Christopher D. Donovan

Shareholder
Naples
850 Park Shore Drive
Trianon Centre, 3rd Floor
Naples, FL 34103
P 239.213.3865
F 239.261.3659
P 239.213.3865 | F 239.261.3659

Overview

Mr. Donovan is one of only two attorneys in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte County to have the honor of being Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization. His practice focuses exclusively on appellate and original-jurisdiction proceedings in both state and federal court.

With over 15 years of appellate experience, Mr. Donovan has handled over 200 different appellate matters involving a broad range of legal areas, including commercial, real estate, admiralty, employment, probate, family, constitutional, and administrative law. He also represents a wide range of industries, including local governments, businesses, developers, banks, and community associations.

Before joining Roetzel, Mr. Donovan served as a staff attorney for the Second District Court of Appeals, and he interned for the Florida Supreme Court. At Roetzel, he has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Florida District Courts of Appeal.

Experience
  • Represented nonprofit organization as amicus curiae in high-profile appeal concerning the Sunshine Law
  • Defended HOA's judgment for unpaid assessments on bankruptcy appeal
  • Successfully reversed $8 million deficiency judgment against guarantors based on a conflicts-of-law issue
  • Successfully defended municipality on first- and second-tier certiorari review following an untimely FLUEDRA proceeding
  • Successfully defended a business’ injunction prohibiting a former employee from violating a non-compete and stealing trade secrets
  • Reversed a judgment that improperly relieved guarantors of repaying over $600,000 in outstanding debt
  • Prevailed on appeal against a hospital that had negligently administered a recalled drug during surgery by arguing that the case arose under product-liability theories instead of medical malpractice
  • Reversed sizable judgment against a commercial condominium association that a unit owner should not have received because the claim was barred by the statute of limitations
  • Reversed the denial of a $1.6 million deficiency judgment owed to a bank despite the absence of a trial transcript
  • Protected a school board's ability to keep educational records confidential under Florida’s Sunshine Laws
  • Overturned the denial of a developer's building permit
  • Reversed an order preventing a creditor from discovering a judgment debtors' assets
  • Overturned a discovery order compelling production of privileged documents
  • Successfully defended on appeal a federal judgment exonerating a city accused of civil-rights violations under § 1983 multiple times
  • Prevailed in a probate appeal involving issues of standing and undue influence
Services

Education

  1. Stetson University College of Law, J.D.
    • cum laude
    • Stetson Law Review, Editor
  2. Stetson University, B.A.

Credentials

Bar Admissions
  1. Florida
Court Admissions
  1. U.S. Supreme Court
  2. U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  3. U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  4. U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  5. U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  6. U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  7. U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
Certifications
  • Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization
Clerkships
  1. Staff Attorney, Florida Second District Court of Appeal

Recognitions

  • Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Selected as a "Florida Super Lawyer" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2018-2020)
  • Selected as Naples Illustrated "Top Lawyer"  - Appellate Practice (2019, 2020)
  • Selected as a "Legal Elite" in Appellate Practice by Florida Trendmagazine (2018-2019)
  • Selected as a "Florida Rising Star" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2010-2011, 2014-2017)
  • Selected as a “Legal Elite Up & Comer” by Florida Trendmagazine (2016)

Affiliations

Professional Affiliations
  • American Inns of Court Member, Michael R.N. McDonnell Inn
    • Past President (Currently)
    • President (2018-2019)
    • President Elect (2017-18)
    • Former Secretary (2016-17)
    • Former Program Director (2015-17)
  • Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section
    • Chair Elect (2019-Present)
    • Vice Chair/Treasurer (2018-2019)
    • Executive Council Member (2014-Present)
    • Chair of the CLE Committee (2016-2018)
    • Co-Chair of the Telephonic CLE Committee (2014-16)
  • Collier County Bar Association
    • Board of Directors (2018-2020)
    • Trial Law Section, Board Member (2016-Present)
    • Young Lawyer's Section, Former President
    • Second District Court of Appeals Liaison (2009-Present)
  • Lee County Bar Association, Member
  • ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, Member
Community Affiliations
  • Judge at Moot Court Competitions
  • Judge at Mock Trial Competitions
  • Fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club (2010-2011)
  • Member of Turning Point Church
  • High School Moot Court Coach

