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John W. Keller III

121 Majorca Avenue, Suite 200 Coral Gables, Florida 33134
Firm: Keller & Mesa L.L.P.
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Keller & Mesa L.L.P.

Years In Practice

Phone Number (305) 529-8500

JOHN W. KELLER, III, managing partner of Keller & Mesa, LLP, is Board Certified in Admiralty and Maritime Law (Florida Bar Board of Legal Specialization and Education).  He is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell, and, recognized in “The Best Lawyers in America” (1993-present), “Florida Super Lawyers,” and the South Florida Legal Guide “Top Lawyer.”  He is admitted to practice before the Eleventh and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeals and the United States District Courts for the Southern and Middle Districts of Florida.  He is a member of The Florida Bar (currently serving as a member of the Admiralty Law Committee) and the Dade County Bar Association, and, a proctor of The Maritime Law Association of the United States.   


Upon graduation from law school, Mr. Keller returned to his hometown, Miami, where he has been continuously engaged in the practice of law beginning as an associate and then as a partner at Smathers & Thompson.  He joined Fowler, White, Burnett, Hurley Banick and Strickroot in 1984 and worked there as a shareholder until 1992, when he co-founded the law firm of Keller & Houck, P.A.  In March 2002, he joined Henry Bolz, III, and formed Keller & Bolz, LLP, which is now known as Keller & Mesa, LLP.  

Mr. Keller’s litigation practice encompasses a wide array of trials, appeals, arbitrations (both as arbitrator and as counsel), and administrative proceedings involving:  

  • Insurance Coverage
  • Environmental and pollution incidents
  • Contract disputes, including disputes relating to letter of credit programs and payment mechanisms, contract breaches, indemnity and contribution, charters, dredging activities, marine employment, terminal and stevedoring operations, shipyard and marina matters, etc. 
  • Personal injury and wrongful death claims
  • Collisions and allisions
  • Vessel, shipyard and marina explosions and fires Groundings and sinkings
  • Salvage
  • Mortgages and liens
  • Pilotage regulation, accidents, and disputes
  • Products liabilities
  • Cargo loss and damage
  • Towage accidents and disputes
  • Coast Guard, National Transportation Safety Board, Immigration and Customs investigations and proceedings.

As to business ventures and transactional matters, Mr. Keller’s practice is devoted to advising individual and corporate clients, including a number of vessel owners, charterers, dredge companies, shipyards, marina operators, financial institutions, insurers, concessionaires, and cargo interests with respect to:  

  • Sales and construction
  • Vessel financing
  • Warranty issues
  • Product liability
  • Marina operations
  • Repair, dockage, and lease agreements
  • Critical self evaluations and investigations re management and operational practices
  • Salvage Agreements
  • Insurance policies, terms and conditions
  • Charter Parties
  • Vessel management -- Safety Management Systems, STCW, etc.
  • Vessel and harbor security plans
  • Marine regulatory compliance
  • Concessionaire contracts Passenger ticket contracts
  • Crew employee manuals
  • Crew employment agreements      


  • “Law Applicable to Marina Operators,” Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute, June, 1987.
  • “Marine Casualty Reporting & Investigation,” Southeastern Admiralty Law Institute Seminar, 1998.
  • “Marine Casualty Reporting & Investigation,” Volume 24, Number 1, Tulane Maritime Law Journal, 1999.
  • “Environmental Damage: Coverage & Exposure Above and Below the Water Line, The Wave of Change” - Marine Insurance Seminar, Fort Lauderdale Mariners’ Club, October 24, 2001.
  • “Mediating Maritime Claims,” The Florida Bar Admiralty Law Committee, Florida Bar Annual Meetings, January 2007.
  • "Florida National Marine Sanctuaries and Parks, Environments Apart," Lorman, January, 2008.
  • “Corporate Manslaughter and Personal Injury in the Maritime Context,” Panelist, The London Shipping Law Centre, March 12, 2008
  • Florida Maritime Law and Practice (5th Ed. 2018), the Florida Bar and Lexis/Nexis, Steering Committee and Editor.
  • Florida Maritime Law and Practice (6th Ed. 2019), the Florida Bar and Lexis/Nexis, Steering Committee and Editor.
What legal services does this lawyer offer?
    • The Best Lawyers in America: 1993 - present.
    • Martindale-Hubbell: Rated -- AV Preeminent.  This rating is Martindale-Hubbell’s highest possible distinction reflecting judiciary and bar members’ peer review in both legal ability and ethical standards.
    • Florida Super Lawyers: 2006 - present.
    • Top Lawyer, South Florida Legal Guide
Stetson University, Juris Doctor
Graduated 1977
University of Florida, Bachelor of Science
Graduated 1974
Contact Details and Office Locations
121 Majorca Avenue, Suite 200
Coral Gables, Florida 33134
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