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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. 26, 2014

--Legal Profession--

COURT URGES ALL BARS TO GET RIGHT WITH THE ADA -- The Florida Bar News, http://www.floridabar.org, March 1, 2014.
Stephanie Woodward has a mobility disability and uses a wheelchair. She recently passed the Florida Bar exam and wanted to attend a Dade County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section event called “An Evening with the Judges.” She was not able to access the event held at a wine cellar due to lack of accessibility. When Woodward’s excluding experience came to his attention, Chief Justice Ricky Polston gathered the entire court for a conference, resulting in strongly worded letters Polston sent on Feb. 3 to voluntary bars and leaders at The Florida Bar. After approval by the entire Florida Supreme Court, Polston directed The Florida Bar to “develop and implement a protocol for Bar-related activities at all levels to ensure compliance with all ADA and access requirements." Similarly, the court requested that voluntary bar associations “immediately develop and implement protocol for bar-related activities to ensure compliance with all ADA and access requirements.”

THIS LAW FIRM PARTNER PLEDGES $200,000 TO ENDOW SCHOLAR AT FSU LAW SCHOOL -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Feb. 25, 2014.
Miami attorney Lawrence Kellogg, a 1981 graduate of Florida State University College of Law, has pledged $200,000 to create an endowment to recruit or retain a legal scholar. Kellogg's gift to create the Kellogg Family Professorship Endowment is his second to his alma mater. "I have chosen to support the faculty with my latest gift because it is critical that we continue to provide Florida State law students with a world-class education," said Kellogg, a founding partner of Levine Kellogg Lehman Schneider Grossman. "I've seen first-hand—through the Florida State grads that I hire—what a wonderful job our professors are doing in preparing students for practice."

LAW FIRM SPONSORS ESSAY CONTEST -- Tallahassee Democrat, http://www.tallahassee.com, Feb. 26, 2014.
The law firm Rambana & Ricci PLLC is calling on Tallahassee-area third, fourth and fifth grade students to enter the creative writing contest, “Why I’m Glad America is a Nation of Immigrants.” The contest allows students to explore their own families’ immigrant experiences — whether recent or generations-back — and identify the value of immigration to their community and country. The firm sponsored the contest once before and presented the winner with an award at a naturalization ceremony at the U.S. District Courthouse. With immigration being particularly newsworthy now, they decided to sponsor it again. The winner will receive a $200 savings bond, certificate and plaque in his or her honor.

--Judiciary--

WASHINGTON COUNTY COURTHOUSE CONDEMNED -- Panama City News Herald, http://www.newsherald.com, Feb. 26, 2014.
The floods of the past summer caused of millions of dollars of damage to Washington County infrastructure, which led to the building’s condemnation. When air quality tests of the Washington County Courthouse came back in December, officials shut it down and moved into temporary locations at an annex next door that also houses the Sheriff’s Office and the county building. The move resolved health concerns, but it created a raft of new problems, including space and security issues. The Board of County Commissioners has decided that demolishing the old courthouse and rebuilding in the same location is the best solution, but funding is a concern.

DAWN NICHOLS SWORN IN AS JUDGE FOR 7TH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT -- New Smyrna Beach News, http://www.headlinesurfer.com, Feb. 26, 2014.
Dawn Nichols, the newest jurist in the 7th Judicial Circuit, started on the bench this week, presiding over family law cases at the Volusia County Courthouse. Nichols was appointed by Gov. Rick Scott to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Hubert L. Grimes. A native of Orlando, Judge Nichols has been an attorney since 1991. She graduated from Edgewater High School in Orlando and earned both a bachelors degree and a juris doctor from the University of Florida. Nichols began her law career with the Public Defenders Office in the 7th Judicial Circuit. She then went into private practice, working for two years with Rice Rose, P.A., and then established her own private practice in 1996. She is board certified in marital and family law.

--Lawyer Ethics/Legal Discipline--

DAVID STERN IN FIGHT OVER LEGAL FEES -- Daily Business Review (requires subscription), http://www.dailybusinessreview.com, Feb. 26, 2014.
Disbarred attorney David J. Stern is preparing to mitigate the legal costs of a homeowner class action award entered against him. Louis M. Silber of Silber & Davis in West Palm Beach began financial discovery in a pleading filed last week against Stern individually. The opposing parties are preparing for an April 2 evidentiary hearing before Palm Beach Circuit Judge Lucy Chernow Brown on attorney fees and costs. Silber filed a class action in 2009, and it was certified in 2011. The class consisted of all Floridians with mortgages from Countrywide Home Loans Inc. to whom Stern and his law firm sent reinstatement letters after Oct. 22, 2005. The disputed fees included service of process, title searches that were never performed and unreasonable charges for title work.

--Other--

STEPHEN R. PONDER -- Daytona Beach News-Journal, http://www.news-journalonline.com, Feb. 26, 2014.
Stephen R. Ponder, 53, of New Smyrna Beach, died on Feb. 23 at his home. He was a partner with Van Houten, Ponder & Hahl, P.A., in Daytona Beach. He practiced exclusively in civil litigation, emphasizing commercial-related matters, business disputes, contract claims, real property disputes and selected personal injury claims. Ponder attended University of Florida where he graduated with a B.A. in 1981, continuing his education at Florida State University receiving his J.D., and graduating with honors in 1984. He was admitted to The Florida Bar in 1985 and was a Certified Circuit Mediator, a member of the American Mediation Association, Inc. and the Volunteer Lawyers Project.

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[Revised: 02-27-2014]