Insights

  1. Alerts
    Coronavirus Business Interruption (Mar 13, 2020)
    Roetzel & Andress: 2019 Appellate Year in Review (Jan 27, 2020)
    Roetzel & Andress: 2018 Appellate Year in Review (Apr 25, 2019)
    New Filing Procedures in the Second District Court of Appeal (Feb 24, 2017)
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Hard Lessons from the Federal Eleventh Circuit (Dec 8, 2016)
  2. Articles
    Come on Judge, you should just know the law! - Res Gestae, Lee County Bar Magazine (December 2019)
    Come on Judge, you should just know the law! - Adverse Witness, Collier County Bar Magazine (November 2019)
    The City Attorney's Guide to Land-Use Appeals - FMAA Annual Convention 2018 Notebook (July 2018)
    Five common canons of interpretations - Adverse Witness, Collier County Bar Magazine (April 2018)
    Two's a Company in the Florida Sunshine - FMAA Annual Convention 2017 Notebook (July 2017)
  3. Presentations
    “Everything You Need to Know About Land-Use Appeals” - Speaker - Appellate Practice Section of the Florida Bar, Webcast (April 2020)
    “Appellate Workflows” - Co-Speaker - Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office (February 2020)
    “Preservation of Error: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Hard Lessons” - Co-Speaker - Southwest Florida Federal Bar Association, Ft. Myers, FL (December 2019)
    "The War of the Roses: Appealing Family Law Decisions" - Speaker - CCBA Family Law Section's Family Law Forum, Naples, FL (November 2019)
    "Avoiding Sunburn in Florida's Sunshine" - Speaker - Councils for Villages of Estero & the City of Bonita Springs, Estero, FL (November 2019)
  4. Podcasts
    Issues on Appeal Podcast: "Appellate Workflows Part 2" - Guest Speaker (September 2019)
    Issues on Appeal Podcast: “Appellate Workflows Part 1” - Guest Speaker (August 2019)
  5. Firm News
    Seven Roetzel Attorneys Named Among Naples Illustrated 2020 Top Lawyers (Sep 1, 2020)
    Donovan Elected Chair of Appellate Practice Section of The Florida Bar (Jun 19, 2020)
    Eleven Roetzel Attorneys Named 2020 Florida Super Lawyers or Rising Stars (Jun 4, 2020)
    Donovan and Schwinghamer Elected to Second Term on CCBA Board of Directors (May 11, 2020)
    Eleven Roetzel Attorneys Named Among Naples Illustrated 2019 Top Lawyers (Sep 25, 2019)

Overview

Mr. Donovan is one of only two attorneys in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte County to have the honor of being Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization. His practice focuses exclusively on appellate and original-jurisdiction proceedings in both state and federal court.

With over 15 years of appellate experience, Mr. Donovan has handled over 200 different appellate matters involving a broad range of legal areas, including commercial, real estate, admiralty, employment, probate, family, constitutional, and administrative law. He also represents a wide range of industries, including local governments, businesses, developers, banks, and community associations.

Before joining Roetzel, Mr. Donovan served as a staff attorney for the Second District Court of Appeals, and he interned for the Florida Supreme Court. At Roetzel, he has argued before the Supreme Court of the United States, the federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court, and the Florida District Courts of Appeal.

Experience
  • Represented nonprofit organization as amicus curiae in high-profile appeal concerning the Sunshine Law
  • Defended HOA's judgment for unpaid assessments on bankruptcy appeal
  • Successfully reversed $8 million deficiency judgment against guarantors based on a conflicts-of-law issue
  • Successfully defended municipality on first- and second-tier certiorari review following an untimely FLUEDRA proceeding
  • Successfully defended a business’ injunction prohibiting a former employee from violating a non-compete and stealing trade secrets
  • Reversed a judgment that improperly relieved guarantors of repaying over $600,000 in outstanding debt
  • Prevailed on appeal against a hospital that had negligently administered a recalled drug during surgery by arguing that the case arose under product-liability theories instead of medical malpractice
  • Reversed sizable judgment against a commercial condominium association that a unit owner should not have received because the claim was barred by the statute of limitations
  • Reversed the denial of a $1.6 million deficiency judgment owed to a bank despite the absence of a trial transcript
  • Protected a school board's ability to keep educational records confidential under Florida’s Sunshine Laws
  • Overturned the denial of a developer's building permit
  • Reversed an order preventing a creditor from discovering a judgment debtors' assets
  • Overturned a discovery order compelling production of privileged documents
  • Successfully defended on appeal a federal judgment exonerating a city accused of civil-rights violations under § 1983 multiple times
  • Prevailed in a probate appeal involving issues of standing and undue influence

Education

  1. Stetson University College of Law, J.D.
    • cum laude
    • Stetson Law Review, Editor
  2. Stetson University, B.A.

