Areas Of Practice
- Workers' Compensation
- Longshore & Maritime
- Trucking & Transportation
- Alternative Dispute Resolution
- General Civil Litigation & Insurance Defense
- Mass Torts
- Insurance Coverage & Bad Faith
Mr. Eckels devotes his practice to the defense of employers and insurance carriers in workers’ compensation and Longshore claims. He practices throughout Florida and Georgia in the workers’ compensation context, while his longshore and Defense Base Act practice extends nationwide.
He handles all facets of workers’ compensation and longshore claims from the initial reporting of an accident and its investigation, through the discovery process to trial, and any appellate proceedings thereafter. He is routinely called upon by insurance companies to provide coverage opinions in complex coverage disputes or to evaluate jurisdictional issues that often arise between competing state and federal jurisdictions.
Mr. Eckels is Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation by The Florida Bar, a designation he achieved in 2000. He has served on The Florida Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Board Certification Committee (2007-2013), including a term as chair and is presently serving a 3-year term. He also served on The Florida Bar’s Workers’ Compensation Rules Advisory Committee (2002-2012), and served as chair (2011-2012).
Employers, manufacturers, insurance carriers, shippers, logistic companies, maritime employers, stevedoring companies and defense contractors are clients of Mr. Eckels. He represents companies engaged in all facets of the shipping industry, from ship to shore and overland transportation. In this regard, he serves as designated statewide or national counsel for several logistic companies, insurance carriers, longshore employers and Defense Base Act contractors.
His ability to practice law in Georgia, along with his longshore claims experience, allows him to sort out issues that arise from the concurrent jurisdiction that exists in Georgia. His maritime practice also includes the defense of Jones Act claims, general maritime negligence claims, and 905(b) claims.
Mr. Eckels lectures extensively on a wide range of workers’ compensation and longshore/Defense Base Act topics. He has presented at nationally recognized seminars including the Loyola Longshore Conference in New Orleans, the Signal Maritime Conference, and the Florida Workers’ Compensation Educational Conference in Orlando. In addition, he provides in-house training for clients on topics including claims handling, jurisdictional disputes, ethics, and the interplay between the ADA, FMLA, and state workers’ compensation laws.
In his spare time, he is an avid runner, having completed over 75 marathons, including marathons in all 50 states, as well as marathons in Budapest, Paris, Dublin, Zurich, Athens, Antarctica and Beirut. He has completed 3 Ironman competitions (Florida, Germany and Brazil), and several half-Ironman events. He is an Eagle Scout and currently serves as Scoutmaster for Troop 906 chartered by St. John’s Cathedral. He served on the Board of the St. Mark’s Foundation for St. Mark’s Lutheran Church from 2009-2011 and served on the Board of Directors for St. Mark’s Ark, the church’s day care from 2011-2020. He has been a member of the Baptist Hospital Institutional Review Committee since 2003.
- Florida, 1993
- Georgia, 2006
- United States District Court, Middle District of Florida, 1993
- United States District Court, Northern District of Florida, 2013
- United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, 1993
- United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 1999
- United States Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 2005
Awards & Recognition
- Board Certified in Workers’ Compensation by The Florida Bar, 2000-present
- AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Listed in Florida’s “Legal Elite” by Florida Trend Magazine, 2006, 2010, and 2011
- Listed in Florida Super Lawyers for Transportation and Maritime, 2014-2018
- Listed in “Top Lawyers” by Jacksonville Magazine, 2010-2016
- Listed in Best Lawyers in America® for Workers’ Compensation, 2013-2021
- American Bar Association (1993-2012)
- The Florida Bar
- Board Certified in Worker’s Compensation Law (2000-present)
- Workers’ Compensation Board Certification Committee (2007-2013)
- Chair, 2012-2013; 2018-current
- Workers’ Compensation Rules Advisory Committee (2002-2012)
- Chair, (2011-2012)
- The Georgia Bar
- The Jacksonville Bar Association, Co-Chair, Workers’ Compensation Section (2008-2009)
- The Defense Research Institute
- Longshore Claims Association
- Friends of 440 Scholarship Fund, Inc., Northeast Florida, Co-Chair (2007-2008)
- Barrister, E. Robert Williams Inn of Court (2007-2011)
- Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute
- Legal Assistant
- Phone: 904.353.6241
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- Phone: 904.353.6241
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Many cases overlap several areas of law. As a full service law firm, we are able to recognize how one legal discipline impacts another. We work as a team on complex issues that require knowledge of a variety of state and federal laws. This multi-disciplinary approach allows clients to receive the large-firm advantage of access to multiple attorneys in a wide scope of practice areas as well as the hands-on customer service offered by a boutique law firm. In addition to civil litigation, employment law, workers’ compensation defense, commercial law, construction law and appeals, our firm also handles professional liability claims.
Our bilingual staff is available to assist with immigration matters, including consular and removal defenses.