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.
October 2, 2013
COUNCIL PICKS FIRST IN-HOUSE ATTORNEY -- Keysnews.com , http://www.keysnews.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
The Village Council has tapped Roget Bryan to be Islamorada's first in-house attorney. The selection of Bryan, who for nine years has been the contracted assistant city attorney in Broward County's West Park, came last Friday [Sept. 27] in a razor-thin vote.
ON THE BENCH AND IN THE SADDLE -- Highlands Today, http://www.highlandstoday.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
South Florida native Judge Don T. Hall is in his fourth term as elected DeSoto County judge, making this his 19th year on the bench. He handles the county's criminal as well as civil cases, doing his part in the judicial system to protect the community and to help people when he can. Hall is also a rancher and president of the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo Association.
WHY ARBITRATION MAY BE COUNTER-TRENDING -- Daily Business Review, http://www.dailybusinessreview.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
Historically, arbitration evolved out of the need for an alternative to traditional litigation within our public court systems. Clients wanted a less time-consuming and more cost-effective method to resolve conflicts. However, recently a counter-trend against arbitration has emerged. As a consequence of extended discovery, and the fact that arbitrators are allowing more and more information (even hearsay and nonrelevant testimony) to be admitted, the length of time and cost that it takes to arbitrate a case is drastically increasing. Moreover, because there is a very limited right to appeal or contest an arbitration award, clients and some litigators are disfavoring arbitration and looking for alternate ways to resolve conflicts including going back to the courts for resolution of their disputes.
--Legal Ethics/Lawyer Discipline--
JUDGE TOSSES SEVERAL CHARGES IN ALLIED CASE AGAINST JACKSONVILLE LAWYER -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.times-union.com , Oct. 2, 2013. [Also: KELLY MATHIS HAS AT LEAST 50 MONEY-LAUNDERING CHARGES DROPPED IN ALLIED CASE -- St. Augustine Record, http://www.staugustine.com , Oct. 2, 2013.]
A Florida judge on Tuesday [Oct. 1] threw out about a third of the more than 150 charges against a Jacksonville attorney accused of using a veterans group as a front for a $300 million gambling operation. Judge Kenneth Lester tossed out at least 50 money-laundering charges against Kelly Mathis. A jury will still decide whether he is guilty of about 100 other charges of racketeering, running a lottery and possessing slot machines related to Allied Veterans of the World.
FLORIDA FORECLOSURE KING IS A SCAPEGOAT, ATTORNEY SAYS AT HEARING -- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com , Oct. 1, 2013.
The dethroned foreclosure king of Florida sat in a dingy Broward County courtroom Monday [Sept. 30] as charges of legal misconduct were levied against him and his once massive home repossession machine. It was the first day of a Florida Bar trial pursuing 17 complaints against attorney David J. Stern, whose Plantation-based company — the largest so-called “foreclosure mill” in the state — was shuttered more than two years ago following allegations of notary fraud, forgery and flawed court documents. Stern’s company handled more than 100,000 foreclosures statewide when it was fired by most of its major clients in the fall of 2010 following the launch of an investigation by former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. Within weeks, the term robo-signing became mainstream as law firms and banks nationwide were accused of allowing people to sign-off on documents they never read, or forge other people’s signatures to hasten case processing. The 83-page Florida Bar complaint against Stern alleges that one of his high-ranking employees allowed her name to be signed by others and was rewarded with a high salary, payment of household bills and a new car.
3 ORLANDO-AREA LAWYERS DISCIPLINED -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com , Oct. 2, 2013. [Also: FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINED 3 C. FLA. ATTORNEYS -- Orlando Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/orlando, Oct. 2, 2013.]
A Winter Park lawyer and two Orlando lawyers were among two dozen attorneys disciplined recently by the Florida Supreme Court. According to The Florida Bar, which administers the court's statewide disciplinary system, Ronald Haury Roby, of Winter Park, was suspended until further order following an Aug. 21 court order. Andrea Black, of Orlando, is to be publicly reprimanded by publication in the Southern Reporter as the result of an Aug. 7 court order. David Diaz, of Orlando, was to be publicly reprimanded following a Sept. 3 court order.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT DISCIPLINES 24 ATTORNEYS, DISBARS 5 -- Fort Myers News-Press, http://www.news-press.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
The Florida Bar announces the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders disciplined 24 attorneys; disbarring five, revoking the license of one, suspending nine and publicly reprimanding eight. Allen David Brufsky, Naples, was disbarred effective immediately, following an Aug. 7 court order. F. Joseph McMackin III, Naples, was to be publicly reprimanded following an Aug. 7 court order. Karen Elizabeth Miller, Fort Myers, was publicly reprimanded following an Aug. 7 court order, and shall be on probation for three years.
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SUSPENDS TWO JACKSONVILLE ATTORNEYS -- Jacksonville Business Journal, http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville, Oct. 2, 2013.
Two Jacksonville attorneys were among 24 to be disciplined by the Florida Supreme Court in recent court orders. Casey Roche Bryant was suspended until further order, following an Aug. 21 court order, for violation of the terms of his conditional admission to the Bar. Wesley Haynes Owens was suspended for one year, following an Aug. 7 court order, for failing to comply with the terms of an emergency probation in October 2011 and he was subsequently suspended for 91 days.
--Civil Justice Issues --
WHEN KIDS COMMIT CRIMES -- Folio Weekly, http://www.folioweekly.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
Hank Coxe III and Lawanda Ravoira, both experienced in dealing with Florida's juveniles, will express their views along with nine other speakers covering a wide variety of topics ranging from hunger to government to the interplay of simple human interactions during the second year of TEDx Jacksonville on Oct. 26. TEDx is a local, self-organized event that brings people together, based on the popular TED talks. TED is an acronym for technology, entertainment and design and the x means it is a local event, licensed by TED. The license is free, but organizers have to follow strict TED guidelines. Coxe was one of a group of local defense attorneys who worked out the deal with prosecutors preventing Cristian Fernandez from spending much of his life in prison. Coxe will speak on the way youth are imprisoned in Florida. Coxe said he believes it is "fundamentally contrary to a truly civilized society" to imprison so many young offenders.
EDITORIAL: FAILURE TO ACT -- Gainesville Sun, editorial, http://www.gainesville.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
The editorial states: "It’s been more than three years since the U.S. Supreme Court found that Florida was illegally sentencing juveniles to life without parole for crimes other than murder. The failure of state lawmakers to subsequently reform juvenile sentencing laws means that the courts might decide the issue for them. Lawmakers need to do their jobs and establish a sensible system, one that accounts for the inherent differences between juvenile and adult offenders . . .The Supreme Court’s decision was based in part on the idea that juveniles, by their very nature, fail to appreciate risk and consequences. Someone who committed a heinous crime as a juvenile could be a different person more than two decades later. Whether they call it parole or something else, lawmakers should establish a review system for long juvenile sentences. Otherwise, the courts will just have to do their jobs for them."
PALM BEACH LAW ENFORCEMENT KICKS OFF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH -- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
The Domestic Violence Council of Palm Beach County — which coordinates efforts among victim services providers, community-based agencies, law enforcement and the court system — has several activities planned for the month of October.
JOHN S. WILBUR JR. -- The Palm Beach Post, http://www.pbpost.com , Oct. 2, 2013.
Attorney John S. Wilbur, Jr., 72 years old, died July 26 in West Palm Beach. Wilbur was a trial lawyer and partner of the law firm of Coe & Broberg, Palm Beach, before moving back to Cleveland in 1994.