The Florida Bar
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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.


Links to online newspapers

April 16, 2014

--Legal Profession--

FSU LAW STUDENTS NO. 2 IN STATE TAKING BAR EXAM -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, April 16, 2014.
Florida State University law school students taking The Florida Bar Examination for the first time in February fared well above the state average. Twenty-four of 29 FSU students passed the exam, giving FSU an 82.8 percent passage rate, well above the 72.9 percent state average. First place Stetson University had 51 of its 60 students pass the exam, or 85 percent. Students from 11 Florida law schools sat for the two-day exam Feb. 25-26 in Tampa.

--Judiciary--

JUDGE IN LAURA WATSON'S ETHICS TRIAL: REMOVE HER FROM THE BENCH -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, April 15, 2014.
Fifth District Court of Appeal Judge Kerry Evander on Tuesday [April 15] recommended the removal from the bench for Broward Circuit Judge Laura Watson. Evander, in a report to the Florida Supreme Court, concluded that as an attorney, Watson "committed serious, flagrant violations of ethical rules." Evander also emphasized her unwillingness to admit her wrongdoing and her many attempts to attack the character of the state Judicial Qualifications Commission panel that heard her trial and the prosecutor, Miles McGrane. Watson was one of a group of personal injury protection lawyers who in 2002 retained a group of Miami attorneys who were experts in bad faith claims. The bad faith attorneys sued and won a case in 2008. The PIP attorneys, Watson among them, attempted to cut the bad faith attorneys out of their share of legal fees and took numerous missteps that kept their clients unaware of the full scope of the settlement and its implications to them. The Florida Bar subsequently investigated Watson. The Bar found probable cause against Watson, but she was elected to the bench shortly after its finding in 2012, so her case was forwarded to the JQC.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Profession--

SOUTH FLORIDA LAWYER ACCUSED OF FAILING TO PAY INCOME TAXES -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel, http://www.sun-sentinel.com, April 16, 2014.
South Florida lawyer Steven E. Siff has been criminally charged after admitting that he stopped filing taxes around 1997. Siff reported himself to The Florida Bar in October 2012, one month after the IRS served a subpoena on the Miami law firm where he worked, court records show. Siff said he was suffering from a "serious depressive disorder" that overwhelmed him and he developed a gambling addiction more recently, according to documents his lawyer filed with The Florida Bar. An attorney since 1982, he stopped practicing in 2012 and has asked the Bar to suspend his law license. Siff was charged Monday [April 14] with three counts of failing to file an income tax return.

--Legislature--

TASK FORCE MEMBERS URGE MALPRACTICE CAP AMENDMENT -- Tampa Bay Times, http://www.tampabay.com, April 16, 2014.
By The Associated Press. Members of a 2002 task force appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush recommended a cap for individuals on non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, and the Legislature passed it in 2003. Now the members of that task force are calling for a constitutional amendment that would place the caps on solid footing, following a Florida Supreme Court decision that struck down caps on certain awards in medical malpractice lawsuits. The five members of the task force wrote to Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford on April 9, asking for the proposed amendment. The five members who signed the letter wrote that the court decision left them in a "disheartening" position. Last month, Florida's high court ruled that the caps violate the equal protection guarantee in the state's constitution.

--Tech Tip--

HOW TO ADD THE WINDOWS CALCULATOR TO THE QUICK ACCESS TOOLBAR IN EXCEL 2010 AND 2013 -- The Florida Bar, http://www.flabar.org, April 15, 2014.
If you use the Windows Calculator while creating spreadsheets in Excel, you can save time by adding the calculator to the Quick Access Toolbar in Excel. Now you won’t have to leave the program to access your calculator. 

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[Revised: 04-17-2014]