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.
Nov. 12, 2013
PALM BEACH COUNTY LAW FIRM LOOKS TO FILL 'MENTOR' GAP FOR FORMER FOSTER KIDS -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.pbpost.com, Nov. 10, 2013. [Also: MONEY LACKING FOR LAW TO AID FORMER FOSTER KIDS -- Palm Beach Post (requires subscription), http://www.pbpost.com, Nov. 10, 2013.]
West Palm Beach law firm Greenberg Traurig operates a program that helps kids aging out of foster care with legal, financial and other issues they confront as they try to make their way as adults. Lawyers at the firm help the budding adults open bank accounts, apply for school and jobs, and otherwise teach them to use their money wisely. Because they are lawyers, they can also help them when more complicated problems arise, such as guardianships or foreclosures. A law passed by Florida legislators in the spring will allow foster kids to remain in the system until they are 21 through the Independent Living Program. But Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Ron Alvarez, chief juvenile court judge, said the need for services of volunteer attorneys will not diminish and could actually increase once the law goes into effect Jan. 1.
CABA HOSTS CONFERENCE ON LATIN AMERICA -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Nov. 8, 2013.
Nearly 100 lawyers turned out today [Nov. 8] in Miami for a Cuban American Bar Association conference exploring the legal aspects of doing business in Latin America. Speakers discussed trade opportunities and emerging businesses, applications of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in Latin American countries, tips for successful international arbitration, what type of immigration reforms Congress is likely to pass and cross-border dispute resolution. Speakers included executives from Telemundo, Univision Communications Inc. and Royal Caribbean International Ltd.; Eric Bustillo, regional director of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Erik P. Kimball in West Palm Beach.
SO. FLA. JUDGE NOMINATED TO U.S. APPEALS COURT -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Nov. 10, 2013.
By The Associated Press. U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum of Fort Lauderdale has been nominated by President Barack Obama for a seat on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Rosenbaum's nomination requires Senate confirmation. The Atlanta-based 11th Circuit hears federal appeals from courts in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Rosenbaum is a former federal prosecutor who got her law degree from the University of Miami. She was appointed a federal magistrate judge in 2007 and was named a district judge by Obama in 2012.
BROWARD CIRCUIT JUDGE EILEEN O'CONNOR RETIRING -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Nov. 11, 2013.
Broward Circuit Judge Eileen M. O'Connor will retire from the bench next year, three years short of completing her current term. O'Connor, 64, presides in the civil division. "After 42 years of public service on both the state and federal levels, I have decided to retire," O'Connor said in a letter to Gov. Rick Scott, who will appoint a replacement. O'Connor chose next April 30 as her last day of service. She was appointed to the circuit bench in May 2003 by former Gov. Jeb Bush and successfully won re-election in a 2010 primary to a term expiring Jan. 2, 2017. She earned her law degree at Suffolk University School of Law in 1976 and a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of Massachusetts.
JUDGES RECEIVE NEW DUTIES -- Florida Keys News, http://keysnews.com, Nov. 10, 2013.
Chief Circuit Judge David Audlin is required by the Florida Supreme Court to schedule judges to specific dockets every six months, and his latest order directs circuit Judge Tegan Slaton to handle more high-profile criminal cases come the start of the new year. Circuit Judge Mark Jones will still handle felony criminal cases, but Slaton will be picking up about a third of them, Audlin said. The move will also help Slaton become certified to hear death penalty cases, as part of the Florida Supreme Court requirement that circuit judges work the felony criminal docket beforehand. Audlin wants all the Keys judges to be certified to hear all kinds of cases, which gives him flexibility in assigning judges, he said. In all, the changes should help the courts continue to process the litany of property foreclosure cases that have spiked since the 2008 housing market crash.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
FLORIDA BAR SAYS KEL FLOUTS ETHICS RULES -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Nov. 12, 2013.
The Florida Bar is asking the Florida Supreme Court to discipline Orlando's KEL law firm partners for what it says was a sales operation more focused on signing up foreclosure-defense clients than helping them save their homes. The Bar's regulatory complaint alleges that for about five years, partners Jeffrey Kaufman, Matt Englett and Craig Lynd oversaw an high-volume sales organization that rewarded non-lawyer workers for the number of clients they brought in and fees they amassed. KEL's system made it "unreasonably difficult for clients to directly communicate with the attorney assigned to the client's matter," the complaint said. The Bar's complaint seeks unspecified penalties. The Supreme Court has the final say on the matter.
--Unlicensed Practice of Laww--
HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION MANAGERS SQUABBLE WITH FLORIDA BAR OVER DUTIES -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Nov. 9, 2013.
A group representing homeowners’ association managers is fighting with The Florida Bar over its attempt to declare some of their actions the unlicensed practice of law. Last year, the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law Section of The Florida Bar petitioned its Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law for an advisory opinion holding some community association managers, or CAMs in the state, practices could only be conducted by lawyers. The committee in the opinion declared any activity requiring an interpretation of statute, legal analysis or description of real property to be the unlicensed practice of law if conducted by someone who is not a lawyer. The opinion was submitted to the Florida Supreme Court for approval and is pending a decision. Mark Anderson, lobbyist for Chief Executive Officers of Management Companies, a CAM trade group, said the Bar is pushing through new rules for association managers with little input from them. Lori Holcomb, Unlicensed Practice of Law counsel for The Florida Bar, counters that the advisory opinion largely reiterates a previous opinion issued in 1996, and CAMs were allowed to present at all but one Florida Bar committee meeting on the issue.
--Civil Justice Issues--
COURT LIMITS POWER OF JUDGES TO ORDER OUT-OF-STATE DEFENDANTS TO PRODUCE EVIDENCE -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Nov. 8, 2013. [Also: SUPREME COURT RULES AGAINST DRUNK DRIVERS -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Nov. 8, 2013.]
In a case that took five years to litigate, the Florida Supreme Court said a Kentucky-based manufacturer of a breathalyzer device doesn't have to provide source code for its product based on a subpoena by drunken-driving defendants without a reciprocal hearing in its own state. Attorney Edward G. Guedes, representing Owensboro, Ky.-based CMI Inc., said DUI defense attorneys started asking in Florida courts for the source code rather than travel to Kentucky to get testimony from CMI officials on the device that measures blood-alcohol content by analyzing a person's breath. Judges all over Florida ordered CMI to produce the code without a reciprocal hearing in Kentucky. Justice Barbara Pariente, in the unanimous 25-page opinion, found that drunken-driving defendants must adhere to the uniform law to secure the attendance of out-of-state witnesses in criminal proceedings, which calls for hearings in both Florida and the jurisdiction of the out-of-state business.
EDITORIAL: PROTECTING THE RIGHTS OF ALL PARENTS -- Tampa Bay Times, Editorial, http://www.tampabay.com, Nov. 8, 2013.
"Florida law has long been clear that when heterosexual parents split up, neither parent loses his or her rights. Now a narrow majority of the Florida Supreme Court has come to the enlightened conclusion that similar protections must apply as well to same-sex couples who share children. The ruling is another enlightened strike against discrimination and a reminder that state law has not yet evolved to match the reality of modern families or the myriad scenarios by which technology allows them to expand . . . In this case, the Florida Supreme Court found in the interest of the child but also in the interest of equal rights. That is the right call."