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.
March 28, 2014
FSU COLLEGE OF LAW TO START JURIS MASTER PROGRAM -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 28, 2014.
Florida State University College of Law will start offering a one-year juris master program this fall. The master's degree is geared to students who want to enhance their knowledge of the law but don't want to commit to three years of law school. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree. Graduates of the program would not be eligible to take The Florida Bar exam. The 25-credit curriculum includes two courses specially designed for the program—Introduction to Legal Studies and Introduction to Legal Research—as well as two courses from the J.D. curriculum and electives.
PROVISIONAL SANTA ROSA COURTHOUSE CONTRACT OK'D -- Pensacola News Journal, http://www.pnj.com , March 28, 2014.
At their meeting Thursday [March 27] morning, Santa Rosa County commissioners moved forward in both selecting a possible location of a new county courthouse. The commission voted to approve a $1.4 million contract with Milton Crossings for a 22-acre parcel of land located on U.S. 90 in Pea Ridge. Commissioners selected the site in February for voter consideration.
HOMEOWNER GROUP MANAGERS PUSH BILLS TO CLARIFY DUTIES -- The Florida Current, http://www.thefloridacurrent.com, March 28, 2014. [Also: BILL AIMS TO RESOLVE CONFLICT OVER HOMEOWNER ASSOCIATION MANAGERS -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, March 28, 2014.]
Community association managers are wary of a looming opinion from the Florida Supreme Court that could define much of their activities as the unlicensed practice of law. They’re hoping bills moving through the Legislature will clarify their management of homeowner and condo association funds, meetings and other duties like filing liens on property. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, is sponsoring a bill that would define duties such as collecting association dues, determining the time needed for statutory notices and others as valid CAM practices. The Florida Bar, however, is concerned that CAMs aren't liable to HOAs in their contract for mistakes they make, should not be authorized to write construction or other property liens and the potential to abuse new fees. Pete Dunbar, lobbyist for the Real Property, Probate & Trust Section of The Florida Bar, said the Supreme Court decision will ultimately decide how much CAMs can do that isn't the unlicensed practice of law.
--Legal Ethics/Lawyer Discipline--
COURT SEEKS ETHICS INVESTIGATION AGAINST TWO MIAMI ATTORNEYS -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, March 28, 2014.
The Florida Supreme Court asked The Florida Bar on Thursday [March 27] to open an investigation into alleged ethics violations by Miami plaintiffs attorneys Steven Hunter of Hunter Williams & Lynch and Philip Gerson of Gerson & Schwartz. In addition, the court quashed a Third District Court of Appeal ruling that allowed Hunter and Gerson to continue representing clients in a lawsuit against the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. Hunter and Gerson have been among a group of attorneys representing flight attendants on their individual claims against cigarette makers. In 2010, Hunter and Gerson sought a financial accounting of FAMRI, an injunction against further expenditures and a dispersing of fund directly to the clients, who received no money under a settlement. Several clients objected to the new lawsuit and claimed it created a conflict of interest. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jerald Bagley agreed and disqualified Hunter and Gerson, but the appeals court reversed the decision. The Supreme Court said the Third District "lacked the constitutional authority to adopt a new test," and should have interpreted the case by applying the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct.
DEATH PENALTY OVERTURNED IN JACKSONVILLE CASE -- Florida Times-Union (requires subscription), http://www.jacksonville.com, March 28, 2014. [Also: FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REVERSES DEATH SENTENCE -- Naples Daily News, http://www.naplesnews.com, March 27, 2014.]
The Florida Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence of Michael Mulugetta Yacob from Jacksonville, convicted of killing 19-year-old store clerk Moussa Maida at his family owned convenience store in Arlington. Yacob, 28, will be resentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In a 5-2 ruling released Thursday [March 27], the Supreme Court said Maida’s murder was not proportionate to other cases in which the death sentence has been upheld. Prosecutors in the office of State Attorney Angela Corey pursued the death penalty for Yacob even though the only aggravating factor that justified death was that the murder had been committed during a felony, in this case the robbery of the convenience store.
JOSEPH F. PAPA -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, March 28, 2014.
Joseph F. Papa, 75, of Boca Raton, passed away on March 14. In 1978, Papa relocated his family from Rochester, N.Y. and established a successful law practice which served the Boca Raton community for more than 40 years.
1933-2014: RETIRED CIRCUIT JUDGE DOROTHY PATE WAS A JUVENILE JUSTICE NATIONAL LEADER -- Florida Times-Union, http://www.jacksonville.com, March 28, 2014.
Dorothy “Dot” Pate, a retired Circuit Court judge who was considered a national leader in the juvenile justice system, died last week. She retired in 1993 after 17 years on the bench.