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Ruel Smith devotes his practice to civil, commercial, and complex litigation before state and Federal courts and administrative agencies throughout Florida.

A substantial portion of Mr. Smith's practice involves representing life, health, and disability insurers, financial services companies, and licensed professionals in the United States District Courts for the Middle, Southern and Northern Districts of Florida. He has significant experience defending life, health, and disability insurers, managed healthcare organizations, and national retail corporations against Federal claims and cases removed from state court.  He also frequently protects the interests of creditors and defends the targets of adversary proceedings in individual and corporate bankruptcy cases.

Mr. Smith is well versed in several bodies of law affecting these industries, including the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act ("MMA") and relevant amendments, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") and related consumer protection statutes and regulations.

Mr. Smith also defends civil tort lawsuits brought against a variety of insured and self-insured clients, including hospitality providers, retailers, private security contractors, operators of commercial vehicle fleets, pharmacists, attorneys and other licensed professionals, and defends construction defect claims against general and trade contractors in state and Federal court. Additionally, Mr. Smith has experience representing regulated professionals before various administrative agencies and has litigated cases pending in the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings ("DOAH").

Professional Background

Mr. Smith joined Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in May 2010. Previously he practiced commercial litigation, bankruptcy and healthcare law with Broad and Cassel. During this period, he provided outside general counsel services to multiple regional health maintenance organizations and gained remarkable insight into the regulatory, operational, and business needs of health plans and other benefit administration organizations.

While at Stetson University College of Law, Mr. Smith represented the school nationally as part of the highly regarded Stetson Trial Team. He also interned with the U.S. Attorneys' Office for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, directly assisting a team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys in nationally publicized conspiracy trial.

Before turning to the law, Mr. Smith served as a U.S. Army Air Defense Artillery officer, holding multiple operational and leadership positions in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized). As a Captain, he commanded a mechanized air defense battery in the initial coalition assault into Iraq in 2003 and the subsequent peacekeeping mission, and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal (with Valor Device) for his actions in combat.

Professional Affiliations

  • Florida Defense Lawyers’ Association, Member (2010–Present)

Personal

Mr. Smith is a devoted husband and father, proud veteran, and passionate music fan.

Community/Civic Activities

  • Stetson University College of Law Veterans' Pro Bono Initiative Attorney

  • Co-Chair, Education Subcommittee, Hillsborough County Bar Association Military and Veterans' Affairs Committee

  • Volunteer Mentor, Veterans' Treatment Court, 13th Judicial Circuit Court in and for Hillsborough County, Florida

Education

J.D., cum laude, Stetson University College of Law, 2006

  • National Order of Barristers

B.A., English, Florida State University, 1997

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