Truth, Justice and Rush

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Robert A. Rush

Power, integrity and doing the right thing don’t often go together but when I think of the law practice of Robert A. Rush that is what comes to mind. I have known Robert and his family for years. He is the kind of attorney that stays up all night studying his cases, taking each one as if the client is a member of his own family.

When you walk through the stained glass door of the beautiful blue historic building you are greeted by Ruthie Hale-Fergusen. She has been at the practice for over 21 years and is so sweet. She makes clients feel at ease and whisks them into the right office without delay. For a client who is coming into the law office with a serious case, this is a comforting feeling to be surrounded by people who genuinely care and are true legal pros.

Robert grew up on Long Island New York and then moved to Clearwater, Florida to start high school. Robert attended Johns Hopkins University where he played lacrosse. He completed his schooling at the University of Florida and quickly became a huge Gator fan.

Robert’s first job was as a research entomologist at the USDA lab in Gainesville. It was after this that his true passion and lifetime occupation started when he graduated from the UF Law School and began practicing law in 1985.

Robert Rush totally immersed himself into the art of learning courtroom techniques and putting on jury trials because he thought that if he was going to hire a lawyer, he would want one who was experienced and knowledgeable in going to trial because as he explained to me… “ultimately, that is how all disputes are resolved when the people cannot come to a compromised agreement.”

Rush-hard-at-work“As a young lawyer, one of my first appearances in civil court was in an automobile accident case. I asked the judge where I was on the trial docket. He said that I was number 12, and when he saw my disappointment, he said don’t worry let me look over the list of lawyers. As he went down the list of lawyers who had cases set for trial, he commented upon each one of them individually – “Well, he’s not going to trial; he never goes to trial; he doesn’t go to trial either.” By the end of this list the judge looked at me and said ‘pretty good chance that you will be going to trial on Monday.’ I will never forget that conversation because it occurred to me that if this local judge knew the reputation of lawyers, and who would actually fight for a client in court, then I am sure that every insurance company knows the same thing, and offers smaller or no settlements to people who have attorneys who are not real courtroom lawyers.”

In 2000, Robert’s sister, Marian Rush, a successful large-firm civil lawyer in Tampa, decided to join her big brother’s firm. His son, Jake Rush, and daughter-in-law Anne Rush are also part of the practice. In 2001 Robert Rush coached the UF Law Trial Team to a national championship, and has taught at this law school for over 10 years.

Spanning the past 25 years, Rush has represented clients in every type of accident case you can think of: Automobile , Bus, Bicycle, Motorcycle, Pedestrian, Slip and Falls, Severe Injuries, Diving Accidents, Wrongful Death, Civil Rights Violations, Defending Businesses and every type of Criminal Case from a first offender DUI to a First Degree Death Penalty case. Robert has actually been to trial on every one of these cases.

Robert-Rush-with-grandson-Victor-Rush

Robert Rush with his grandson, Victor Rush.

The Florida Bar awards board certification to those lawyers in a particular field who have demonstrated extraordinary competence and professionalism in that field. Out of approximately 97,000 lawyers in the state of Florida, there are 1,061 certifications in civil trial law and 384 board certifications in criminal trial law. Robert was awarded both certifications. Only four lawyers in the entire state of Florida have achieved board certification in both civil and criminal trial law, and Robert A. Rush is one of those four!

Super Lawyers is an independent magazine that compiles lists of attorneys that have been deemed the top lawyers in the state by their peer groups. Robert A. Rush has been included in that list since the magazine started.

Relaxing-on-his-farm

Robert Rush relaxing on his farm.

Robert was elected by lawyers in the Eighth Judicial Circuit to serve on the Board of Governors on The Florida Bar for a six year period. In that capacity Mr. Rush was one of 52 people who made the rules that regulated the Florida Bar and enforced the rules through disciplinary measures against errant lawyers.

