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. 29, 2014
APPLICATION OPEN FOR POLK COUNTY JUDGE -- The Ledger, http://www.theledger.com, Jan. 29, 2014.
Applications are being accepted to fill a vacancy on the Polk County bench. The position has become available with Gov. Rick Scott's appointment earlier this month of Reinaldo Ojeda to the circuit bench. Applications to fill the vacant county judge position are being accepted by the 10th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, which will select candidates to submit to Scott's office. The deadline to submit applications is 5 p.m., Feb. 10.
JQC RECOMMENDS SUSPENSION, FINE AND REPRIMAND FOR JUDGE HAWKINS -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, Jan. 29, 2014. [Also: LEON JUDGE FACES FINE, SUSPENSION, REPRIMAND -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Jan. 29, 2014.]
The Florida Judicial Qualifications Commission recommended Tuesday [Jan. 28] that Leon County Judge Judith Hawkins be suspended for 90 days, fined $17,000 and publicly reprimanded for running a private business from her court offices and trying to thwart an investigation of her activities. The recommendation to the Florida Supreme Court praised her long record of public service and community involvement but the panel said her conduct, overall, could not be condoned -- particularly since it involved allegations that she destroyed records and misrepresented some information in the JQC investigation. Hawkins, elected to the Leon County bench in 1996, was accused of using court time, staff and facilities to produce books and other materials for a company she formed, known as ABC.
--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--
A YEAR LATER, HIGH PROFILE CASE INVOLVING TAMPA LAWYERS DRAGS ON -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, Jan. 24, 2014.
Investigations around the Tampa high profile case that stemmed from the defamation suit brought by Todd MJ Schnitt against Bubba the Love Sponge Clem and featured the involvement of employees of the Adams Diaco law firm, resulting in the DUI arrest of Tampa lawyer C. Philip Campbell, continue a year later. The Florida Bar, which disciplines lawyers, is investigating three attorneys at Tampa's Adams Diaco firm -- Robert Adams, Stephen Diaco and Adam Filthaut, but no decision has been made. The FBI is also investigating. Tampa police Chief Jane Castor said their investigation is ongoing.
--Civil Justice Issues--
CLASS ACTION WIN AGAINST FORECLOSURE KING STERN -- Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com, Jan. 29, 2014.
More than 1,000 Florida borrowers will share in a $831,110 class action award for being billed unlawful foreclosure-related fees by the Law Offices of David J. Stern. The judgment, which is believed to be the first successful class action lawsuit against Stern, was finalized last week by Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown. Filed in 2009, the suit challenged the costs charged by Stern’s firm to deliver additional foreclosure summonses on “John and Jane Doe” and other unknown parties who may have claims on a property. Stern was disbarred by the Florida Supreme Court earlier this month.
PROMINENT MIAMI LAWYER TOM TEW DIES AT 73 -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Jan. 29, 2014. [Also: THOMAS DEW DIES OF PANCREATIC CANCER -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Jan. 28, 2014.]
One of Miami’s legal lions, C. Thomas Tew Jr. died Monday [Jan. 27] night after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Tew started his legal career in a tiny Biscayne Boulevard office with his mother as his secretary and capped it with a boutique law firm in the Four Seasons Tower on tony Brickell Avenue. As Miami turned into an international business hub, Tew earned a reputation as one of the city’s top civil lawyers. He advised an array of South Florida banks and corporations on mergers and bankruptcies. Tew’s brother, Jeffrey, said that Tom liked to give back to the community but in his own private way, one person at a time.