Senior Judge Alan R. Schwartz was honored in July with the presentation of Volume 111 of the Southern Reporter 3d, containing a tribute to him on the occasion of his name spanning 1,000 volumes of the Southern Reporter — as a lawyer or a judge.
Third District Court of Appeal Chief Judge Frank A. Shepherd made the surprise presentation during the course of the biennial passing the gavel ceremony at the court, recognizing the commencement of Shepherd’s two-year term as chief judge.
The volume dedication will appear on the spine of each volume of 111 Southern Reporter 3d, printed by the West Publishing Company. A photograph and tribute to Judge Schwartz’s judicial career will appear inside the front cover.
Shepherd said neither he nor the West Publishing Company were able to identify any other lawyer or judge in the United States whose name spans 1,000 volumes in the West Reporter system. Judge Schwartz has authored more than 2,000 opinions during his 35 years of service on the Third DCA.
Judge Schwartz’s name first appeared in the Southern Reporter in the case styled Food Fair Stores of Fla., Inc. v. Sommer, 111 So. 2d 743 (Fla. 3d DCA 1959). His name most recently appears in State v. Marron, 111 So. 3d 210 (Fla. 3d DCA 2013).
Judge Schwartz said he was assigned the Food Fair Stores case by Perry Nichols, the storied South Florida plaintiff’s lawyer in the law firm bearing his name, to defend the Food Fair grocery chain’s appeal of a $5,000 judgment the Nichols firm had obtained against the Food Fair grocery chain. Schwartz said he was told the appeal was being assigned to him because “I couldn’t lose.” Although his first case as an appellate lawyer, Schwartz said he was “not really afraid to lose the case” because J.B. Spence, the lawyer who actually tried the case for the firm, “would just re-try the case and get more money.” Unfortunately, Schwartz recounted (to raucous laughter by the audience), not only was the verdict reversed, but “it was reversed with directions to enter judgment for the defendant!”
Judge Schwartz began his judicial career as a Dade County Circuit Court judge in 1973, and joined the Third District Court of Appeal in 1978. He was sworn into The Florida Bar on November 6, 1958. Judge Schwartz has sat with every one of the 34 judges appointed to the Third DCA since the court was created in 1957, except Judge Mallory Horton, one of the original three judges appointed to the court that year. He also has sat on all five of the district courts in the state.