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 20, 2022
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar | Article | September 20, 2022
With the Florida Supreme Court awaiting its recommendations by the December deadline, the Special Committee on Greater Public Access to Legal Services should consider practical solutions and bold proposals, said Bar President Gary Lesser. The Board of Governors, at the urging of the Supreme Court, formed the special committee in March. That was soon after the Supreme Court announced it would not adopt most of the recommendations of its Special Committee to Improve the Delivery of Legal Services — including testing non-lawyer ownership of law firms, fee splitting with nonlawyers, and broadly expanding the work that paralegals are permitted to perform. The new committee has been given a December 30 deadline to recommend ways to improve the delivery of legal services to Florida consumers, while also “assuring that lawyers play a proper and prominent role.”
Miami Herald | Article | September 19, 2022
During a nearly two-hour hearing in Tallahassee to determine the fate of Hillsborough County’s ousted state attorney Andrew Warren, Senior U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle indicated he favored a speedy trial over immediately reinstating Warren to decide the issue “once and for all.” Judge Hinkle said he’d like to avoid the possible back-and-forth effect of reinstating Warren, only to have it potentially overturned by an appeals court. “The public isn’t served by yo-yoing this office,” he said. “It’s everyone’s intent to get this done just as quickly as possible.” Judge Hinkle said he wanted a trial within the next four months to settle the matter “once and for all.” The decision, which will be formalized in writing, was welcomed by Warren and his lawyers.
News Service of Florida | Article | September 19, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody are appealing Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker’s ruling that blocked part of a new state law that placed restrictions on how race-related issues can be addressed in workplace training — a law DeSantis dubbed the “Stop WOKE Act.” Lawyers for DeSantis and Moody filed a notice Friday [Sept. 16] that is a first step in asking the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to take up the issue. Judge Walker last month issued a preliminary injunction, agreeing with three businesses and a consultant that the workplace-training restrictions violate the First Amendment. At least three other pending federal lawsuits challenge part of the law placing restrictions on how race-related issues can be addressed in public schools and higher education. Judge Walker’s preliminary injunction did not address the education issues.
WFLA News Channel 8 | Article | September 19, 2022
A mistrial was declared on Monday [Sept. 19] in the case against Rebecca Fierle, a state-appointed guardian accused of abuse and neglect in the death of a 74-year-old in her care. On Friday [Sept 16], jurors said more time was needed to deliberate the case, but just a few days later, the judge declared the mistrial after a jury failed to provide a unanimous verdict. Fierle was arrested in 2020 after investigators said she gave doctors a ‘do not resuscitate’ order for a client who wanted to live.
TC Palm | Article | September 19, 2022
Melissa Martz has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to set aside the results of the Aug. 23 Republican primary election she lost for the U.S. House District 21 seat. The election was a landslide, with incumbent U.S. House Rep. Brian Mast winning 78.1 percent of the votes cast in Martin, St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties, compared to 8.5 percent for Martz, according to results from the Florida elections office. Martz, an attorney who is representing herself, claims “fraud, misconduct and corruption” and demands the cast vote record from all three counties, which is the raw data used to tabulate election results. The 178-page complaint contains no evidence to prove her claims. It only lists myriad unsubstantiated claims, rumors and speculation “which have caused suspicion around the idea we have free and fair election.”
Tampa Bay Times | Article | September 20, 2022
After U.S. District Judge Mary Scriven indicated she had reservations with a Pasco County Schools policy allowing school districts to reassign students to a different school without allowing parents to challenge the move, she encouraged the two sides in a case over the issue to work out their differences through mediation, which concluded in late August. As part of a negotiated settlement, the district is preparing to rewrite its rules to include an appeal procedure for students reassigned for non-disciplinary reasons. The case was filed by Rebecca Yuengling, whose daughter was told she could not attend Cypress Creek High in January because Yuengling — not the girl — had harassed teachers and disrupted operations of the 1,700-student campus.
News Service of Florida | Article | September 20, 2022
People who took the Florida Bar exam for the first time in July posted the lowest passage rate for July test-takers in a decade, a review of the data by The News Service of Florida shows. The Florida Board of Bar Examiners on Monday published results of the July exam showing that 64.4 percent of the 2,225 first-time participants passed. As a comparison, 80.2 percent of 3,034 first-time participants passed the Bar exam in July 2012. Since then, the lowest passage rate before this year was 67.2 percent in 2018. Michele Gavagni, executive director of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, noted this July’s exam was the first in-person July exam since 2019. The Bar exam was not administered in July 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic and was administered online in July 2021.
The Florida Bar | Tech Tip | September 20, 2022
The Microsoft Task View Feature, which is available on Windows 10, allows you to quickly switch between open windows on your computer without having to minimize each window. To use this feature, press and hold the Alt key and press the Tab key repeatedly to scroll through open windows. Continue pressing Tab until the desired window is located or use the left or right arrow keys to select the window. On a Mac? Hit the F3 key to open Mission Control or press the Command key + Tab key to scroll through open apps.