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 6, 2014
--The Florida Bar--
OUR OPINION: RECRUITING JUDGES -- Tallahassee Democrat, Editorial, http://www.tallahassee.com, March 6, 2014.
"Eugene Pettis, president of The Florida Bar, has big ideas and energy to match. In his one-year term, which ends in June, Mr. Pettis has pushed initiatives including a leadership academy, a commission on the future of the legal profession in the digital age, and a program to help educate the public about the law . . . Now, Mr. Pettis is confronting his biggest challenge: increasing diversity in the courts. Last week, he appointed a 10-member task force to look at this important issue . . . Part of the problem is that minority lawyers are not applying for judgeships or even for spots on judicial nominating commissions . . . More lawyers must step forward if our judges are to reflect the diversity of our communities."
FLORIDA LAWMAKERS OK NEW SENTENCING GUIDELINES FOR JUVENILES -- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, March 6, 2014. [Also: FLA. SENATE PANEL OKS JUVENILE SENTENCING BILL -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, March 5, 2014; JUVENILE SENTENCING BILL ADVANCES -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, March 5, 2014.]
From The Ledger. Florida lawmakers on Wednesday [March 5] moved closer to resolving sentencing issues for juveniles who commit murders and other serious crimes. A new proposal would allow the non-homicide juveniles to receive a sentencing review at 20 years, followed by another at 30 years if their original sentences were not changed in the initial review. The legislation would bring Florida into compliance with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that held juveniles who commit murders cannot be sentenced to life unless the judge weighs a series of factors. The revised bill drew praise from juvenile advocates and other senators, although it is also clear that they are not ready to embrace the legislation fully. It passed the Senate Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Subcommittee in a 7-5 vote, with advocates saying they would like to see more reviews.
STATE ATTORNEY ARONBERG WEIGHS IN DRUG TRAFFICKING SENTENCES IN TALLAHASSEE -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.palmbeachpost.com, March 6, 2014.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg weighed in on a bill that would lift the mandatory minimum prison sentences for first convictions of drug trafficking certain substances including cocaine, opiates and LSD. The bill passed a Senate panel Monday [March 3]. Aronberg explained his opposition: “This bill would eliminate the mandatory minimum sentence for someone caught with 199 grams of cocaine. So we are not taking about the casual user, we are talking about a drug trafficker, a drug dealer.” Chairman Greg Evers, R-Crestview, concluded that judges would make the decision about whether they could depart from mandatory sentence.
--Civil Justice Issues--
ATTORNEYS SUCCESSFULLY DEFEND HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS AGAINST MEDMAL CLAIMS -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 6, 2014.
Attorneys Edward Blumberg, John Kelner and Burt Redlus successfully represented Guy J. Angella, M.D., Stephen E. Solomon, D.O., and Gail P. Ballweg, M.D., from Eye Surgery Associates in a medical malpractice suit. Robin Helfan experienced a sudden loss of peripheral vision in 2005 and visited her ophthalmologist, Dr. Guy Angella, who brought in Ballweg and Solomon as consultants. Helfan alleged she was misdiagnosed by the doctors and suffered from increased cerebral spinal fluid in her brain. If treated early and appropriately, her lawyers argued, she could have recovered but is now legally blind. Following a three-week trial where they heard testimony from various experts, jurors deliberated for three hours before clearing all doctors and handing the defense a complete victory.
CARNIVAL, PASSENGERS IN COURT OVER DISABLED SHIP -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, March 6, 2014.
By The Associated Press. About three dozen passengers who sailed on the Carnival Triumph cruise ship that drifted at sea for days are hoping to collect thousands of dollars apiece as a result of lingering medical and mental problems they say were caused by their experience. Their lawsuit is being defended by Miami-based Carnival Corp. Two maritime law experts said the trial already set an important precedent in cruise line cases when the judge ruled Carnival was negligent simply because the fire broke out, regardless of the reason. The passengers have told their story to Senior U.S. District Judge Donald Graham, who is hearing the case without a jury. Testimony is expected to wrap up this week, and Graham could decide whether the passengers deserve any damages at any time. According to Carnival, at least nine other Triumph lawsuits are pending in South Florida federal court, including a proposed class-action that seeks to represent all of the roughly 3,000 passengers aboard the ship.