Credentials

Bar Admissions
  1. Florida
Court Admissions
  1. U.S. Supreme Court
  2. U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  3. U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  4. U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  5. U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  6. U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  7. U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
Certifications
  • Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization
Clerkships
  1. Staff Attorney, Florida Second District Court of Appeal

Recognitions

  • Board Certified in Appellate Practice by the Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization
  • AV® Preeminent™ rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory
  • Selected as a "Florida Super Lawyer" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2018-2020)
  • Selected as Naples Illustrated "Top Lawyer"  - Appellate Practice (2019, 2020)
  • Selected as a "Legal Elite" in Appellate Practice by Florida Trendmagazine (2018-2019)
  • Selected as a "Florida Rising Star" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2010-2011, 2014-2017)
  • Selected as a “Legal Elite Up & Comer” by Florida Trendmagazine (2016)

Affiliations

Professional Affiliations
  • American Inns of Court Member, Michael R.N. McDonnell Inn
    • Past President (Currently)
    • President (2018-2019)
    • President Elect (2017-18)
    • Former Secretary (2016-17)
    • Former Program Director (2015-17)
  • Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section
    • Chair Elect (2019-Present)
    • Vice Chair/Treasurer (2018-2019)
    • Executive Council Member (2014-Present)
    • Chair of the CLE Committee (2016-2018)
    • Co-Chair of the Telephonic CLE Committee (2014-16)
  • Collier County Bar Association
    • Board of Directors (2018-2020)
    • Trial Law Section, Board Member (2016-Present)
    • Young Lawyer's Section, Former President
    • Second District Court of Appeals Liaison (2009-Present)
  • Lee County Bar Association, Member
  • ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers, Member
Community Affiliations
  • Judge at Moot Court Competitions
  • Judge at Mock Trial Competitions
  • Fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club (2010-2011)
  • Member of Turning Point Church
  • High School Moot Court Coach

Insights

  1. Alerts
    Coronavirus Business Interruption (Mar 13, 2020)
    Roetzel & Andress: 2019 Appellate Year in Review (Jan 27, 2020)
    Roetzel & Andress: 2018 Appellate Year in Review (Apr 25, 2019)
    New Filing Procedures in the Second District Court of Appeal (Feb 24, 2017)
    How the Grinch Stole Christmas? Hard Lessons from the Federal Eleventh Circuit (Dec 8, 2016)
  2. Articles
    Come on Judge, you should just know the law! - Res Gestae, Lee County Bar Magazine (December 2019)
    Come on Judge, you should just know the law! - Adverse Witness, Collier County Bar Magazine (November 2019)
    The City Attorney's Guide to Land-Use Appeals - FMAA Annual Convention 2018 Notebook (July 2018)
    Five common canons of interpretations - Adverse Witness, Collier County Bar Magazine (April 2018)
    Two's a Company in the Florida Sunshine - FMAA Annual Convention 2017 Notebook (July 2017)
  3. Presentations
    “Everything You Need to Know About Land-Use Appeals” - Speaker - Appellate Practice Section of the Florida Bar, Webcast (April 2020)
    “Appellate Workflows” - Co-Speaker - Florida Statewide Guardian ad Litem Office (February 2020)
    “Preservation of Error: A Practical Guide to Avoiding Hard Lessons” - Co-Speaker - Southwest Florida Federal Bar Association, Ft. Myers, FL (December 2019)
    "The War of the Roses: Appealing Family Law Decisions" - Speaker - CCBA Family Law Section's Family Law Forum, Naples, FL (November 2019)
    "Avoiding Sunburn in Florida's Sunshine" - Speaker - Councils for Villages of Estero & the City of Bonita Springs, Estero, FL (November 2019)
  4. Podcasts
    Issues on Appeal Podcast: "Appellate Workflows Part 2" - Guest Speaker (September 2019)
    Issues on Appeal Podcast: “Appellate Workflows Part 1” - Guest Speaker (August 2019)
  5. Firm News
    Seven Roetzel Attorneys Named Among Naples Illustrated 2020 Top Lawyers (Sep 1, 2020)
    Donovan Elected Chair of Appellate Practice Section of The Florida Bar (Jun 19, 2020)
    Eleven Roetzel Attorneys Named 2020 Florida Super Lawyers or Rising Stars (Jun 4, 2020)
    Donovan and Schwinghamer Elected to Second Term on CCBA Board of Directors (May 11, 2020)
    Eleven Roetzel Attorneys Named Among Naples Illustrated 2019 Top Lawyers (Sep 25, 2019)