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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 21, 2022

  1. The Florida Bar

    INHALE THE FUTURE, EXHALE THE PAST: NEW GROUP LOOKS TO HELP FLORIDA LAWYERS DE-STRESS

    The Florida Bar | Article | September 21, 2022

    The newly created Florida Chapter of Mindfulness in Law Society was formed in August with the mission of enhancing the well-being of the legal profession by educating practitioners about the benefits of mindfulness meditation, yoga, and other contemplative practices. “I felt compelled to start the chapter to create a community that would foster attorney well-being,” said Cookie Echsner-Rasmussen, chair of the society, who also sits on the Bar’s Mental Health and Wellness of Florida Lawyers Committee. “There have been a lot of Bar members who have expressed interest in forming a community to help cope with the present time period.”

  2. Civil Justice

    If it Looks Like an AOB, it is One, Florida Appeals Court Decides in Kidwell Case

    Insurance Journal | Article | September 21, 2022

    A Florida insurance company has landed another blow against one of the industry’s most active opponents, after an appeals court upheld the dismissal of a breach-of-contract lawsuit brought by an assigned contractor. In an opinion published Sept. 16, Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeals found that Richie Kidwell and his Air Quality Assessors LLC failed to show why the 2019 assignment-of-benefits (AOB) reform law did not apply to an AOB agreement signed in late 2019. Chad Barr, Kidwell’s attorney, argued there remained a factual dispute over whether the 2019 AOB law governed Air Quality’s type of service, and if the agreement was an actual AOB. The appeals court said it was. Judge Edward LaRose, who wrote in the opinion, quoted from American Integrity, which had cited the adage, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it is a duck.”

  3. Judiciary

    Judge sets Oct. 12 hearing in suit against transgender rule

    Orlando Sentinel | Article | September 20, 2022

    With plaintiffs pointing to “an incredible chilling of the provision of care and access to care,” U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle has scheduled an Oct. 12 hearing in a lawsuit seeking to block a new state rule that prevents Medicaid reimbursements for gender-affirming treatment for minors and adults. The rule, proposed by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration ends reimbursements to medical providers for such treatments as puberty blockers, hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgery. Four transgender plaintiffs, including two children, filed a lawsuit challenging the rule, alleging the treatment of gender dysphoria is “medically necessary, safe and effective” for transgender children and adults.

  4. Judiciary

    Judge Clears Way for Challenge to Law Allowing State to Override Local Police Budget Decisions

    News Service of Florida | Article | September 20, 2022

    A Leon County Circuit judge on Tuesday [Sept. 20] cleared the way for a lawsuit challenging part of a controversial protest law that gives the governor and Florida Cabinet the authority to override local governments’ decisions about police spending. A group of cities in November filed a lawsuit challenging the 2021 statute, alleging the measure (HB 1) unconstitutionally “strips municipalities of budget-setting authority.” The law created a process by which state attorneys or other elected officials can appeal municipalities’ decisions to reduce funding for local law enforcement agencies to the state Administration Commission, which is made up of the governor and members of the state Cabinet. Lawyers for Gov. Ron DeSantis in May filed a motion seeking to have the lawsuit dismissed, arguing, in part, that the cities did not have legal standing because the commission has not handled any appeals about spending reductions. But Leon County Circuit Judge J. Lee Marsh rejected the state’s request, saying the case “goes to the heart” of the division of power between elected officials at different levels of governance.

  5. Other

    Gov. DeSantis suspends Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez weeks after arrest

    Miami Herald | Article | September 20, 2022

    Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday [Sept. 20] suspended Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez, weeks after Martinez’s Aug. 30 arrest on felony charges. There was no immediate word on who DeSantis would name as a replacement for Martinez, who represents the 215,000 people in Miami-Dade’s District 11. DeSantis announced the suspension in a news release. A statement from Martinez’s legal team said the suspended commissioner “offers his support to whomever the governor decides to appoint.” The statement also denied the charges, saying: “Commissioner Martinez, his legal team and supporters will focus on clearing his name and fighting these baseless allegations…”

  6. Civil Justice

    Smoking on the beach? Fort Lauderdale might outlaw that. Vaping too.

    South Florida Sun Sentinel | Article | September 20, 2022

    A ban on cigarette smoking and vaping could soon be on the way to tourist-friendly Fort Lauderdale. The ban would apply only to the sandy part of the beach and city parks under a proposal coming before the City Commission on Thursday night. Lighting up a cigarette on the beach or a park could bring a fine up to $500 and/or 60 days in jail if the plan wins approval. Commissioners plan to take their first vote on the ban Thursday. The new law would not kick in until after a second vote, likely before the end of the year.

  7. Judiciary

    Osceola Historic Courthouse receives state $108K grant for preservation

    Osceola News-Gazette | Article | September 18, 2022

    The Osceola County Historic Courthouse – the oldest operating courthouse in the state – through the county will receive $108,000 for inspection and analysis by a preservation architect. This analysis will detail the current condition of historic brick, glass, and wood, and prescribe a scope of work for preservation. County officials say the work is to be completed in the next year. The courthouse was built in 1889 and listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings.

  8. Wellness Wednesday

    FLORIDA LAWYERS HELPLINE 833-351-9355

    The Florida Bar | Article | September 21, 2022

    There’s no cost for calls to the hotline and you may be referred for up to five free counseling sessions per year. In addition to mental health support, the Helpline’s licensed and certified counselors can provide a case manager to help find long-term care facilities for family members or financial consulting to help members with debt management, budgeting, and retirement planning. All these services are completely confidential and available at no cost to eligible Bar members. Florida Lawyers Helpline is provided through an agreement with CorpCare Associates Inc., which has over 200 professional counselors across Florida and 11,000 nationwide.

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