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,
- Personal injury and wrongful death claims
- Collisions and allisions
- Vessel, shipyard and marina explosions and fires
Groundings and sinkings
- 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,
- 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.