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Daily News Summary

An electronic digest of media coverage of interest to members of The Florida Bar compiled each workday by the Public Information and Bar Services Department. Electronic links are only active in today's edition. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

March 1, 2013

--The Florida Bar--

FLORIDA BAR ACADEMY FOCUSES ON LEADERSHIP, DIVERSITY, ETHICS -- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, March 1, 2013.
As the first black president-elect of The Florida BarEugene Pettis has noticed the lack of diversity in Bar leadership. Determined to change that, Pettis is launching The Florida Bar Leadership Academy. The academy is modeled after similar programs in six other states, the largest of which is Texas. The purpose of the academy is to enhance leadership, diversity and ethics among Florida’s attorneys. Fellows are required to attend six two-day meetings in locations including Boca Raton, Orlando and Tallahassee. The application deadline is April 1.

--Legal Profession--

ATTORNEY WAYNE HOLMES EARNS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT -- Florida Today, http://www.floridatoday.com, March 1, 2013.
Wayne Holmes has worked in the Brevard-Seminole State Attorney's Office for nearly 35 years, the majority of that time spent as chief of staff overseeing operations in the prosecutor's office. Holmes was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Brevard County Bar Association for his dedication to the profession. The Space Coast native talks to Florida Today about his greatest career achievements.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES NINE ATTORNEYS -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, Feb. 28, 2013. [Also: FORMER MIAMI ATTORNEY HAROLD BRAXTON PERMANENTLY DISBARRED -- South Florida Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, March 1, 2013; JACKSONVILE ATTORNEY SUSPENDED FOR MAKING FALSE STATEMENT -- Jacksonville Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, March 1, 2013; JAMES L. HUNTER PERMANENTLY DISBARRED -- Tampa Bay Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com, March 1, 2013; ORLANDO LAWYER SUSPENDED BY COURT -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, March 1, 2013; TWO SOUTH FLORIDA LAWYERS DISCIPLINED -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 1, 2013.]
The Florida Bar, the state's guardian for the integrity of the legal profession, announces that the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined nine attorneys, disbarring four and suspending five. One attorney received more than one form of discipline and was ordered to pay restitution. The articles address disciplinary actions for local attorneys.

--Legislature--

MEASURE AIMS TO OVERHAUL FLORIDA'S MEDICAL MALPRACTICE LAW -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 1, 2013.
Diametric opposites will clash in the Florida Legislature over whether juries should be told about injury-related future medical costs. It is one of many proposals to change the state's medical malpractice law in the legislative session starting Tuesday [March 5]. Another bill would allow defense attorneys to get medical records and question doctors and other health care providers who have not been sued but treated a plaintiff. "Medical malpractice is going to be the biggest tort issue of this session," predicted Gary M. Farmer Jr., legislative chair of the plaintiffs' Bar group Florida Justice Association.

--Civil Justice Issues--

CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT FILED AGAINST CITIZENS -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, March 1, 2013.
A potential class-action lawsuit filed against the state-backed Citizens Property Insurance Corp. alleges the company purposefully deprived customers of windstorm mitigation discounts through an arbitrary re-inspection program that lawyers estimate has cost customers nearly $200 million in lost credits. According to the lawsuit that was filed in South Florida federal court late Wednesday [Feb. 27], Citizens changed the rules mid-game, embarking on a systematic re-inspection campaign, sending out their own inspectors to homes and then revoking credits on technicalities. A judge still has to grant class-action status.

APPEALS COURT BACKS TRAVEL WEBSITES IN HOTEL-TAX FIGHT AGAINST FLORIDA COUNTIES -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Feb. 1, 2013.
Rejecting arguments that Florida counties are being shortchanged, a state appeals court sided Thursday [Feb. 28] with Internet-based travel companies in a major legal battle about payment of hotel taxes. The 1st District Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 ruling, said companies such as Expedia and Orbitz cannot be forced to pay the local "tourist-development tax" on the full amount that they collect from their customers for hotel rooms. The two-judge majority, describing the online-travel companies as "conduits," concluded that part of the room charge paid to such a company by a traveler amounts to a service fee, or reservation charge, and isn't subject to the hotel tax.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

MIAMI-DADE HUMAN TRAFFICKING UNIT GETS FIRST CONVICTION, SENTENCE -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, March 1, 2013.
A Miami Beach man who forced a slew of women into prostitution in South Florida and Nevada will spend 15 years in prison for beating and strangling one of them. A judge on Tuesday [Feb. 26] sentenced Robert Burton, 34, who had been found guilty of domestic battery by strangulation, deriving support from prostitution, kidnapping and interfering with parental custody. His conviction at trial was the first for Miami-Dade prosecutors’ Human Trafficking Unit, said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

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[Revised: 03-04-2013]