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The Honorable
Vincent G. Torpy , Jr.

Judge Torpy

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Vincent G. Torpy, Jr.
Chief Judge

 

Judge Vincent G. Torpy, Jr., grew up and attended public schools in Carmel, New York. Throughout his senior year in high school, he worked full-time as the janitor at the local courthouse. During this experience, he developed an interest in the law from his contacts with lawyers, judges and police officers.  Upon graduating high school, Judge Torpy moved to Florida with his family.  Following a period of employment as a construction laborer, at age 19, he attended the police academy in Brevard County.  After graduation, he began his law enforcement career as a Town of Indialantic Police officer.  During his tenure there, he earned three commendations for meritorious police service and was ultimately promoted to second-in-command of the beachside agency.  Judge Torpy became a certified police instructor and frequently taught at the police academy.


While working as an officer, Judge Torpy earned his undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Central Florida.  At age 25, he resigned from the police department and moved to Tallahassee, where he attended law school at Florida State University.  While there, he served as an editor of the Law Review and  law clerk (intern) to Federal District Judge Maurice Paul and Florida Supreme Court Justice James C. Adkins.  He graduated second in his class, with highest honors, and he was inducted into the Order of the Coif honors legal society.  His student publications included:  Police Officer May Not Properly Be Dismissed for Refusal to Submit to a Polygraph Examination1 and United States v. Ross and The Container Cases.2

Prior to his judicial career, Judge Torpy was a partner in private practice with Frese, Nash & Torpy, P.A.  Judge Torpy was Board certified in Civil Trial Practice and Business Litigation and earned the highest rating attainable by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading publication of peer review ratings for lawyers.  In addition to representing many public entities and boards, he served as outside General Counsel to the Brevard County Sheriff.  Judge Torpy was an adjunct professor at Brevard Community College and the University of Central Florida and served as President of the Vassar B. Carlton American Inn of Court.  He also volunteered as a part-time deputy sheriff assigned to the agricultural and marine unit. 

Judge Torpy was lead counsel in over 150 trials (jury and non-jury) and over 100 appeals in state and federal courts.  Thirty of his appellate cases culminated in reported decisions in Florida and Tennessee.3  One class action case4 involved a case of first impression concerning the validity of street assessments.  In another case,5 Judge Torpy successfully argued that the Fifth District Court of Appeal should certify conflict with an opinion of another district court of appeal.  The Florida Supreme Court ultimately approved the decision of the Fifth District Court.6

In late 1999, Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed Judge Torpy to the Circuit Court of Brevard County.  He served for three years in the criminal and civil/family divisions.  He also served as the administrative judge of the family division.  He was re-elected to the circuit court bench unopposed in 2002.  Governor Bush appointed Judge Torpy to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in 2003; he has been twice retained in that position by district-wide election.  In 2008, the Florida Supreme Court's Judicial Nominating Commission nominated Judge Torpy from a field of fifty applicants for a statewide seat on that court.  He currently serves as Chief Judge of the Fifth District Court of Appeal, having been elected to that post in July 2013.

As an appellate judge, Judge Torpy has written over 550 majority opinions.  In one such case, the decision was initially quashed by the Florida Supreme Court but that decision was later reversed by the United States Supreme Court in a landmark ruling regarding the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment.7  Judge Torpy authored eleven opinions wherein conflict was certified with another district court.  In eight of those cases, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Fifth District Court.8  In one case, the Florida Supreme Court initially accepted, but later dispensed with jurisdiction, allowing the decision to stand.9 In another case, the Florida Supreme Court denied review.10  In one case, the Florida Supreme Court disapproved the decision of the Fifth District Court.11

Judge Torpy authored six en banc opinions for the Fifth District Court that receded from prior panel opinions.12  In one of those cases, Bowen v. Taylor-Christensen, the Florida Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction to address a question of great public importance and approved the decision.  Judge Torpy also authored nine opinions involving issues of first impression.13  Three of the decisions14 were later reviewed and approved by the Florida Supreme Court.  The holding in another case, Brown v. State, was later confirmed in a decision of the United States Supreme Court.15  Judge Torpy also authored two concurring opinions later adopted by other district courts, and one concurring opinion later adopted in a Fifth District Court decision.16

Judge Torpy has been married to his wife, Julie, for thirty-eight years.  They have three children--a businessman, a law student and an air force officer in pilot training.  Judge Torpy's hobbies include motorcycle riding, bicycle riding, skiing, scuba diving, and do-it-yourself and restoration projects.


1 11 Fla. State Univ. L. Rev. 697 (1983).

2 10 Fla. State Univ. L. Rev. 471 (1982).

