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 22, 2022
The Florida Bar
SUPREME COURT WORKGROUP RESPONDS TO COMMENTS ON ITS PROPOSALS TO SPEED THE RESOLUTION OF CIVIL CASES
The Florida Bar | Article | September 22, 2022
The Florida Supreme Court’s Workgroup on Improved Resolution of Civil Cases has agreed to make a host of revisions to its groundbreaking proposal to impose “structured case management.” In a Sept. 19 response to nearly 70 comments, the panel agreed with many of the requests, but it declined to recommend phasing in the changes, or to eliminate proposed sanctions. The panel warned that the proposal represents a “sea change” from an existing trial culture where case resolution is largely driven by lawyers and litigants. The proposal recommends amendments to Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration, Rules of Civil Procedure, Small Claims Rules and Rules of Mediation. Modeled after the federal system, the proposal would create a “differentiated case management” system that requires setting an inflexible trial date at the beginning of a case, and deadlines for filing motions and rendering orders. The deadlines and other provisions would be enforced by sanctions that could include attorney costs and fees, and case dismissal.
Politico Florida | Article | September 21, 2022
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a May decision by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that had struck down major parts of a Florida law banning social media companies from deplatforming political candidates. The May decision conflicts with a ruling last week by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that upheld a similar Texas social media law. In the appeal, Moody defends the constitutionality of the Florida law, saying that the 11th Circuit ruling “strips States of their historic power to protect their citizens’ access to information, implicating questions of nationwide importance.” If the Supreme Court agrees to take up the appeal, it would mark the first time the highest court will have weighed in on the underlying issue of whether social media platforms’ handling of user content is protected by the First Amendment.
Miami Herald | Article | September 22, 2022
Everything about the final stage of the Surfside condominium collapse case, which began 14 months ago with lawsuits on behalf of the 98 people who died, was unusual. Over the course of five weeks, Judge Michael Hanzman, partnered with retired Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Jonathan Colby to hold three mini-trials per day, and give families freedom to talk about the lives lost before he assigned a value to each life. “This has never been done before,” Hanzman said. “Instead of institutional justice we wanted to provide them with compassionate justice,” Colby said. “We decided we’d create a new paradigm.” The private claims hearings before Hanzman and Colby were a substitute for jury trials, had the cases gone to trial, or proceedings in which a special master or mediator would decide the allocation of damages, typically with a formulaic, actuarial methodology.
Tampa Bay Times | Article | September 21, 2022
On Tuesday evening [Sept. 20], just as the court was selecting the jurors who would hear the case against James Hanson Jr., who was charged with kidnapping and killing Mathew Korattiyil, Hanson surprised everyone present by asking Hillsborough Circuit Judge Samantha Ward to allow him to plead guilty to all seven charges associated with his August 2019 crime spree. Judge Ward asked him several times if he was sure. The decision went against the advice of his own attorneys, she said. And it meant she would have no alternative choice but to sentence Hanson to life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
Florida Politics | Article | September 22, 2022
Gov. Ron DeSantis has reappointed one member and named five new members to judicial commissions across the state. One of them is Assistant Attorney General Natalie Christmas, who oversees legal policy matters in the office of Ashley Moody. Christmas is one of three new appointees DeSantis made to Judicial Nominating Commissions, which are responsible for filling vacancies on the bench within the Florida court system. Christmas, a Tallahassee resident who joined The Florida Bar in 2019, will take a seat on the Nominating Commission for the 2nd Judicial Circuit, which covers Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties. She is the only appointee the Governor named who did not come from a list of nominees by the Bar, according to DeSantis’ office.
Jacksonville Daily Record | Article | September 22, 2022
The Jacksonville Chapter of the Federal Bar Association celebrated its 50th anniversary Sept. 14 by honoring its founder, Senior U.S. District Judge Harvey Schlesinger. The chapter was established in 1972, when Schlesinger was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida in Jacksonville. Schlesinger served as its president four times in the organization’s five-decade history. The association spearheaded change in how cases are handled in federal court, not only in Jacksonville but across the country, such as witness lists, rules of discovery and attorney compensation. At the event, Jacksonville Chapter President Laura Renstrom announced the chapter’s annual Spirit of Giving luncheon, which recognizes attorneys and judges for pro bono and community service, will be renamed as The Hon. Harvey E. Schlesinger Spirit of Giving Luncheon, beginning with this year’s event in December.