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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.

May 12, 2022

  1. The Florida Bar

    FAMILY LAW SECTION ADVOCATES FOR ALIMONY BILL VETO

    The Florida Bar | Article | May 12, 2022

    Florida’s legislative leaders have yet to deliver a sweeping alimony reform measure to Gov. Ron DeSantis, and family law practitioners say the delay is contributing to a backlog of cases. The House voted on March 9 to approve SB 1796 by Sen. Joe Gruters (R-Sarasota) over the vehement objection of the Family Law Section and some children’s advocates. “Right now, we are working day in and day out to hopefully encourage the governor to veto SB 1796 because of the retroactivity in the bill,” said Family Law Section Chair-elect Philip Wartenberg. The measure would abolish permanent alimony, give ex-spouses who pay alimony a “pathway to retirement,” and create a legal presumption for the equal time-sharing of children.

  2. Legislative

    STATE JUDGE CALLS DESANTIS’ CONGRESS MAP UNCONSTITUTIONAL, RESTORES BLACK DISTRICT

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | May 11, 2022

    Leon Circuit Judge Layne Smith said Wednesday [May 11] that Gov. Ron DeSantis’ congressional map that eliminated a Black district in North Florida was unconstitutional and ordered the old boundaries largely restored. While Judge Smith couldn’t rule on whether the map violated the federal Voting Rights Act, he said, he had determined it did violate the Florida Constitution’s Fair District amendment approved by the voters. Judge Smith said he would issue a written order by Thursday [May 12] to impose the plaintiffs’ proposed Map A, which largely returns District 5 to what it looked like before this year.

  3. Civil Justice

    $1 BILLION SETTLEMENT FOR VICTIMS OF SURFSIDE CONDO COLLAPSE RANKS AMONG HIGHEST IN FLORIDA

    Miami Herald | Article | May 11, 2022

    In Miami-Dade Circuit Court, a nearly $1 billion settlement has been reached in a class-action suit brought against an array of developers, contractors, and engineers by victims of the Surfside condo building that collapsed last June, killing 98 people. It’s the second-largest class action settlement in state history. It is eclipsed only by a 1997 case against Big Tobacco, which reached a settlement with some 40 states for their cost of treating sick smokers. Florida’s share was $11.3 billion.

  4. Judiciary

    SAME-SEX SPOUSE BLOCKED FROM RECEIVING SETTLEMENT IN TOBACCO DEATH

    WUSF | Article | May 12, 2022

    A panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal on Wednesday [May 11] said that Bryan Rintoul could not collect millions of dollars from tobacco companies in the death of his husband because they were not married when a smoking-related illness began in the 1990s — a time when Florida law prevented them from being married. The panel’s rejection of a Broward County jury’s decision to award $9 million to Rintoul was part of a broader ruling by the panel to reject a $157 million judgment against Philip Morris USA and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and order a new trial.

  5. Judiciary

    MYSTERY GROUP BEHIND ADS IN ‘20 CENTRAL FLORIDA PRIMARY MUST REVEAL DONORS, JUDGE RULES

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | May 11, 2022

    On Wednesday [May 11], Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez ruled that Floridians for Equality and Justice, a group that sent attack ads in a Central Florida state Senate primary without disclosing its donors, must reveal its contributors and make its chairman available for a deposition. Though political committees are required to list their contributions publicly, Floridians for Equality and Justice reported just one contribution to the Florida Division of Elections, a $249,925 “starting balance” from a dark money nonprofit organization of the same name. A suit filed in August 2020 by Florida state Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, alleges the committee violated state laws by sending ads to voters in Seminole and Volusia counties ahead of the primary for Senate District 9 without disclosing its contributors.

  6. Civil Justice

    GROUPS SUE EPA OVER WATER QUALITY, MANATEE DEATHS

    TC Palm | Article | May 11, 2022

    The Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife and the Save the Manatee Club filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tuesday [May 10] over poor water quality in Florida that is blamed for “catastrophic mortality” of manatees. The suit, which was filed in an Orlando federal court, alleges that water-quality standards set in 2009 aren’t being “adequately followed or enforced,” and the plaintiffs are seeking to require the EPA to re-engage in talks with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service about water quality in the Indian River Lagoon, which has been the site of numerous manatee deaths in 2021 and this year.

  7. Civil Justice

    FORT LAUDERDALE MAY FACE $1.5M LEGAL BILL OVER PUBLIC FEEDING CRACKDOWN

    Sun Sentinel | Article | May 11, 2022

    Fort Lauderdale taxpayers might have to pay more than $1.5 million to cover the legal fees of five attorneys who represented the nonprofit group Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs and spent seven years arguing that Fort Lauderdale’s homeless feeding ban was unconstitutional. The attorneys won their case last fall and are now wrangling with the city over the bill. They want more than $1.5 million. Fort Lauderdale argues they should only get $334,000. A federal judge will decide.

  8. Legal Profession

    ARE MORE LAW SCHOOLS NEEDED IN AREAS WHERE INFILAW CAMPUSES CLOSED?

    ABA Journal | Article | May 11, 2022

    The Florida Coastal School of Law is one of many schools operated by Infilaw, which was owned by the private equity firm Sterling Capital Partners, that are preparing to close due to accreditation issues. Meanwhile, Jacksonville University announced plans to open a new law school in the same city. Jacksonville University administrators claim the city of approximately 902,000 people needs a law school. “When you think about a community that doesn’t have a law school and legal interns, it really does make an impact. We would be the only city of our size that’s left with this hole,” says Margaret Dees, senior vice president of economic development and external engagement at Jacksonville University.

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