In 2008 the practice moved into the beautiful blue historic building at 11 SE 2nd Avenue. In the center of downtown Gainesville, the office is within a minutes’ walk to the criminal courthouse, the civil courthouse and the federal courthouse. It was the perfect location for the practice. Robert found this property that was originally built in 1895 as a burnt-out and dilapidated shell. “We completely renovated it and utilized all of the original wood. I believe in historical preservation and the importance of architecture in our lives. Most clients who come into the office have suffered a traumatic experience. The warmth of the natural wood and the historic feel to the building helps relax people. We also want people to feel secure at this law firm. We will be here not only today, but tomorrow, and next year, and the next decade. That is one of the benefits of having my son and daughter-in-law both working here, so that we can ensure the continuity of excellent service to our clients,” said Rush. The building is a beautiful landmark in the City of Gainesville with handmade stained glass windows, a fountain and beautiful landscaping that Robert Rush personally designed and takes care of.

Rush-hard-at-workTeen Justice
Robert has a lot of empathy for teens as he is a parent and now a grandparent himself. “One of the most challenging, yet rewarding, things I get to do as an attorney is to represent and help young people, especially teenagers, who have run afoul of the criminal justice system. We work very hard to try and get that young person through the criminal justice system without having a permanent criminal record for a dangerous teenage mistake.”

Personal Injury Cases
Serious injury or death in an automobile accident, or other accident, caused by someone else’s failure to use due care is another area of expertise the office of Robert A. Rush handles. Having worked over a 1,000 accident cases over the past 25 years, Robert knows how pain, trauma, grief, and physical discomfort effects every aspect of a person’s life. That is where his experience and role as a counselor of law is very helpful. “When you handle personal injury cases for as long as I have, you get to know the medical terminology and some of the diagnoses which are directly related to a traumatic accident. When someone has had a mild traumatic brain injury, I know from my experience in reviewing the medical literature, and from working directly with clients, that the acute symptoms that they are feeling today – fogginess, memory loss, irritability – are all classic signs of this injury which should dissipate over time. One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to be able to lower the anxiety level of my client. I usually end the interview asking them to leave the worry with me as I will let them know, good news or bad news, when something happens in their case.”

Civil Rights Cases
“Early in my career I represented a young man who had been falsely accused of murder. Once I investigated the case, I found that there was no reliable evidence that this man was involved in the murder. His arrest was based upon clearly improper identification methods and a complete failure to review the forensic evidence. The false arrest destroyed this man’s ability to get a job and caused havoc in his life. It struck me that this appeared to be a clear violation of our constitutional rights, that being the Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable seizure by the government without probable cause. I soon learned the awesome power the government has when it turns its spotlights on any individual, and I learned firsthand how to use the rule of law and protections afforded all citizens by our Bill of Rights in our United States Constitution to successfully defend people whose civil rights have been violated by our government.”

In 2008, Robert Rush did just that. Dr. Andrew Nguyen had been arrested at his medical practice for violation of controlled substance laws. He was accused of six criminal offenses, none of which were true. Robert Rush took on the case and sued the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as the Gilchrist County Sheriff for violating his clients’ constitutional rights. A jury agreed and awarded $1,820,000.00 in damages. That case was appealed to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Robert Rush did the appeal himself, argued the case in front of the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, and won. The case stands for the legal proposition that the government cannot be granted discretionary immunity when they violate someone’s Fourth Amendment right.

Marian-Rush

Marian Rush with a client.

Marian Rush
Marian B. Rush is the younger sister of the firm’s founder and the youngest of the six siblings in their family. She attended undergraduate school at the University of South Florida and law school at the Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. She has been practicing law since 1983 and has a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for her A-V rating, the highest rating available.

She began her legal career at a large law firm in St. Petersburg, handling a wide variety of matters including insurance coverage and defense, auto and truck accidents, construction litigation, products liability and medical malpractice cases, along with handling commercial and residential closings, garnishments, and foreclosures for banks. Marian handled most of the firm’s appellate cases and has argued cases before the Florida Supreme Court. In 1991, the federal government hired her as a senior attorney primarily to handle professional liability claims against the professionals of failed financial institutions throughout the State of Florida.

Marian-Rush,-City-of-Alachua-Attorney-at-Alachua-City-HallMarian then returned to private practice as a partner in a Tampa firm where she handled state-wide litigation in federal and state courts handling cases involving failed savings and loans resulting in the recovery of more than ten million dollars for the tax payers.

