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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.

September 11, 2020

  1. Judiciary

    FLORIDA SUPREME COURT REJECTS FRANCIS APPOINTMENT, ORDERS DESANTIS TO PICK NEW JUSTICE BY MONDAY

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | September 11, 2020

    Palm Beach Circuit Judge Renatha Francis is constitutionally unqualified to be a Florida Supreme Court justice, the court ruled Friday [Sept. 11], and Gov. Ron DeSantis must pick an eligible justice by noon on Monday [Sept. 14]. The unanimous ruling said that because the state constitution requires 10-year membership in the Florida Bar to be named to the court, Francis didn’t qualify. The lawsuit over the selection of Francis was brought by state Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Windermere, who originally wanted to require DeSantis to restart the nomination process from scratch so that it would include a qualified Black candidate.  The Florida Bar News continues to cover this story and will have more details posted on https://www.floridabar.org/news/news-journal/ later today.

  2. The Florida Bar

    VIRTUAL TOWN HALLS SET FOR NINTH, SEVENTH, AND 20TH CIRCUITS NEXT WEEK

    The Florida Bar | Article | September 11, 2020

    President Dori Foster-Morales will host the next Virtual Town Hall forum regarding the COVID-19 pandemic September 14 for the Ninth Circuit beginning at 5 p.m., the Seventh Circuit  September 15 beginning at 11 a.m and the 20th Circuit Virtual Town Hall September 20 beginning at 4 p.m. Foster-Morales will lead panels of Bar leaders, judges, and local voluntary bar leaders in virtual forums in each of Florida’s 20 judicial circuits through August and September. The panels will discuss how Florida attorneys are coping during the pandemic; how the judicial system is adapting its operations locally; and what the Bar can do to assist members in their legal practice and beyond. The panelists will provide brief remarks and then take questions from Bar members. Visit this page to register and get the Zoom information.

  3. Civil Justice

    ETHICS COMMISSION SUSTAINS COMPLAINT AGAINST HILLSBOROUGH TAX COLLECTOR DOUG BELDEN

    Tampa Bay Times | Article | September 11, 2020

    The Florida Commission on Ethics ruled Friday [Sept. 11] Hillsborough Tax Collector Doug Belden will stand accused of violating state ethics laws after Tampa Attorney Alma R. Gonzalez said he offered to help find her work if she stopped seeking an election opponent for tax collector. The commission believes probable cause exists that Belden violated two state laws governing solicitation of a favor by a public official and the misuse of government email and a cell phone partially funded by the public. The case now will be scheduled for a full evidentiary hearing before the commission.

  4. Judiciary

    MESSAGE FROM CLERK DOGGETT: JURY TRIALS RESUME SEPT. 14

    Florida Weekly | Article | September 10, 2020

    Twentieth Circuit Chief Judge Michael T. McHugh directed the Lee Clerk of Courts to begin reissuing juror summons for trials scheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 14. A recent report from the Trial Court Budget Commission estimates 1,180 criminal and civil jury trials have been delayed statewide since March. Lee County alone held close to 300 jury trials last year. Using this historical reference, our current backlog would be about 150 jury trials so far and building.

  5. Civil Justice

    CHILDREN’S CLIMATE LAWSUIT: APPEAL ASSERTS FLORIDA HAS A DUTY TO CURB GREENHOUSE GASES

    Florida Phoenix | Article | September 09, 2020

    Attorneys for eight young Floridians who are trying to sue the state over energy policies they blame for climate change are appealing a trial judge’s ruling that the courts cannot rule on what is essentially a political question. In a brief filed Wednesday [Sept. 9] with the First District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee, the attorneys argue that because of their clients’ age, exercising political influence isn’t an option. Circuit Judge Kevin Carroll expressed sympathy for the young people in dismissing their lawsuit on June 1, saying of their complaints, “I think they’re legitimate.”

  6. Civil Justice

    PRIOR TO COVID, TEXT MESSAGES WERE FREE FOR DETAINEES IN MIAMI ICE DETENTION. NOT ANYMORE

    Miami Herald | Article | September 10, 2020

    According to Immigration detainees in Miami-Dade County, immigration advocates and lawyers, reading inbound texts and sending outbound text messages now cost money via the messaging application on the detention centers’ communal tablets. Detainees say they are being charged 5 cents per minute by the federal government and its telecommunications contractor to read or send messages. Previously, detainees and advocates say, such messages were free of charge for detainees.

  7. Civil Justice

    FLORIDA LAW, WITH ITS START IN TALLAHASSEE, TARGETS OUTDATED RACE RESTRICTIVE COVENANTS

    Tallahassee Democrat | Article | September 09, 2020

    Gov. Ron DeSantis signed SB 374 into law Friday [Sept. 4] after a yearlong effort that began in Tallahassee. The bill, sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Darryl Rouson of St. Petersburg, “extinguishes discriminatory restrictions from certain real estate documents, such as deeds,” according to the online summary. Last summer, Tallahassee criminal defense attorney Anabelle Dias exposed a racially charged but unenforceable section of a seven-page covenant for a home she’d planned to purchase in the Betton Hills neighborhood.

  8. Legal Profession

    RECKONING DAY: LAWYERS READY FOR TIDAL WAVE OF BANKRUPT BUSINESSES

    Business Observer | Article | September 10, 2020

    In a survey, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found 43% of small businesses expect to close permanently by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the American Bankruptcy Institute reports that Chapter 11 commercial bankruptcy filings rose 48% in May over May 2019. Ryan Reinert, a bankruptcy attorney with Shutts & Bowen in Tampa, is one of several area bankruptcy lawyers who expects to be busier than ever in the first and second quarters of 2021, when reality will begin to set in for many companies that have been able to stave off the inevitable via coronavirus relief aid.

  9. Civil Justice

    CITY OF TALLAHASSEE REMOVES BODY CAM VIDEOS FOLLOWING OUTCRY FROM VICTIM’S FAMILY

    WUSF | Article | September 10, 2020

    The City of Tallahassee is pulling body camera video from three officer-involved shootings from its website. The videos, which are public record, will still be available by request. The decision to remove the videos came over objections from the city attorney. It also followed appeals from the family members of Malik Jackson, who was stabbed and killed May 27 by Tony McDade. McDade was later shot and killed by a Tallahassee Police officer.

  10. Civil Justice

    CASE DISMISSED OVER REFUNDS FROM UF CLOSING CAMPUS DUE TO COVID

    WUSF | Article | September 11, 2020

    U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor has signed off on the dismissal of a potential class-action lawsuit that contended the University of Florida should be required to refund tuition and fees to students after closing its campus in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Plaintiff Dylan Egleston filed a notice of voluntary dismissal Aug. 31. The lawsuit alleged breach of contract and “unjust enrichment” by the university after students were forced to take online classes to finish the spring semester.

  11. Legal Profession

    7 TIPS FOR COST-EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE LAW FIRM MARKETING DURING COVID-19

    ABA Journal | Column | September 10, 2020

    Attorney and author Tiana H. Hardison writes: “Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, successful law firm marketing had a different tone and message than it does now, and marketing will continue evolving in the coming months. When COVID-19 first struck the United States, many wise lawyers scaled back their traditional marketing and began inserting PSA-styled content. Now some firms have reopened fully, some only partially, while others are still firmly shut and operating exclusively in remote status. Here are some marketing pointers to consider in the “new normal.”

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