Suzanne A. Singer
Suzanne Singer focuses her practice primarily in the areas of employment and labor law and casualty litigation.
Suzanne defends private and public sector employers in all aspects of employment law including consultation, litigation in state and federal courts, as well as administrative proceedings before the EEOC, State Retirement Commission and other administrative agencies. She litigates claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act including those alleging discrimination based on race, religion, gender, national origin and pregnancy. She also represents employers in wage and hour violations (FLSA), wrongful termination and retaliation as well as cases brought under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA), Family Medical Leave Act, and the Florida Civil Rights Act, Chapter 760. Suzanne also has experience representing clients in public sector whistle-blower claims, public records, worker’s compensation retaliation claims as well as state and federal constitutional claims brought under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981, 1983 and 1985. Defense of ADA accessibility claims is also included in her practice.
She has substantial experience in defending governmental and educational institutions against employment, casualty and commercial related claims. In February 2013, Suzanne was asked to serve as interim general counsel for Palm Beach State College. Suzanne continued her tenure as general counsel until permanent counsel was hired in November 2013.
Suzanne’s casualty practice includes general tort claims involving negligent security, sexual assault, premise liability and wrongful death. She has successfully represented property owners and other business, including trial, throughout the majority of her career. She also represents vertical transportation companies with general litigation liability.
Obtained a defense verdict for Miami Dade College in a federal lawsuit where Plaintiff alleged unlawful deprivation of her civil rights under both the American with Disabilities Acts and the Florida Civil Rights Act.
After a seven day trial, Suzanne Singer and David Acosta from Rumberger’s Miami office obtained a defense verdict for Palm Beach State College. The Plaintiff claimed he was discriminated against because of his race (White) and was subjected to a hostile work environment. Plaintiff further claimed he was subject to retaliation. After deliberating for approximately an hour, the jury returned a defense verdict on all three counts in favor of Palm Beach State College.
The plaintiff, a 15 year old girl, allegedly suffered traumatic brain injuries when she fell during a sumo wrestling game at school. The event sponsor, Mega Party, sought discovery of the plaintiff’s cell phone to refute the assertion that she could not function normally. The trial court agreed that discovery of the cellular device itself was relevant and ordered its production, subject to a circumscribed protocol. Plaintiff refused and sought a writ of certiorari from the Third District Court of Appeal. Plaintiff argued that while certain data stored on the cell phone might be relevant (like photographs), the entire device was not, and the production invaded the plaintiffs’ privacy.
Mega party argued, among other things, that production of the entire device was powerfully relevant to its defenses, particularly given the allegations of traumatic brain injury. Mega Party argued that, particularly in today’s society, adolescent activities can revolve extensively, if not exclusively, around cellular devices. The playing of games, taking of photos, phone calls, social media and a myriad of other programs and apps are all instantly and constantly available. The use of the device as a whole would be essential to the defense, particularly given plaintiff’s active usage.
The Third District Court of Appeal ultimately agreed with Mega Party, and denied Plaintiff’s certiorari petition.
RumbergerKirk attorney Suzanne Singer represented Miami Dade College in a gender discrimination case. Plaintiff alleged the College fired her because of her gender and another female from the positions of Recruitment and Retention Specialist. Plaintiff further alleged that once the College realized its actions left it “vulnerable,” it eliminated all four Recruitment and Retention positions, occupied by two men and two women, and created two new positions of Instruction/Retention and Transition Specialist. Plaintiff applied for the newly created position but the College refused to hire her because of her gender and hired two men who were less qualified.
Ms. Singer argued that the Plaintiff failed to establish a prima facie case of gender discrimination. Federal Judge James Lawrence King agreed, finding the Plaintiff did not establish a prima facie case of sex plus discrimination because she failed to present similar comparators i.e. subclass of opposite gender (male) who have childcare responsibilities.
RumbergerKirk attorney Suzanne Singer represented Geoff Gathercole, College Wide Director for Continuing Education and Professional Development, and Dr. Eduardo Padron, Miami Dade College President in a First Amendment retaliation claim. The Plaintiff, who was Program Manager for the College’s North Campus Adult Education Program, alleged that when she exercised her right to free speech and complained about the improper use of federal grant money she was fired.
Ms. Singer filed a motion for final summary judgment arguing that the Plaintiff’s purported speech was uttered as part of her job responsibilities and, thus, was not protected speech under the First Amendment. In other words, the Plaintiff was speaking as a public employee pursuant to her official job duties and not as a private citizen on a matter of public importance.
In lieu of filing a response to Ms. Singer’s motion for final summary judgment, and in order to avoid a possible award of fees and costs, the Plaintiff agreed to dismiss her federal lawsuit with prejudice.
RumbergerKirk attorney Suzanne Singer represented Broward College against a sexual discrimination and retaliation claim. Plaintiff alleged she was fired from her position as Lead Accounts Payable Specialist because of her decision to end a consensual relationship with a member of management. The only evidence relied upon by the Plaintiff was an electronic journal that she created at or near the time of the events. During deposition, Ms. Singer instructed the Plaintiff to maintain her computer hard drive since a forensic analysis would have revealed exactly when Plaintiff typed each of her journal entries. At her continuation deposition, the Plaintiff testified she destroyed her computer hard-drive.
Ms. Singer filed a motion to strike the Plaintiff’s complaint for spoliation of evidence – based upon her failure to produce and destruction of Plaintiff’s computer hard drive. Circuit Court Judge David Krathen agreed, finding that the Plaintiff had a duty to preserve her computer hard drive, that she intentionally and willfully destroyed the hard drive which went to the heart of the case, and that its destruction resulted in severe prejudice to Broward College. Consequently, Judge Krathen dismissed the Plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice.
RumbergerKirk attorney Suzanne Singer represented Schindler Elevator in companion lawsuits in which the Plaintiffs alleged that they were both injured when the elevator they were riding unexpectedly dropped at a high rate of speed and then jerked upward in an uncontrollable manner.
Ms. Singer filed a motion for final summary judgment and argued that the elevator was not in the exclusive control or possession of Schindler, that Schindler was never notified of the accident and, more importantly, the evidence revealed that Schindler regularly serviced and maintained the elevator and that there was no notice of any prior dangerous condition. Circuit Court Judge Beatrice Butchko agreed, finding that there was no material issue of fact and as a matter of law there was no negligence on behalf of Schindler.
Obtained a defense verdict for the insured of a New England based insurance company in a casualty case.
Obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful discharge/retaliation lawsuit filed pursuant to Florida Statute 440.205 (workers compensation statute) today. After a three-day trial, the jury came back under an hour answering no to (1) plaintiff engaged in a statutory protected activity (2) that an adverse employment action then occurred (3) the adverse employment action was “casually related” to the protected activity; and (4) Plaintiff suffered damages as a proximate or legal result of such adverse employment action. A “no” to any one of those questions would have been a defense verdict.
Defense obtained summary judgment on retaliation counts under Florida Civil Right Act and 42 U.S.C 1983. Discrimination under Florida Civil Rights Act proceeded to trial and resulted in a no damage verdict for the Plaintiff.
Obtained defense verdict in a public accommodation discrimination lawsuit.
The Plaintiff was terminated as the head coach for the women’s basketball team on June 20, 2017. Her lawsuit followed alleging that the College terminated her from her position as head coach because she engaged in statutorily protected expression in violation of the Florida Public Whistleblower Act. The Court disagreed. After litigating the case for close to two years, the Court entered an eight page Order on 11/5/2019 finding the Plaintiff did not engage in statutory protected expression and failed to demonstrate a causal connection between the protected activity and her termination. Therefore, the College is entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Plaintiff’s counsel did not appeal so the Order is final. Defense is moving to tax costs of approximately $8,000.
The trial Court dismissed the Plaintiffs’ complaint with prejudice and the Third DCA affirmed. The lawsuit arises from a former philosophy professor, Dr. Wade Semerena, who sued his former employer (Miami-Dade College) on behalf of himself and all those similarly situated and alleges that the College enrolled him in a group healthcare plan that was inappropriate because he was a Medicare eligible retiree. Dr. Semerena also sued Aetna.
- Retail and Hospitality
- University Risk Management & Insurance Association (URMIA)
- National LGBT Bar Association
- Dade County Bar Association
Former Board of Directors
- Florida Association for Women Lawyers (FAWL)
Former Board of Directors
- The Florida Bar, 11th Judicial Circuit
Grievance Committee — Former Chair
St. Thomas University School of Law — J.D., with honors, 1992
Florida International University — B.A., Psychology, 1989
- Florida — 1992
- U.S. District Courts of Florida (Middle, Southern)
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit
- AV-Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
- Co-Author, "Intersection Between COVID-19 and Worker’s Compensation Immunity: Are Employers at Risk of Civil Litigation?" November 2020
- Author, "WARNing for Employers: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act during COVID–19 Pandemic," Florida Restaurant & Lodging Magazine, Summer 2020
- Co-Author, "Coronavirus Q&A: A Legal Resource Guide for Employers, March 2020
- Author, "Workplace Violence: What Hospital Executives and Administrators Need to Know,” Healthcare Business & Technology, September 2019
- Author, "Did the Supreme Court kick the cake down the road in its ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd., et al. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission,” June, 2018
- Panelist, "Navigating the Third Party Delivery Relationship: The Ins and Outs from a Practical and Legal Perspective," FRLA Marketing and Operations Summit, August 2018
- Co-Presenter, "Defense Strategies that Give You the Most Bang for Your Buck," Claims Education Conference, May 2018
- Co-Author, "First 'Gig Economy' Trial Decision: Independent Contractor," February 2018; Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association Magazine, Spring 2018
- Co-Author, "Cost of Convenience for the Grocery Industry: On-Demand Grocery Delivery Service Presents Possible Legal Ramifications," November 2017
- Co-Author, Employee vs. Independent Contractor: How This Classification is Bringing Legal Challenges to the Gig Economy," October 2017
- Co-Author, "Uber-Successful Digital Business Model May Crash If Florida Court Classifies Drivers as Employees," April 2017
- Co-author, “Recovery of Prejudgment Interest in Negligence Actions in Florida,” April 2017
- Co-Author, “The Cost of Convenience: Understanding the Third Party Food Delivery Dilemma,” April 2017
- Presenter, "Recent Developments in State & Federal Employment Law," "Conducting and Effective Internal Investigation” and “Creating Fair Labor Standards ACT (FLSA) Compliance Strategies That Work,” — NBI Advanced Employment Law Seminar, February 2017
- "Getting Ready for Changes: What You Need to Know for Fair Labor Standards Act Compliance," Presenter, Center for HR Management, November 2016
- Co-Presenter - Social Media Evidence at Trial, "What you Can’t Use Won’t Help You," 24th Annual Joint DIF/SIU Conference - Fighting Insurance Fraud Though Education and Commitment, June, 2016
- “An overview of the Law on Premise Liability,” CEU Institute Claims Examiner Seminar, February, 2014, Co-presenter
- “Title VII-Supreme Court’s Ruling Will Likely Benefit Employers,” PGIT Newsletter, Fall 2013
- “In The Know: What’s Going On With Nonimmigrant Work Visas,” Keynote Speaker, HR Directors for Broken Sound and other Country Clubs throughout South Florida, May, 2013
- "Employment Issues That Impact Your Business," Keynote Speaker — Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, January 2009
- “Deposing Experts,” Schindler Elevator Law Conference, Morristown New Jersey, October, 2009, Presenter
- "Workplace Harassment Training and Tips On Avoiding Litigation,” Keynote Speaker at FMS Management Systems Annual Meeting at Hawks Cay Resort, June 2007
- Co-author, "Reform of Florida's Assisted Living Facilities Act," Assisted Living Living Success Magazine — October 2001
- “Will Florida’s New Law Stop a Dangerous Game? The unwilling bellwether state for the nursing home liability crisis has tried to put on the brakes,” Nursing Homes Long Term Care Management — Author — October 2001