Judge Vincent G. Torpy , Jr
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 Examination1and 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. Judge Torpy was certified by the Florida Supreme Court to handle death penalty cases. 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, where he served as Chief Judge from July 1, 2013, until June 30, 2015. He has been twice retained as a judge of the Fifth District Court 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.
As an appellate judge, Judge Torpy has written over 700 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 thirteen 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 In one case, no further review was sought by the parties.12 One case remains pending in the high court.13
Judge Torpy authored six en banc opinions for the Fifth District Court that receded from prior panel opinions.14 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 three opinions involving issues of first impression that were later approved by the Florida Supreme Court.15 The holding in another case, Brown v. State, was later confirmed in a decision of the United States Supreme Court.16 Judge Torpy also authored two concurring opinions later adopted by other district courts17 , and one concurring opinion later adopted in a Fifth District Court decision.18 In recent years, the Florida Supreme Court addressed two decisions authored by Judge Torpy. In one decision, the high court validated a dissenting opinion authored by Judge Torpy in its decision reversing the en banc decision of the Fifth District Court of Appeal19 In another case, the high court approved a decision authored by Judge Torpy, and, in doing so, receded from a prior precedent of that court.20
In 2014, Judge Torpy was awarded the distinction of “Jurist Of The Year” by The American Board of Trial Advocates, Central Florida Chapter.
Judge Torpy has been married to his wife, Julie, for forty-two years. They have three children—a businessman, a lawyer/ officer in the United States Air Force and a fighter pilot/officer in the United Startes Air Force. Judge Torpy's hobbies include motorcycle riding, snow 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 Doug Connor, Inc. v. Proto-Grind, Inc.,761 So. 2d 426 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000);Fernez v. Calabrese,760 So. 2d 1144 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000);Dep’t v. Transp. v. Duplissey, 751 So. 2d 117 (Fla. 5th DCA 2000);Iverson v. Call One, Inc., 745 So. 2d 589 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999);Liff v. City of Cocoa, 745 So. 2d 441 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999);Villa Riviera Club v. Dilesh Enters., 743 So. 2d 1115 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999); Hill v. Brady,737 So. 2d 1243 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999);Chandra v. Gododia, 731 So. 2d 156 (Fla. 5th DCA 1999); Respiratory Care Servs., Inc. v. Murray D. Shear, P.A.,715 So. 2d 1054 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998); Hamm v. Eckler, 712 So. 2d 770 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998); Whitehead v. Dreyer, 698 So. 2d 1278 (Fla. 5th DCA 1997);Ringdahl v. Am. Bank of the South, 680 So. 2d 627 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996);Current Control, Inc. v. Bankers Ins. Co., 679 So. 2d 78 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996);Capron Trail Cmty. Dev. Dist. v. Frenz Enters.,674 So. 2d 875 (Fla. 4th DCA 1996);Prince v. Underhill,670 So. 2d 92 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996);Noonan-Judson v. Surrency,669 So. 2d 1058 (Fla. 5th DCA 1996);Randall v. Guenther,650 So. 2d 1070 (Fla. 5th DCA 1995);Harding v. Ghaeenzadeh,639 So. 2d 1018 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994); Spencer Pest Control Co. of Fla., Inc. v. Smith,637 So. 2d 292 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994);Talbert v. Moxley Constr., Inc., 626 So. 2d 1086 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993); Rabun & Partners, Inc. v. Ashoka Enters., 604 So. 2d 1284 (Fla. 5th DCA 1992); Kasweck v. Fla. Inst. of Tech.,590 So. 2d 1100 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991);Bellucci v. Moore,585 So. 2d 490 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991);Hanna v. City of Palm Bay, 579 So. 2d 320 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991);Saporito v. Madras, 576 So. 2d 1342 (Fla. 5th DCA 1991); Adee v. Great Se. Carpet Gallery, Inc.,562 So. 2d 409 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990);King v. Brickellbanc Sav. Ass'n,551 So. 2d 604 (Fla. 5th DCA 1989); Al Booth's, Inc. v. Bord-Scarp Enters., 518 So. 2d 422 (Fla. 5th DCA 1988);Hanlon v. A.P. Clark Motors, Inc.,487 So. 2d 427 (Fla. 5th DCA 1986);Trinity Indus. v. McKinnon Bridge Co., 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), review granted, 876 So. 2d 561 (Fla.), and review dismissed, 889 So. 2d 778 (Fla. 2004).
10 Palumbo v. State, 52 So. 3d 834 (Fla. 5th DCA), review denied, 68 So. 3d 235 (Fla. 2011).
11 Davis v. State, 868 So. 2d 647 (Fla. 5th DCA 2004).
13 Goersch v. City of Satellite Beach, 2018 WL 3479249 (Fla. 5th DCA 2018).
14 Bowen v. Taylor-Christensen,98 So. 3d 136 (Fla. 5th DCA 2012) (en banc), approved, 140 So. 3d 498 (Fla. 2014); 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).
15 Dep’t of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Pelham, 979 So. 2d 304 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008), reasoning approved by Fla. Dep’t of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles v. Hernandez, 74 So. 3d 1070 (Fla. 2011); Applegate v. Cable Water Ski, L.C., 974 So. 2d 1112 (Fla. 5th DCA 2008), conclusion approved by Kirton v. Fields, 997 So. 2d 349 (Fla. 2008); Nichols v. State Farm Mut., 851 So. 2d 742 (Fla. 5th DCA 2003), approved, 932 So. 2d 1067 (Fla. 2006).
16 Davis v. United States, 564 U.S. 229 (2011).
17 See Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, P.A. v. Geico General Ins. Co.,103 So. 3d 200, 204 (Fla. 4th DCA 2012); USAA Cas. Ins. Co. v. Shelton,932 So. 2d 605, 608 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006).
18 See State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Pace,128 So. 3d 182, 185 (Fla. 5th DCA 2013).
19 Browning v. Poirier, 165 So. 3d 663 (Fla. 2015).
20 Johnson v. State, 218 WL 4327878 (Fla. 2018).