Matthew J. Jowanna obtained his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, majoring in Broadcasting and Mass Communications, from the University of South Florida. While at the University of South Florida, Mr. Jowanna was a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society and the Outstanding College Students of America. For seven (7) years before attending law school, Mr. Jowanna worked for several Tampa Bay area radio and television stations as an announcer, news anchor, news assignment editor, on-air talent, producer, reporter and writer.
After being accepted by the law schools at the University of Florida, Florida State University and Stetson University, Mr. Jowanna accepted an academic scholarship, and obtained his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, from Nova Southeastern University – where he graduated Summa Cum Laude (with Highest Honors) and achieved the distinction of graduating in the top two percent (2%) of his law school class. While in law school, Mr. Jowanna was a Senior Staff Member, and published author, of the Nova Law Review; was awarded the Attorneys’ Title Insurance Fund, Inc. Prize (for scholarly writing on an issue of real property law); was an associate member of the Moot Court Society; was a student member of ATLA (Association of Trial Lawyers of America); was a member of the Phi Delta Phi Honor Fraternity; was named to the law school’s Dean’s List every semester; received the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence; received the Highest Grade Awards (Book Awards) for Florida Constitutional Law and Torts; received the West Publishing Corporation Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement; and was listed in Who’s Who Among American Law Students, 13th and 14th Editions, and The National Dean’s List, 17th Edition. Also during law school, Mr. Jowanna served as a Federal Judicial Intern for a Federal District Court Judge; was a Law Clerk for a County Court Judge; and was a Certified Legal Intern with the Office of the State Attorney for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida where he prosecuted cases before both bench and jury.
Mr. Jowanna obtained his postdoctoral Legum Magister (LL.M.) degree from the University of Notre Dame, graduating Magna Cum Laude (with High Honors). While pursuing his Master of Laws degree at Notre Dame Law School, Mr. Jowanna served as the LL.M. Representative on the Executive Board of the NDLS Student Bar Association. Receiving a perfect score on his LL.M. thesis, Mr. Jowanna’s thesis was one of the few chosen to be published as a Student Working Paper in Transitional Justice by the Center for Civil and Human Rights at Notre Dame Law School. Mr. Jowanna’s Notre Dame LL.M. thesis was also later published as the lead academic article in a volume of the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge Law Review.
Practicing law in the Tampa Bay area for over 22 years, Mr. Jowanna’s legal practice has included Appellate Law; Civil Rights; Class Actions; Construction Litigation; Contract Litigation; Insurance Coverage; Insurance Defense; International Law; Legal Malpractice; Medical Malpractice; Personal Injury; Products Liability; Professional Errors and Omissions; and Wrongful Death. Along with his litigation and trial work, Mr. Jowanna has also argued numerous civil appeals – at the State and Federal level.
Prior to opening The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A., Mr. Jowanna was a Partner in one of the largest insurance defense and insurance coverage law firms in the state of Florida. While practicing in the areas of coverage and defense, Mr. Jowanna also broadened his practice areas to include personal injury and construction cases involving significant damages. Mr. Jowanna was next then a Partner with another large Florida law firm that also allowed him to practice in the areas of insurance coverage, insurance defense and personal injury. This balanced practice allowed Mr. Jowanna to gain well-rounded trial experience representing both Plaintiffs and Defendants in different cases, which would allow him to provide his clients with a perspective from both sides.
Mr. Jowanna is a member of The Florida Bar and the Hillsborough County Bar Association, and is also admitted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida; the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida; the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida; the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida; the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; and the Supreme Court of the United States. Being “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell, Mr. Jowanna has obtained the peer review rating of “preeminent” for his legal ability. Only the top seventeen percent (17%) of all lawyers across the nation receive this pinnacle rating.
Matthew J. Jowanna is the only attorney principally located in Wesley Chapel, New Tampa, Zephyrhills and Dade City that is rated by Avvo.com as “Superb” (10 out of 10) for the legal practice categories of Personal Injury, Bankruptcy, Family Law and Estate Planning. Mr. Jowanna and The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A. are the only lawyer and law firm principally located in Wesley Chapel, New Tampa, Zephyrhills and Dade City listed in Tampa’s Top Rated Lawyers. Mr. Jowanna is also a member of The Top Trial Lawyers in America, the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. Membership in the Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to trial lawyers who have obtained million dollar verdicts and settlements for their clients. Membership in the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum is limited to trial lawyers who have obtained multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for their clients – a feat achieved by less than one percent (1%) of all lawyers.
The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A. is listed in A.M. Best’s Directories of Insurance Professionals and Recommended Insurance Attorneys. Shortly after establishing The Law Offices of Matthew J. Jowanna, P.A., the Firm was listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Fewer than five percent (5%) of all law firms in the United States qualify and are included in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers.
