The Florida Bar

Daily News Summary

  1. Home
  2. News & Events
  3. Daily News Summary

Daily News Summary

The purpose of this summary provided by the Communications Department of The Florida Bar is to present media coverage that may be of interest to members. Opinions expressed in the articles are attributable solely to the authors. The Florida Bar does not adopt or endorse any opinions expressed below. For information on previous articles, please contact the publishing newspaper directly.

August 22, 2019

  1. Legal Profession

    FLORIDA LAWYER LEADS THE FMA

    The Florida Bar News | Article | August 22, 2019

    The Daily News Summary has two Florida Bar News stories today, including one about Dr. Ronald Giffler, Esq., becoming president of the Florida Medical Association. Giffler graduated from the Medical College of Virginia in 1973, but later decided to pursue a legal degree as well. He graduated from the University of Miami Law School in 1990. Giffler found practicing law and medicine at the same time too much and wound down his law practice. Currently he is president and CEO of FirstPath, a medical lab based in Pompano Beach.

  2. Legal Ethics

    FORMER PUBLIC DEFENDER MATT SHIRK AGREES TO ADMIT GUILT, PAY $6,000 FINE

    Florida Times-Union | Article | August 23, 2019

    Thursday morning [today], former Jacksonville Public Defender Matt Shirk agreed to admit he violated three laws in exchange for paying a $6,000 fine, but a state ethics commission still has to sign off on the deal. This isn’t the first time Shirk has tried to settle his case, and it’s still possible the settlement is thrown out by the state ethics commission. Shirk could face up to $30,000 in fines. He also still faces Florida Bar complaints, and on Wednesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis assigned Gainesville State Attorney Bill Cervone to review Shirk’s conduct. Shirk’s deal means he admits he drank and offered alcohol on the job, that he illegally hired and fired women based on their physical attractiveness and that he violated attorney-client privilege.

  3. Civil Justice Issues

    DESANTIS COMMITS FLORIDA TO PARTICIPATING IN NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION NETWORK

    Miami Herald | Article | August 21, 2019

    Florida’s voter registration data will be cross-checked against information from 28 other states for the first time starting next year, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Wednesday [Aug. 21], promising increased accuracy of the state’s voter rolls. During an appearance with election officials at the Orange County supervisor of elections office in Orlando, DeSantis said Florida will join the nonpartisan Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a bipartisan cooperative working to improve the accuracy of America’s voter rolls.

  4. Criminal Justice Issues

    SERIAL KILLER OF GAY MEN SET FOR EXECUTION TODAY

    Daytona Beach News Journal | Article | August 17, 2019

    Gary Ray Bowles started his eight-month murderous binge in Daytona Beach by killing John Hardy Roberts on March 14, 1994, inside the victim’s beachside home. Bowles is now set to be the 99th death row inmate executed in Florida in modern times. Bowles committed three murders in Florida — Daytona Beach, Jacksonville and Hilliard. He killed two other men in Georgia — one in Savannah and the other in Atlanta. He also murdered a man in Wheaton, Maryland. Last Tuesday [Aug. 14], the Florida Supreme Court unanimously rejected Bowles’ latest appeal, in which Bowles’ attorneys claimed he was intellectually disabled and should be spared from execution.

  5. Civil Justice Issues

    $248 MILLION SETTLEMENT REACHED WITH CHINESE DRYWALL MAKER

    WUSF News | Article | August 21, 2019

    A proposed $248 million settlement has been filed in a decade-old federal court case over defective Chinese drywall blamed for damaging home appliances and sickening residents – including in the Tampa Bay area. The proposed settlement between property owners and Taishan Gypsum Co. was filed in U.S. District Court in New Orleans on Tuesday [Aug. 20]. It comes nearly eight years after a major settlement in another case involving a different Chinese company and in the wake of other settlements with various homebuilders, equipment suppliers and installers who used the material. All of the litigation arose from the use of defective drywall in thousands of homes between about 2005 and 2008.

  6. Civil Justice Issues

    JUDGE WILL NOT DISMISS CASE OF FOOTBALL PLAYER WHO DIED OF HEAT STROKE IN 2017

    WINK | Article | August 20, 2019

    The family of 16-year-old Zachary Polsenberg, a former Riverdale High School student, filed a wrongful death lawsuit in June after their son died in 2017 following a heat stroke he suffered during football practice. The lawsuit is filed against the School Board of Lee County, the head coach at the time and the Lee County EMS, who jointly filed a motion to dismiss the family’s lawsuit. Their motion was denied Tuesday [Aug. 20] by a judge of the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida. During a football practice in June 2017, Polsenberg fell into a heat-induced coma with a temperature of 107 degrees. He died 12 days later.

