Photo of Douglas Szabo

Douglas B. Szabo serves as Managing Stockholder of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A. He represents clients in complex business cases, including corporate and partnership disputes, trade secret litigation, real estate disputes, and breach of contract lawsuits. Doug also represents companies, financial institutions, bankruptcy trustees, and other creditors in bankruptcy court. In addition, Szabo represents media companies in First Amendment matters.

In the community, Doug  serves on the Board of Directors for the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, and is a member of the Southwest Florida Bankruptcy Professional Association and Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association. He is a graduate of Leadership Lee County and served as Chairman of its Steering Committee.

Throughout his career, Doug has also served as president of the Lee County YMCA Board; chairman of the YMCA Youth Sustaining Funds Drive; a member of the City of Palms Classic Board of Directors; co-chairman of the City of Palms Basketball Alumni Association; and president of the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium Board of Directors.

Doug has been honored by Florida Super Lawyers, and named a “Top Lawyer” by Naples Illustrated magazine for his work in Business and Commercial Litigation. He received his undergraduate degree from Rollins College (with high distinction, 1984) and his law degree from the University of Florida (with honors, in 1987).

Doug may be reached at 239-344-1260 or via email at

There is no such thing as an unimportant Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) opinion. As someone who vigorously defends the media in First Amendment cases, I eagerly awaited the SCOTUS opinion in Maloney Area School District v B.L. The opinion was rendered on June 23, 2021, and I quickly read it looking for nuggets I could use in the representation of my clients. Although the case did not involve media, the 8-1 (Justice Thomas dissenting) decision importantly upheld First Amendment protections.

Defenders of the First Amendment will hail the decision as another important victory for free speech and will no doubt cite to the opinion authored by Justice Breyer and the significant statements concerning the importance of the First Amendment:

  • “America’s public schools are the nurseries of democracy. Our representative democracy only works if we protect ‘the marketplace of ideas.’ That marketplace must include the protection of unpopular ideas, for popular ideas have less need for protection.”
  • “The First Amendment protects ‘even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate.’”


Continue Reading SCOTUS Decision on First Amendment Rights: Who Really Won?