last year.
In Ft. Myers. Governor Scott appointed Frank Clark. Mr. Clark is 52 years old and a long-time resident of Florida. He began his legal career in private practice in 1988. He has primarily represented injured workers since that time. Judge Clark earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of South Florida and his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.
In Panama City, Governor Scott appointed Jonathan Walker. Mr. Walker is 49 years old. He started his legal career in the State Attorney's Office in Walton County, and then served as Assistant County Attorney. Since 1999 he has practiced workers' compensation defense with the Conroy Simberg firm. Judge Walker earned his bachelor's degree from the University of West Florida and a Masters' in Public Administration at the University of South Alabama. He earned his Juris Doctor from Samford University School of Law.
Port St. Lucie
In Port St. Lucie, Governor Scott appointed Keefe Owens. Mr. Owens is 41 years old. He began his legal practice as a Staff Attorney with the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal in 1998. Since 2002 he has been with Zimmerman, Kiser & Sutcliffe. Though based in Orlando, he has engaged in a statewide practice with emphasis on appellate law. Judge Owens earned his Bachelor of Arts from the Stetson University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida College of Law.
West Palm Beach
In West Palm Beach, the Governor filled two vacancies. To replace Judge Shelley Punancy, Governor Scott appointed Gregory Johnsen. Mr. Johnsen is 46 years old and long time resident of south Florida. he began his legal career defending workers' compensation cases with Valdez and Villaverde. Since 2006 he has served as a State Mediator in the Miami and Ft. Lauderdale District Offices. Judge Johnsen earned his Bachelor of Arts from Barry University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Miami.
To replace Judge Basquill in West Palm Beach, Governor Scott appointed Thomas Hedler. Mr. Hedler is 41 years old and a Florida Native. He has practiced in workers' compensation since 2002, primarily representing injured workers. Judge Hedler earned his Bachelor of Arts from Palm Beach Atlantic University and his Juris Doctor from Florida State University College of Law.
Two Judges were pending reappointment. The Governor did not reappoint Charles Hill of Miami or W. James Condry of Orlando. These two positions will be filled as soon as practical. Judge Sojourner (LKL) will be transferring to Orlando as soon as Judge Condry's position is filled (and his position, with its new judge, will be transferred to District Lakeland).