Jay Spechler Resigns/Is Fired

florida judge resignationBroward County, Florida Judge Jay Spechler abruptly resigned Monday after the chief judge barred him from the courthouse. Chief Judge Victor Tobin had reassigned Judge Spechler last week to traffic and parking matters at satellite courthouses until his resignation Monday.

Judge Spechler was in a war with United Auto who sought to disqualify him from cases involving the Florida-based carrier because the judge had a “pre-disposition, prejudice and bias” against its attorneys who were defending no fault (PIP) cases in Florida. Judge Spechler estimated that two-thirds of his cases are PIP disputes with this insurance company. State Auto is the market share leader in car insurance in Florida. When you put two and two together, you get a lot of acrimonies.

Apparently, Judge Spechler made more enemies that just State Auto. Courthouse sources said County Court Judge Jay Spechler’s reassignment came after he got into a verbal altercation with fellow Florida County Court, making comments about the judge’s sexual orientation. The impression I get is that new Chief Judge Tobin was no fan of Judge Spechler, who was closely aligned with former Chief Judge Dale Ross, who resigned last May.

Judge Spechler is apparently going to a mediation firm. Let me make a guess: He won’t be handling a lot of State Auto mediations.

I’ve always thought it was hard for retired judges who are not perceived as being a bit in the insurance company’s back pocket to have lucrative careers as mediators unless they really have a name associated with fairness and not choosing sides.   Insurance companies have a market share.  To be successful as a mediator, they have to like you a little.

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