Lessons learned growing up in St. Augustine led to a career in the law and efforts to make life better in communities faced with challenges. Teachers, coaches, administrators and others dedicated to civic engagement have an impact on students in their formative years, and Wayne Hogan, St. Augustine High School Class of 1965, was one of those people as he was impacted by being a student within the St. Johns County School System.
Wayne is the son of the late Jack and Mickie Hogan. His father was president of his union local that went on strike for months to defeat Southern Bell’s attempt to break the union. Memories of that helped shape Wayne’s view as a youth that working people must be treated fairly by those who benefit from their labor, and that corporations who break the rules are to be held accountable. His legal career put that similar mindset into action.
Another influential event was the summer of 1964, when St. Augustine became a focal point of the civil rights movement. It was a tense time in St. Augustine, and Wayne saw that the segregated structure conflicted with what he had learned was the nation’s promise of equal justice under the law. That particular time period had a lasting impact on Wayne’s views on legal and public policy issues.
It was Wayne’s good fortune to be part of a most wonderful SAHS 1965 class that has remained part of his life today. Part of his activities at SAHS included being vice-president of the senior class, a Boys State representative, a member of the debate team, a member of the Honor Society, and president of Rotary’s Interact Club. In looking back at 10th Grade Civics class at SAHS, Wayne met a lawyer named Frank Upchurch, Jr. who explained that lawyers in communities, large and small, are integral to the fabric of our society. They help people find civil ways to resolve disputes. Those lessons while in high school helped developed a life-long interest in civic engagement and a respect for the key role the law and lawyers play in shaping the American way of life that he carried on into his college life.
At St. Johns River Junior College, Wayne became judiciary chairman and then president of the student body, was on the debate team, and received the University of Florida Blue Key Award for junior college leadership. He earned degrees in Economics and Law from The Florida State University where he was chief justice of the Supreme Court, and, through ROTC, was named a Distinguished Military Graduate, and was appointed an army officer after training at Ft. Benning and Ft. Bragg.
Within weeks of graduating from law school in 1972, Wayne began trying cases as an assistant public defender in Tallahassee. Having left to fulfill military duties at Ft. Benning, he next joined the top trial firm in Jacksonville, the Bedell firm, where he honed his skills in civil law.
In 1975, Wayne had the good fortune to meet Pat Palmero, and that has made all the difference. Time-after-time Pat’s sensible advice moved Wayne to make choices that led to good results and soon, they married.
In 1977, he saw the opportunity to join the law firm now called Terrell Hogan Yegelwel where he could focus on representing people harmed by defective products. He quickly began representing asbestos victims. In 1981, he represented a World War II Navy veteran and obtained Florida’s first punitive damages verdict to punish the world’s largest asbestos corporation for its reckless conduct. He successfully handled the precedent-setting appeal. Over the decades, he and his firm have represented thousands suffering from malignant mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
That background, digging out evidence to prove the truth about toxic exposure and disease, led to his role in Florida’s landmark victory against the tobacco industry. Wayne and a team of other leading trial attorneys represented Governor Lawton Chiles for several years leading to a landmark settlement. The settlement terms severely restricted tobacco advertising near schools and playgrounds and eliminated advertising with cartoon characters such as Joe Camel aimed at children. The settlement amounted to more than $17 billion for Florida’s taxpayers, families, and children, and funded the highly effective Truth Campaign to prevent youth smoking. In recognition of the late governor’s lifetime of service to the people of Florida, Wayne and team members participated in establishing the Lawton Chiles Legal Information Center at the University of Florida.
Wayne is a board certified civil trial lawyer, and has served on the executive committees of Public Justice, America’s public interest law firm, and the American Association for Justice, and the national board of the American Board of Trial Advocates. Sen. Nelson and Sen. Rubio have appointed him to chair the Conference that recommends nominees for federal district court judge, United States Attorney and U.S. Marshal for the Middle District of Florida.
Wayne has always remembered to follow the model of Judge Upchurch and presents interactive lessons on the Bill of Rights to high school students through the Justice Teaching program sponsored by the Florida Law Related Education Association.
He was named the State of Florida’s Justice Teaching Volunteer of the Year at the 2012 Florida Bar Convention.