3 Hanlon v. A.P. Clark, Inc., 487 So. 2d 427 (Fla. 5th DCA 1986); Al Booth's v. Bord-Scarp Ent. Inc., 518 So. 2d 422 (Fla. 5th DCA 1988); King v. Brickellbanc Savings Ass'n, 551 So. 2d 604 (Fla. 5th DCA 1989); Adee v. Great Se. Carpet Gallery, Inc., 562 So. 2d 409 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990); Saporito v. Madras, 576 So. 2d 1342 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991); Hanna v. The City of Palm Bay, 579 So. 2d 320 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991); Bellucci v. Moore, 585 So. 2d 490 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991); Kasweck v. Fla. Inst. of Tech., 590 So. 2d 1100 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991); Rabun v. Ashoka Enters., Inc., 604 So. 2d 1284 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992); Talbert v. Moxley Constr., Inc., 626 So. 2d 1086 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993); Spencer Pest Control Co. of Fla., Inc. v. Smith, 637 So. 2d 292 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994); Harding v. Ghaeenzadeh, 639 So. 2d 1018 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995); Randall v. Guenther, 650 So. 2d 1070 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995); Noonan-Judson v. Surrency, 669 So. 2d 1058 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996); Prince v. Underhill, 670 So. 2d 92 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996); Capron Trail Comm. v. Frenz Enters., 674 So. 2d 875 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996); Current Control, Inc. v. Bankers Ins. Co., 679 So. 2d 78 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996); Ringdahl v. Am. Bank of the South, 680 So. 2d 627 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996); Whitehead v. Dreyer, 698 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996); Hamm v. Eckler, 712 So. 2d 770 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998); Respiratory Care Servs., Inc. v. Murray D. Shear, P.A., 715 So. 2d 1054 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998); Chandra v. Gadodia, 731 So. 2d 157 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999); Hill v.Brady, 737 So. 2d 1243 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999); Villa Riviera Club v. Dilesh Enter., 743 So. 2d 1115 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999); Liff v. City of Cocoa, 745 So. 2d 441 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999); Iverson v. Call One, Inc., 745 So. 2d 589 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999); Dept. v. Transp. v. Duplissey, 751 So. 2d 117 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000); Fernez v. Calabrese, 760 So. 2d 1144 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000); Doug Connor, Inc. v. Protogrind, 761 So. 2d 426 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000); Trinity Industries, Inc. v. McKinnon Bridge Co., Inc., 77 S.W. 3d 159 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2001).

4 Hanna v. City of Palm Bay, 579 So. 2d 320 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991).

5 Saporito v. Madras, 576 So. 2d 1342 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991).

6 S & T Builders v. Globe Props., Inc., 944 So. 2d 302 (Fla. 2006).

7 St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist. v. Koontz, 5 So. 3d 8 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009), opinion quashed, 77 So. 3d 1220 (Fla. 2011), rev'd, 133 S. Ct. 2586 (2013).

8 Rockmore v. State, 114 So. 3d 958 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012); State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Curran, 83 So. 3d 793 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011); Anderson v. State, 48 So. 3d 1015 (Fla. 5th DCA 2010); Bifulco v. Patient Bus. & Fin. Servs., 997 So. 2d 1257 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009); State v. Hobbs, 974 So. 2d 1119 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008); Russell v. State, 920 So. 2d 683 (Fla. 5th DCA 2006); State v. Pierre, 854 So. 2d 231 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003); Golphin v. State, 838 So. 2d 705 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003).

9 Burch v. Sun State Ford, Inc., 864 So. 2d 466 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004).

10 Palumbo v. State, 52 So. 2d 834 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011).

11 Davis v. State, 868 So. 2d 647 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004).

12 Bowen v. Taylor-Christensen, 98 So. 3d 136 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012) (en banc); State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Curran, 83 So. 3d 793 (Fla. 5th DCA 2011) (en banc); LaValley v. State, 30 So. 3d 513 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009) (en banc); Tanzler v. State, 6 So. 3d 711 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009) (en banc); Weeks v. Fla. Birth-Related Neurological, 977 So. 2d 616 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008) (en banc); Gen. Dynamics Corp. v. Paulucci, 914 So. 2d 507 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005) (en banc).

13 Orlando/Orange Co. Expressway v. Tuscan Ridge, 39 Fla. Law Weekly D71 (Fla. 5th DCA April 4, 2014); Ingram v. State, 39 Fla. L. Weekly D412 (Fla. 5th DCA Feb. 21, 2014); Special Olympics Fla., Inc. v. Showalter, 6 So. 3d 662 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009); Brown v. State, 24 So. 3d 671 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009); Applegate v. Cable Water Ski, L.C., 974 So. 2d 1112 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008); Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle v. Pelham, 979 So. 2d 304 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008); Timko v. Triarsi, 898 So. 2d 89 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005); City of Orlando v. MSD-Mattie, L.L.C., 895 So. 2d 1127 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005); Nichols v. State Farm Mut., 851 So. 2d 742 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003); Brown v. State, 24 So. 3d 671 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009).

14 Applegate v. Cable Water Ski, L.C., 974 So. 2d 1112 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008); Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle v. Pelham, 979 So. 2d 304 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008); Nichols v. State Farm Mut., 851 So. 2d 742 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003).

15 Davis v. U.S., 131 S. Ct. 2419 (2011).

16 See USAA Cas, Ins. Co. v. Shelton, 932 So. 2d 605, 608 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006); Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, P.A. v. Geico General Ins. Co., 103 So. 3d 200, 204 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012); State Farm Mutual Automobile Ins. Co. v. Pace, 128 So. 3d 182, 185 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013).