  7. Criminal Justice Issues

    ALLEGEDLY BEATEN AND SENT TO ISOLATION AFTER EPILEPTIC SEIZURE, A FLORIDA PRISONER SUES

    Miami Herald | Article | August 22, 2019

    Last September, a 28-year-old autistic man experienced an epileptic seizure at Desoto Correctional Institution. Instead of receiving prompt medical care, he alleges he was beaten by corrections officers, then placed in isolation for the balance of his two-year sentence. Dean Higgins is now suing the Florida Department of Corrections and the officers involved in the attack alleging cruel and unusual punishment, violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, use of excessive force and battery. It is the latest in a flurry of suits involving the prison system and inmates with disabilities. The Department of Corrections declined a request for comment, saying it doesn’t weigh in on pending lawsuits.

  8. Criminal Justice Issues

    THEY PROMISED THEY COULD FINANCE FILMS. INSTEAD, THEY BILKED MILLIONS, FEDS SAY

    Miami Herald | Article | August 20, 2019

    Benjamin McConley and Jason Van Eman billed themselves as producers and financiers, offering to finance investors and other producers working on motion pictures, theater performances and other projects. The problem, U.S. authorities say: It was a “scheme to steal money,” as the men never intended to follow through on their promise. McConley, Van Eman and a third man, Benjamin Rafael, now face federal charges of fraud and money laundering. Investigators say over a six-year period — from 2013 to 2019 — the men bilked tens of millions of dollars from investors, producers and lenders who signed fake funding agreements, according to an indictment.

  9. Criminal Justice Issues

    LAKE COUNTY DEPUTY INDICTED FOR CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN 2016 SHOOTING OF UNARMED WOMAN, FEDS SAY

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | August 21, 2019

    A deputy at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office has been indicted on civil rights charges in the 2016 shooting of an unarmed woman, according to federal prosecutors, who said the deputy misled investigators in an attempt to justify his decision to shoot. Deputy Richard Palmer, 58, was on duty Oct. 11, 2016, when he shot and injured a woman whose hands were visible and empty, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a press release Wednesday [Aug. 21]. “Palmer later misled investigators by falsely justifying the shooting,” the federal agency’s statement said.

  10. Civil Justice Issues

    FLORIDA KIDS ARE GETTING SENT TO PSYCHIATRIC UNITS UNDER THE BAKER ACT IN RECORD NUMBERS

    Fort Myers News-Press | Article | August 22, 2019

    Data collected by the state of Florida shows that from 2001-02 through the 2017-18 state fiscal years, Baker Act examinations of children in Florida increased nearly 141 percent. That rate is far outstripping population growth. The sharpest increase in committals – 84 percent – was among children between the ages of 14 to 17, according to a 2017 state report. But even the committals of children between the ages of 5 and 10 grew 76 percent. Nearly a quarter of Baker Act committals involving children took place at schools and were initiated by law enforcement, according to a 2017 task force report on the issue.

  11. Civil Justice Issues

    JURY AWARDS UP TO $13 MILLION IN FATAL 2016 GAINESVILLE CRASH

    Gainesville Sun | Article | August 20, 2019

    A Gainesville jury on Friday [Aug. 16] unanimously agreed to award up to $13 million to the family of a Williston woman who died in a car accident nearly three years ago when another driver made an illegal pass and hit her car head on. Jupiter attorney Rich Slinkman, representing the family of Michelle Anderson, said the driver of the other car was insured, but did not have enough coverage for the accident. The Andersons will now file a bad faith insurance lawsuit against the insurance company, he said. An associate professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law said insurers generally pay only up to the amount of liability insurance that was bought, which would be far less than the $13 million jury award.

  12. Civil Justice Issues

    CITIES ARE STYMIED IN BANNING PLASTICS — AND THE STATE IS DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT, THEY SAY

    Miami Herald | Article | August 23, 2019

    Single-use plastic bans in Florida are being rolled back as quickly as they are rolled out. The town of Surfside voted to repeal its plastic ban — passed only six weeks ago — at its Aug. 13 commission meeting. The next day, the town of Palm Beach, which passed a ban in June, moved to rescind it. Gainesville followed suit on Thursday. And Alachua County moved to repeal their ban the week prior. The municipalities aren’t changing their minds on the need to reduce plastic waste; they’re walking back policy to avoid a legal battle. They have each received letters from the Florida Retail Federation, the lobbying group representing retail giants Walmart, Target and Publix, among others, alleging the bans violate state law and threatening to sue the local governments.

Recent Archives: