The Florida Bar

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.

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March 14, 2014

--Legal Profession--

COLUMN: REUBIN ASKEW, FLORIDA'S SELFLESS PUBLIC SERVANT -- Tampa Bay Times, Column,, March 13, 2014. [Also: ASKEW REMEMBERED AS A PIVOTAL LEADER -- The Florida Current,, March 14, 2014; HOW TO HONOR FORMER GOV. REUBIN ASKEW'S MEMORY -- ContextFlorida,, March 14, 2014; OUR OPINION: LEADERSHIP -- Tallahassee Democrat, Editorial,, March 14, 2014.]
Columnist Martin Dyckman writes for the Times, "[Gov. Reubin] Askew's love for the law -- his profession -- and for the integrity of the courts ran so deep that he voluntarily gave up the power to gift a governor's friends with vacant judgeships. He created nominating commissions, sharing the appointment power with The Florida Bar, so that he could not dictate who would be proposed for judgeships. A Republican lawyer of my acquaintance called it the most unselfish thing any governor ever did. His most recent successors haven't been so selfless. The nominating commissions have been reduced to patronage committees . . . Though others despaired, Askew didn't. He told friends he was confident Florida and the nation would come around once again. Such was his faith in his country and his God."

UF FALLS BEHIND FSU IN LAW RANKS, HOLDS MEETING TO ADDRESS CONCERNS -- Independent Florida Alligator,, March 13, 2014.
A new U.S. News & World Report ranking of 2015’s best law schools placed Florida State University above University of Florida. Robert Jerry, the dean of UF’s Levin College of Law, held a meeting with about 20 law students Wednesday [March 12] to address their concerns about what this ranking means for the college. Jerry explained that not only is the methodology of the ranking system questionable, but also several universities have been working the system in their favor to climb the ranks — including FSU. Location has been shown to skew results for evaluating employment, as FSU’s Tallahassee location places it close to state-government employers. Jerry will be leaving office in three months, and he said he hopes the new dean’s fresh start will take the college in a positive direction.


SENATOR MAKING SMART MOVES FOR JUSTICE -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription), Editorial,, March 14, 2014.
Sen. Rob Bradley, former assistant state attorney and Clay County commissioner, has been tackling one of Florida’s major challenges: its criminal justice system. During a recent session with the Times-Union editorial board, Bradley, chairman of the Senate’s criminal and civil justice appropriations subcommittee, shared insights regarding his extensive work on those issues. Bradley is the key sponsor of Senate Bill 526, which imposes tougher minimum sentences on those committing sexual offenses against children. Bradley also has a different take on Florida’s draconian method of punishing nonviolent drug offenders. Because of mandatory minimum sentences for many nonviolent drug offenses, many offenders are being jailed when they could be held just as accountable through alternative sentences that don’t require imprisonment. The editorial states that "Fortunately, "reasoned” and “rational” have been suitable descriptions for Bradley’s legislative style in Tallahassee. His constructive approach has not merely benefited his constituents in Clay County but all Floridians."

--Civil Justice Issues--

$1 MILLION NON-ECONOMIC DAMAGES CAP RULE UNCONSTITUTIONAL -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription),, March 14, 2014. [Also: FLA. SUPREME COURT REJECTS DAMAGE CAPS ON MEDICAL MALPRACTICE -- Miami Herald,, March 14, 2013; FLA. SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN CAP ON 'PAIN AND SUFFERING' AWARDS -- Tampa Tribune,, March 14, 2014.]
The Florida Supreme Court threw out a state law capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases, finding it violated the equal protection clause of the state Constitution. The court split 5-2 in rejecting the $1 million cap imposed by the Legislature in 2003. The ruling took on a law pushed through by then-Gov. Jeb Bush with the backing of powerful doctor, hospital, insurance and other business lobbies. The groups claimed high medical malpractice awards produced skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance rates and were pushing doctors out of Florida. Lewis wrote at length on the conditions in play at the time the law was passed when the medical community warned of a physician shortage due to escalating malpractice premiums. He concluded the cap “does not bear a rational relationship to the stated purpose that the cap is purported to address—the alleged medical malpractice insurance crisis in Florida.”


FLETCHER MOCK TRIAL TEAM WINS STATE -- The Beaches Leader,, March 13, 2014.
For the second time in school history, Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach will be representing its state at the National High School Mock Trial Championship. The high school, named after a famous Florida attorney and statesman, is a perennial power on the high school mock trial circuit.

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[Revised: 03-17-2014]