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 three 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 14 years of appellate experience, Mr. Donovan has handled over 150 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. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  2. U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  3. U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  4. U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  5. U.S. Supreme Court
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)
  • Selected as a "Florida Rising Star" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2010-2011, 2014-2017)
  • Selected as a "Legal Elite" in Appellate Practice by Florida Trend magazine (2018)
  • Selected as a “Legal Elite Up & Comer” by Florida Trend magazine (2016)

Affiliations

Professional Affiliations
  • American Inns of Court Member, Michael R.N. McDonnell Inn
    • President (Currently)
    • President Elect (2017-18)
    • Former Secretary (2016-17)
    • Former Program Director (2015-17)
  • Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section
    • Vice Chair (2018-Present)
    • 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
    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
    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)
    Holiday Gifts from the High Court (Feb 1, 2015)
    Appellate Attorneys' Fees: A Trap for the Unwary in Florida - Business Litigation Committee Newsletter (Winter 2014)
  3. Presentations
    “The Metes & Bounds of Land-Use Appeals” - Sarasota County Bar Association’s Appellate & Property Law Sections (October 2018)
    “An Introduction to Land Use Approvals & Appeals” - Kimley-Horn, Fort Myers, Florida (August 2018)
    “The City Attorney’s Guide to Land-Use Appeals” - Florida Municipal Attorney’s Association (July 2018)
    "Bettering the Odds in Land Use Appeals" - LCBA Land Use and Government Section (May 2018)
    "Avoiding Sunburn in Florida's Sunshine" - City of Naples City Council (April 2018)
  4. Firm News
    Roetzel Attorney Chris Donovan Recertified in Appellate Practice by Florida Bar (Jan 9, 2019)
    Roetzel Announces Attorneys Named Among 2018 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars (Jun 22, 2018)
    Donovan and Schwinghamer Sworn in as Directors of the Collier County Bar Association (Jun 15, 2018)
    Petitions for Cert and Establishing the Record Below (May 22, 2018)
    Seven Roetzel Attorneys Named Among 2017 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars (Jun 8, 2017)

Overview

Mr. Donovan is one of only three 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 14 years of appellate experience, Mr. Donovan has handled over 150 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. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  2. U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  3. U.S. Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit
  4. U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida
  5. U.S. Supreme Court
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)
  • Selected as a "Florida Rising Star" by Florida Super Lawyers magazine (2010-2011, 2014-2017)
  • Selected as a "Legal Elite" in Appellate Practice by Florida Trend magazine (2018)
  • Selected as a “Legal Elite Up & Comer” by Florida Trend magazine (2016)

Affiliations

Professional Affiliations
  • American Inns of Court Member, Michael R.N. McDonnell Inn
    • President (Currently)
    • President Elect (2017-18)
    • Former Secretary (2016-17)
    • Former Program Director (2015-17)
  • Florida Bar Appellate Practice Section
    • Vice Chair (2018-Present)
    • 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
    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
    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)
    Holiday Gifts from the High Court (Feb 1, 2015)
    Appellate Attorneys' Fees: A Trap for the Unwary in Florida - Business Litigation Committee Newsletter (Winter 2014)
  3. Presentations
    “The Metes & Bounds of Land-Use Appeals” - Sarasota County Bar Association’s Appellate & Property Law Sections (October 2018)
    “An Introduction to Land Use Approvals & Appeals” - Kimley-Horn, Fort Myers, Florida (August 2018)
    “The City Attorney’s Guide to Land-Use Appeals” - Florida Municipal Attorney’s Association (July 2018)
    "Bettering the Odds in Land Use Appeals" - LCBA Land Use and Government Section (May 2018)
    "Avoiding Sunburn in Florida's Sunshine" - City of Naples City Council (April 2018)
  4. Firm News
    Roetzel Attorney Chris Donovan Recertified in Appellate Practice by Florida Bar (Jan 9, 2019)
    Roetzel Announces Attorneys Named Among 2018 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars (Jun 22, 2018)
    Donovan and Schwinghamer Sworn in as Directors of the Collier County Bar Association (Jun 15, 2018)
    Petitions for Cert and Establishing the Record Below (May 22, 2018)
    Seven Roetzel Attorneys Named Among 2017 Florida Super Lawyers and Rising Stars (Jun 8, 2017)