In 2000, she moved to Gainesville and joined her big brother’s flourishing law practice bringing a depth of experience in commercial litigation, insurance disputes, and financial and transactional work. Because of the depth and breadth of her experience in governmental, administrative, transactional, and litigation work, in 2003 Marian was chosen by the City of Alachua to be the City Attorney. She feels both proud and privileged to be serving in this position. As the City attorney she advises the City Commission and its Boards, handles day-to-day items with the City Manager, handles or oversees outside counsel in a wide variety of cases including challenges to ordinances, public records and public meetings issues, and whatever items come across the City Manager’s desk. Marian is one of only 249 attorneys in Florida who has achieved Board Certification from The Florida Bar in City, County, and Local Government Law.

Marian is an avid football fan on both the professional and college levels. She regularly attended Tampa Bay Buccaneer games. Since moving to Gainesville, Marian is a devoted Gator fan and attends most home games and goes to away games when possible. However, she is now a huge fan of the newest member of the Rush family, baby Victor Anthony.

Jake Rush

Jake and Anne Rush

Jake and Anne Rush

Jake went to school at the University of Florida and served as a Sheriff’s Deputy at the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office. He patrolled all of Alachua County, worked as a D.U.I. investigator, did proactive drug enforcement and responded to auto accidents. Jake went on to Stetson Law School.

Jake takes the skills and knowledge of law enforcement up the legal chain to the courthouse, focusing mainly on civil litigation, constitutional law and automobile accidents. He uses that police instinct to protect people from unlawful government action and bring government wrongdoers to justice.

The legal team at Robert A. Rush, P.A. often leverages Jake’s experience in criminal cases, where his knowledge is used in determining whether police error created the wrong result and violated the constitutional rights of citizens.

Jake serves the Florida Bar as the Young Lawyer’s Division Board of Governors representative for the Eighth Judicial Circuit; he also served on the Board of Directors of the local Bar. He continues to hone his law enforcement interests as a member of the City of Gainesville’s Black on Black Crime Task Force and by teaching law enforcement legal updates at the police academy. He also volunteers by teaching the constitution to area school children.

The Rush family are very talented at what they do. One would think that being an attorney is enough but Jake Rush is not only an attorney and new father but he is a candidate for Congress. I can’t think of anyone better for this position as Jake truly cares about the community and I know he will work hard for all of us.

Anne Rush
Anne is married to Jake Rush and is an attorney primarily practicing criminal defense. Anne grew up in Kentucky along with her seven siblings. This bright young woman was the valedictorian of her high school class and continued her education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), earning a degree in Biology while also competing on the women’s varsity crew team.

Anne began her legal career as an assistant public defender in the Eighth Judicial Circuit. During her three years there she worked in the misdemeanor, juvenile, and felony divisions. Drawing upon her science background, Anne next transitioned to private practice as associate corporate counsel for RTI Surgical, Inc., a manufacturer of medical grafts and devices headquartered in Alachua, FL. After Anne and Jake had their first child, she began work at the Law Office of Robert A. Rush, P.A. to be better able to balance work obligations with the duties of new motherhood.

Anne is involved in various civic activities locally. She is a Board Member of Gainesville’s PACE Center for Girls, a Board Member of the 8th Circuit Bar Association where she has chaired the annual holiday project benefiting Alachua County’s Head Start Program for the past three years, and a past President and current Board Member of the Clara Gehan Association for Women Lawyers.

Now Anne and Jake Rush are the very proud parents of little Victor who I am sure will grow up a true Gator and destined to follow in his talented parents footsteps.

Although Robert Rush has achieved recognition from all his peers and could easily be living the Good Life, he finds his piece of heaven on a rural farm in Alachua. On weekends you will find him in the middle of a blueberry field or grooming one of his horses. He likes a simple life and is enjoying playing with his grandson and cooking dinner for his extended family.

IMG_7737Robert is someone that anyone could talk to. Whether it be a truck driver, rap artist like Plies or a working mom. His law firm and the people that are part of it are true professionals. They are there to guide you through any legal issues you may face.

Persons who are involved in accidents that caused injuries to them normally will be able to hire a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, which means that the lawyer and the client enter into a contract where the lawyer is paid a portion of the settlement, usually one-third, only if the attorney is successful in collecting a settlement. Most criminal cases and commercial cases require a retainer fee upfront. Payment plans and all major credit card are accepted.

24 hour after-hours telephone number in the event of emergencies: (352) 373-7566, (386) 462-7777, RobertARushPA.com

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