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. 13, 2014
STANDING UP FOR OTHERS -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription), Op. Editorial, http://www.jacksonville.com, Jan. 10, 2014.
"Jacksonville Area Legal Aid does tremendous, wide-ranging work — from protecting the rights of homeowners facing foreclosures to launching a valuable course that guides people through the small claims court process. And JALA’s tireless work also directly helps individuals like a disabled woman who was affected when the condominium association in her Jacksonville Beach condo complex decided to restripe the complex’s parking lot, eliminating a handicapped spot that had provided the wheelchair-bound woman easier access to the unit she shares with her mother. The JALA’s fair housing unit took up her plight and met with property management officials who eventually agreed to restore the handicapped parking spot and also take other steps to improve accessibility. Cheers to the JALA for its relentless work."
JEFF ASHTON REFLECTS ON FIRST YEAR AS ORANGE-OSCEOLA STATE ATTORNEY -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Jan. 12, 2014.
On Wednesday [Jan. 8], Orange-Osceola State Attorney Jeff Ashton sat down for an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. In an in-depth discussion, he reflected on his first year as state attorney -- from his conviction rate to "textgate" -- and his goals for the year to come. He had been Orange-Osceola state attorney for almost a year before his first murder trial in December. Ashton won a first-degree-murder conviction and a life sentence, ending his first year in office on a high note.
MEET THE MORGANS: HOW THEY GREW THEIR FIRM BY TAKING CASES NO ONE ELSE WANTED -- Orlando Business Journal (requires subscription), http://www.bizjournals.com, Jan. 12, 2014.
John and Ultima Morgan, both 57, have come a long way since they met at church in Gainesville and graduated from law school at the University of Florida. The couple now own Morgan & Morgan PA, Central Florida’s second-largest law firm with 243 attorneys. Orlando attorney John Morgan recently made headlines for his fight to legalize medicinal marijuana in Florida. He was inspired to become a personal injury lawyer after an accident left his brother a quadriplegic. “I believe he was treated very unfairly by his employer,” said Morgan. When it came to taking cases, Morgan turned no one away. He soon learned that lawyers’ ads actually worked, so after developing an ad budget of $100,000, things began to take off.
SCAMMERS TRY TO GET $400 'FINE' FOR MISSING JURY DUTY -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 10, 2014.
The clerk for South Florida federal courts is warning about a jury scam that has popped up in several states. People called for jury duty elsewhere have reported being contacted by phone by people pretending to be federal agents demanding payment of a $400 fine for missing jury duty, said Steve Larimore, clerk of court for the Southern District of Florida. People who miss jury duty can be held in contempt of court, but the sanction can be imposed only by a judge after an opportunity to explain the failure to appear, Larimore said.
Jury scams are occurring with increasing frequency across the country, sometimes targeting people who weren't even called for jury duty. The phone scam has been reported in New Mexico, Utah and Colorado.
--Civil Justice Issues--
SOUTH FLORIDA LEADS NATION IN CONTROVERSIAL DISABILITY LAWSUITS -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, Jan. 12, 2014.
South Florida has become the runaway national leader in federal disabled-access lawsuits that some say are accomplishing little more than providing quick cash to attorneys. More than one of every five such claims filed in the United States in 2013 originated in the Southern District of Florida. The suits, which allege violations ranging from wheelchair ramps that are too steep to paper-towel dispensers perched too high, now hit South Florida's federal courts more than twice a day and have swelled by 500 percent in the last five years. Just five attorneys and a handful of plaintiffs brought almost two-thirds of the nearly 700 disabled-access suits in Florida's southern district in 2013. Only the attorneys, not the plaintiffs, stand to profit from the suits. The Act does not provide for damages, but it was designed to give citizens incentive to bring the lawsuits by allowing them to recover what they pay for attorneys and court fees. The financial risk of paying the bills for two sets of attorneys motivates many businesses to settle rather than go to court.
JOHN GEORGE "JACK" HOLST -- Fort Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com, Jan. 12, 2014.
John "Jack" George Holst Jr., 82, of Fort Myers, passed away Monday, Jan. 6. Holst served in the U.S. Air Force and graduated from the University of Florida where he received his law degree and met his wife, Louetta Y. Holst. He was an attorney with Henderson Franklin Law Firm most of his career.