Some of Mr. Jowanna’s Legal Publications and Lectures include the following:
- Shirking the Duty to Defend in Florida: Is Assignment the Exception to Argonaut?, 30 No. 4 Trial Advoc. Q. 36 (2011)
- Torture, American Style: A Recipe for Civil Tort Immunity, 42 McGeorge L. Rev. 243 (2011)
- University of Notre Dame, The Law School, Law Library, K557.N68 J683, Torture, American Style: A Recipe for Civil Tort Immunity (2010)
- 42 U.S.C. § 1983: A Legal Vehicle with No International Human Rights Treaty Passengers, 9 U.N.H. L. Rev. 31 (2010)
- Trial Exhibits, Subject Address at the Florida Defense Lawyers Association Symposium: Trial from the Defense Perspective – A Primer for the Defense, Tampa, Fla. (Apr. 9, 1999)
- Florida Practice Handbook: Products Liability 1994 Supp. (Supp. 1994)
- Restrictions Against the Use of Hurricane Shutters: Are They Enforceable After Hurricane Andrew?, 17 Nova L. Rev. 1191 (1993)
Some of Mr. Jowanna’s Reported Case Decisions include the following:
- VP Props. & Devs., LLP v. Seneca Spec. Ins. Co., 645 Fed. Appx. 912 (11th Cir. 2016)
- Peters v. Army Navy Surp. Mkt., FJVR 12:6-5 (2012)
- Thomas v. Alpha Homes, Inc., FJVR 11:8-32 (2011)
- Palma v. Seven-One-Seven Parking Mgmt. Svc., Inc., FJVR 08:11-18 (2008)
- Garcia v. Vanguard Car Rental USA, Inc., 510 F. Supp. 2d 821 (Mid. Dist. Fla. 2007)
- Scannavino v. Fla. Dep’t of Corr., 242 F.R.D. 662 (Mid. Dist. Fla. 2007)
- JMIC Life Ins. Co. v. Henry, 922 So. 2d 998 (Fla. 5th DCA 2005)
- Hayes v. Seven-One-Seven Parking Mgmt. Svc., Inc., FJVR 05:8-17 (2005)
- Namen v. Simon Prop. Grp., LLP, FJVR 04:06-38 (2004)
- Roberts v. DeBartolo Props. Mgmt., 849 So. 2d 309 (Fla. 2d DCA 2003)
- Harris v. Lennar Homes, Inc., FJVR 00:6-34 (1999)
- Lennar Homes, Inc. v. Harris, 737 So. 2d 1090 (Fla. 2d DCA 1999)
- Ball v. Jimenez, 730 So. 2d 703 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998)
- Firn v. Ohio Cas. Ins. Co., 725 So. 2d 1177 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998)
- Natter v. N. Geraci & Co., 717 So. 2d 1015 (Fla. 2d DCA 1998)
- Chiang v. Wildcat Groves, Inc., 703 So. 2d 1083 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997)
- Brewer v. Gulfcoast Transit Co., FJVR 97:3-50 (1997))
- Brewer v. Gulfcoast Transit Co., 679 So. 2d 341 (Fla. 2d DCA 1996)
You may send Mr. Jowanna an email at MJJ@Jowanna.com.
Jessica R. Stephans obtained her Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree, majoring in History, from the University of Florida. While at the University of Florida, Jessica was able to complete a semester of her studies abroad in London. Ms. Stephans obtained her Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Florida State University. While in law school, Jessica received academic certificates in Environmental Law and Land Use.
Ms. Stephans is admitted to The Florida Bar; the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida; and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. Prior to joining the Firm, Jessica served as an Assistant Attorney General, at the Office of the Florida Attorney General, and was later a Senior Attorney at the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD), Office of the General Counsel. Jessica’s government experience has provided her with seasoned trial, appellate and administrative law skills. Since entering private practice, Jessica concentrates in the areas of Bankruptcy, Estate Planning and Probate. Therefore, she is the Managing Attorney of the Firm’s Bankruptcy, Estate Planning and Probate Sections.
Some of Ms. Stephans’ Legal Publications include the following:
- Florida Juvenile Law and Practice, 13th Edition (2013) and 14th Edition (2015)
- Chapter 13: Proceedings from Petition to Adjudicatory Hearing in Dependency Cases
Some of Ms. Stephans’ Reported Case Decisions include the following:
- Rodriguez-Aguilar v. State, 198 So. 3d 792 (Fla. 2d DCA 2016)
- McPherson v. State, 198 So. 3d 675 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015)
- Balmir v. State, 174 So. 3d 1101 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015)
- Mullins v. State, 174 So. 3d 616 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015)
- Allen v. State, 162 So. 3d 1055 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015)
- Pulecio v. State, 160 So. 3d 556 (Fla. 2d DCA 2015)
- Tianga v. State, 146 So. 3d 1235 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014)
- M.P. v. Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., 107 So. 3d 515 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)
- In re R.K. v. Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., 103 So. 3d 1038 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
- M.C. v. Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., 88 So. 3d 1057 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
- M.W. v. Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., 88 So. 3d 1033 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
- J.E. v. Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., 88 So. 3d 1032 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
- C.K. v. Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., 88 So. 3d 975 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012)
You may send Ms. Stephans an email at JRS@Jowanna.com.