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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.

Feb. 19, 2014

--Legal Profession--

WHY PRO BONO WORK MATTERS TO STEPHEN MOSCA -- Jacksonville Daily Record, http://www.jaxdailyrecord.com, Feb. 18, 2014.
Interview with pro bono attorney Stephen Mosca. When it appeared that a Chapter 7 bankruptcy action would be in one of his client's best interest, he agreed to assist her with that. His efforts resulted in his client regaining solid financial and personal footing. He says, "One reason for being a lawyer is to help people in an immediate, personal and tangible way, and this was certainly one of those cases. During the course of my representation, I grew as an attorney, learned a great deal about foreclosure defense, civil law, generally, and bankruptcy law, but I also had the pleasure of seeing my efforts being rewarded directly as my client and her child recovered from their hardship and moved on with renewed resources and purpose."

BUSINESS BOOMS FOR DIVORCE ATTORNEYS POST-VALENTINE'S DAY -- Jupiter Courier, http://www.tcpalm.com, Feb. 19, 2014.
Ironically, business is booming on the first Monday after Valentine's Day at the Divorce Center in Tampa. Every year, divorce attorneys across the country prepare for the fallout when couples fall out of love. January through March is known industry-wide as "divorce season," with February being typically the peak. According to relationship counselor Candace MacDowall, the holidays can play a big part in the uptick. When the expectations are high, she says, disappointment can happen easily. In addition to the holiday letdown, divorce attorney Howard Iken pointed out February also corresponds with tax time. He says many of his clients use their refunds to pay for their attorney fees.

--Legislature--

CANDIDATE PUSHED CONTROVERSIAL COURT REFORM DURING PREVIOUS STINT IN STATE HOUSE -- Orlando Sentinel, http://www.orlandosentinel.com, Feb. 19, 2014.
Three years ago, former state Rep. Eric Eisnaugle tried to remake the Florida Supreme Court, sponsoring a controversial "court reform" plan that ultimately failed amid intense criticism from judges and civic watchdogs. Eisnaugle is now running in the special election for House District 44, hoping to become speaker of the House. The court makeover was the highest-profile legislation Eisnaugle carried during his first tour in the Legislature, but he said he doesn't plan to resurrect it if he's elected again. Considered in 2011, the legislation would have split the court into criminal and civil divisions. It would have enabled Republican Gov. Rick Scott to immediately appoint three justices by raising the number of seats on the court from seven to 10. It also would have given the Republican-controlled Legislature more power over the court by requiring the Senate to confirm the governor's selection of justices. Eisnaugle said it would make the Legislature a more effective check on the judicial branch. Opponents of the legislation say it would hurt the court's independence.

ADVOCATES SAY SENATE NURSING HOME BILL BENEFITS INDUSTRY AND TRIAL LAWYERS - NOT PATIENTS -- Miami Herald, http://www.miamiherald.com, Feb. 19, 2014.
The Senate Health Policy Committee Tuesday [Feb. 18] gave swift approval to a bill that is being criticized by elder-care advocates as a deal designed to help nursing homes and trial lawyers make money but do little to improve the quality of care for the homes’ residents. The bill would shield nursing home investors from lawsuits when their homes are accused of abuse and neglect. In exchange, it would give trial lawyers easier access to documents. Other Senate committees must still review the legislation, but it has strong support among House and Senate leaders. The new proposal would limit who can be sued to the nursing home’s owner and staff. If lawyers allege that passive directors played a direct role in residents’ care, they would have to get a judge’s approval to include them in the lawsuit. Trial lawyers defended their position by noting a provision that would allow the state to revoke the license of a nursing home operator who refused to pay a damage award and another that would allow family members access to the medical records of the alleged victim without having to go to the expense of setting up a family trust.

--Criminal Justice Issues--

SECRECY SHROUDS STATE'S LEGAL INJECTION DRUGS -- Tampa Tribune, http://www.tbo.com, Feb. 19, 2014.
Florida’s lethal injection procedure is both the most open and most secret. The Department of Corrections maintains a 13-page document on its website, detailing the injection protocol down to syringe sizes and the mix of chemicals, but officials refuse to disclose how much of the execution drugs the state has or where it gets them. The drug pentobarbital is no longer used by Florida because of its limited availability. The state now uses midazolam hydrochloride, which acts as a sedative. Gov. Rick Scott’s office on Tuesday [Feb. 18] referred questions to Corrections Department spokeswoman Jessica Cary. She declined to answer questions about sources or supplies, saying the information was confidential under state law.

--Tech Tip--

CUSTOMIZE YOUR IPHONE EMAIL SIGNATURE -- The Florida Bar, http://www.flabar.org, Feb. 18, 2014.
It’s easy to replace the default “Sent from my iPhone” signature to one of your own. For additional information on this tip and others, visit the Tech Tips page.

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[Revised: 02-20-2014]