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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.

Jan. 9, 2014

--Judiciary--

GOV. SCOTT APPOINTS POLK'S NEW CIRCUIT JUDGE -- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Jan. 9, 2014.
Gov. Rick Scott selected Polk County Judge Reinaldo Ojeda on Wednesday [Jan. 8] to become the local bench's newest circuit judge. Ojeda was chosen to fill an open spot in the 10th Judicial Circuit. He fills a vacancy created with the retirement of Circuit Judge Harvey Kornstein, whose term expires in 2017. Ojeda began his legal career in 2001 working for the State Attorney's Office in Bartow. As a prosecutor, he handled a variety of criminal cases. 

JUDGE WILLIAM THOMAS NOT RENOMINATED FOR FEDERAL BENCH -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 8, 2014.
Attorneys and lawmakers expressed outrage and disappointment Wednesday [Jan. 8] that the White House withdrew the federal judicial nomination of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge William Thomas, who is black and openly gay. The nomination was blocked by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Miami Republican. Thomas, who was nominated in November 2012, was the only one of 54 pending judicial candidates not renominated by the Obama administration this week. Rubio initially supported Thomas after interviewing him for an open federal bench position in the Southern District of Florida but reversed himself last summer. Rubio cited two criminal cases handled by Thomas even though prosecutors in both cases urged him to support Thomas. Rubio questioned Thomas' judicial temperament and willingness to impose appropriate criminal sentences.


--Legal Profession--

AMID TOUGHER COMPETITION, TAMPA'S FOWLER WHITE BOGGS LAW FIRM ENTERTAINS A MERGER -- Tampa Bay Times, Column, http://www.tampabay.com, Jan. 9, 2014. [Also: FOWLER WHITE MERGER TALKS REFLECT NATIONAL TRENDS -- Tampa Bay Business Journal (requires subscription), http://www.bizjournals.com, Jan. 9, 2014; BUCHANAN INGERSOLL IN MERGER TALKS WITH FOWLER WHITE BOGGS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 8, 2014.]
Fowler White Boggs, a prominent Tampa law firm, is deep into merger talks with the far larger law firm of Buchanan Ingersoll Rooney in Pittsburgh. This is no done deal. If it happens, the 97-lawyer Fowler White firm and 450-lawyer Buchanan Ingersoll firm will reach most of the Northeast and Florida. A merger would further highlight three trends in the legal community. Law firm combinations nationwide last year totaled 88, an increase of 47 percent over the 60 combinations in 2012, according to Altman Weil, a management consulting business focused on legal organizations. It is the most law firm combinations since Altman Weil began compiling data in 2007. Fowler White CEO Rhea Law, one of the bay area's most influential business leaders, said in a statement that her firm gets many inquiries in the normal course of business from firms wanting to expand in Florida.

BONDI CHIEF OF STAFF TAKES JOB AS LAW FIRM VICE PRESIDENT -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Jan. 9, 2014.
By The Associated Press. Carlos Muniz, chief of staff for Attorney General Pam Bondi, is leaving state government and taking a new job. Muniz, who was also deputy state attorney general, joined McGuireWoods Consulting as a senior vice president on Dec. 31. He is also going to be a partner for the McGuireWoods law firm. He will be based in the Jacksonville office. Muniz had worked for Bondi since she took office in 2011. Bondi's office has not yet announced a replacement for Muniz.

--Civil Justice Issues--

COST FOR BREAKING SUNSHINE LAW TOPS $187,000, LAWYER SAYS -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription), http://www.jacksonville.com, Jan. 9, 2014.
Lawyers for Times-Union Editor Frank Denton want Jacksonville City Hall to pay $187,000 in bills they racked up showing city officials broke the Sunshine Law during closed-door pension talks. All of those costs “were reasonably necessary” and should be carried by the city or Jacksonville’s Police and Fire Pension Fund, Denton’s attorney, George Gabel, told Circuit Judge Waddell Wallace in papers filed Tuesday [Jan. 7]. Denton sued in both state and federal courts in June, after Mayor Alvin Brown proposed changes to the city’s police and fire retirement system based on closed-door talks. City spokesman David DeCamp and pension fund administrator John Keane said Wednesday [Jan. 8] they didn’t know yet how much the legal fees for their organizations totaled.

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[Revised: 01-10-2014]