Ronald J. Cohen
Practice Leader – Public Pensions, Labor and Employment
Ron maintains a wide-ranging labor and employment and employee benefit practice handling all types of matters dealing with the employee-employer relationship. Ron joined the firm in 2014 as chair of the Labor & Employment Practice. He has s been practicing law in the areas of public pension, labor law and local government law since 1977. He is a former Assistant City Attorney for the City of Miami, where he served as counsel to the City’s Retirement Systems. While employed as an Assistant City Attorney, Mr. Cohen gained experience in not only pension and labor law, but in municipal law, including public records and open meetings laws. He then practiced at a major South Florida firm, litigating all types of business disputes, including disputes involving contract formation and interpretation, securities law violations, and fiduciary duties and responsibilities. Prior to joining the firm, Ron successfully ran his own firm handling pension, and labor, and employment matters. Ron has successfully handled all matters of labor disputes, including wage and hour matters, employment discrimination, and unfair labor practices, non-compete agreements, and litigation of contract disputes. Ron has handled numerous arbitrations, administrative cases, jury and non-jury trials, class actions and appeals, in both federal and state court.
Ron has a special expertise in handling government pension matters, and has represented public pension plans for close to 40 years. He has successfully prosecuted and defended cases for Boards of Trustees, involving all types of disputes.
Ron is the long-time General Counsel for the FPPTA, a not–for–profit organization renowned nationwide for the education it provides to public pension trustees. Ron is devoted to the services the organization provides, and gives much of his time to fiduciary education.
Ronald J. Cohen
Experience & Education
- Labor and Employment – Board Certified
ADMITTED TO PRACTICE:
- Florida Bar, 1977
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 1977
- U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, 2009
- U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1981
- Montana, 1992
- University of Miami School of Law, J.D., 1976
- University of Florida, B.A., with honors, 1973
HONORS & AWARDS:
- Ronald Cohen, Public Employees and the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination; the need for a New Florida Rule, Dec. 1983, Florida Bar Journal
- Ronald Cohen and Richelle Levy, Chapter Money in Florida: Everything that You Had Learned ‘Appears to be Inaccurate,’ and Probably Will Be Again” Retirement Security, A Good Investment Spring 2014.
- Cohen is often asked to speak on labor, employment and public pension issues. Individual speaking engagements are too numerous to list, but he has lectured numerous times on disability law, DROP, fiduciary responsibility, Chapters 112, 175 and 185, Florida Statutes, and provided updates on new legislation to public pension trustees. He has lectured for the Florida Bar on financial urgency litigation. He has participated in panels on fiduciary duty atPolice, Fire, EMS, & Municipal Employee Pension & Benefits Seminar for the National Association of Policed Organizations. He has also lectured at the National Business Institute on Employee Handbooks ,Wage and Hour Laws and employee benefits.
- Ron Cohen recently obtained a major, precedent-setting Florida Supreme Court victory on behalf of the City of Miami’s police union in Headley v. City of Miami,215 So. 3d 1 (2017). The decision sets important limits on a government‘s ability to unilaterally modify a collective bargaining agreement, and reaffirms the rights under Florida‘s constitution to bargain collectively and to be free from government interference with contractual obligations. The Florida Supreme Court, relying on the Florida constitution, reversed lower court decisions in favor of the City of Miami, and struck down the City’s unilateral amendment of its obligations under a collective bargaining agreement with the police union.
- Retirees from a large South Florida city were promised that they would receive cost of living adjustments throughout their lifetime. The retirement board approved the cost of living adjustment, but the city stopped it from being paid. Mr. Cohen was appointed class counsel for hundreds of retirees who expected and depended on the COLA. After years of hotly contested litigation, a favorable settlement was obtained in which the class will receive approximately $5,000,000.00 in retroactive pension benefits and will also receive COLA’s for the rest of their lives.
- A citizen was acting erratically while on a major Florida thoroughfare, stopping cars that were driving on the roadway and scaring persons in the community. The police were called, and the first police officer who arrived called for help, and before back-up arrived, the man started to enter a restaurant. The police officer had to use a minimal amount of physical force to prevent the gentleman from entering the restaurant. When help arrived, the police officer went into the men’s room in the restaurant, and when he came out, the gentleman he had stopped was in obvious severe physical distress. Rescue was called, and while they were in route, the police officer gave CPR. Unfortunately, and tragically, the man died. The police office was sued by the family of the deceased man and Mr. Cohen represented the police officer, pitting him against one of Florida’s top trial attorneys. The police officer won the civil suit, and the decision was affirmed by the 11thCircuit Court of Appeals, in an appeal Ron handled.