Academy Member Inducted 2024

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Hon. Hugh D. Hayes (Ret.), Mediator, Naples, Florida.

Hon. Hugh D. Hayes (Ret.)

Gunster, Yoakley & Stewart, P.A.
5551 Ridgewood Drive
Suite 501
Naples, FL 34108
Tel: 239.514.1000
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Recognized to Florida Chapter for Mediation Other ADR Services: Court-Appointed Neutral (Special Master), Discovery Referee, Early Neutral Evaluation, Fact Finding, Insurance Umpire, Med-Arb, Mini-Trial Judge
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  • Practice Commenced2023
  • # of MEDS (as of 18/7/24) 
  • # of ARBS (as of 18/7/24) 
Current Practice
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  • 20th Circuit
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Hugh Hayes, the longest serving judge in Florida history, serves as a Supreme Court and Florida Middle District certified mediator, qualified arbitrator and special master to select clients. He is committed to providing a creative and balanced approach to problem-solving that meets the needs of the party constituents who retain him as a neutral.

Hugh is fluent in the roles and responsibilities of serving as a mediator, arbitrator and special master. He is well-versed in the authority and responsibilities of a neutral, as well as in preparing for and conducting the preliminary hearing, matters of eDiscovery, dealing with self-represented pro se parties, conducting research and investigations, and handling post-hearing matters. Hugh knows, from hands-on experience, the extent and limits of a neutral’s authority and has proven time and again his ability to prepare and write awards that make sense for the constituents.

With a focus on being truly impartial and ethical, Hugh’s goal is to serve as the catalyst for working constructively with disputing parties and their counsel to achieve a fair and just outcome. He is experienced in ensuring efficiency throughout varied ADR processes and in addressing and dealing with delay tactics, disruptive panel dynamics and difficult attorneys. He strives to create binding awards that dispose of all legal and other issues and that offer the greatest potential to pass judicial review.

Hugh’s character, judgment, business and legal acumen, and deep knowledge of the underlying causes that drive a dispute are the result of having served on the bench for more than four decades and in serving as a former Army intelligence officer. Hugh formerly served both as a member of the 20th Judicial Circuit, as a Circuit Court judge, as Chief Judge of the Twentieth Judicial Circuit, and as the Administrative Judge for Collier County on multiple occasions. As a result, he brings longevity and skill to analyzing the underlying contested legal and business issues.

In addition to his judicial service, Hugh has served the Naples and broader Collier County community through his engagement with the United Way of Collier County, Naples North Rotary, Florida Bar-focused committees and various legal organizations. He is a published author within numerous legal publications and has been recognized as the Jurist of the Year by the American Board of Trial Advocates of Southwest Florida.

Case Experience

  • Admiralty
  • Agricultural
  • Appellate
  • Automotive
  • Banking & Finance
  • Business Dissolution
  • Civil Rights
  • Commercial/Business
  • Community Associations
  • Condominiums
  • Construction
  • Consumer Fraud
  • Contract Disputes
  • Debt Collections
  • Discrimination
  • EEOC
  • Elder Abuse
  • Eminent Domain
  • Employment
  • Engineering
  • Environmental
  • Franchise
  • Health Care
  • Industrial
  • Insurance
  • Labor/Unions
  • Land Use/Planning
  • Landlord/Tenant
  • Legal Malpractice
  • Lemon Law
  • Libel & Slander
  • Local Govt./Municipalities
  • Media & Communications
  • Medical Devices
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Mortgage Foreclosure
  • Non-profit Organizations
  • Nursing Homes
  • Partnerships
  • Personal Injury
  • Police
  • Premises Liability
  • Probate
  • Product Liability
  • Professional Fees
  • Professional Liability
  • Professional Malpractice
  • Professional Negligence
  • Property Damage
  • Real Estate
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Shareholder Disputes
  • Telecommunications
  • Title Disputes
  • Torts
  • Trademarks/Patents
  • Transportation
  • Trusts / Estates
  • Unfair Competition
  • Utilities
  • Venture Capital
  • Wage & Hour/FMLA
  • Workers' Compensation
  • Wrongful Death


  • University of Florida, J.D., 1972
  • University of Georgia, B.A., 1970
  • University of Nevada-Reno, Master of Judicial Studies 1988

Memberships & Affiliations

  • Florida Bar
  • FLMD Certified Civil Mediator

  • FL S. Ct. Certified Mediator

  • Florida S. Ct. Qualified Arbitrator

  • Retired Chief Judge 20th Judicial Circuit

  • Retired Florida Circuit Court Judge


Rates Information

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