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 30, 2023
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar | Article | May 30, 2023
Florida Bar President Gary Lesser said almost a year ago that he wanted The Florida Bar to have “the best mentorship program in the country,” and Bar leaders have been working toward making that a reality since. The Florida Bar has created Counsel to Counsel, a unique mentorship program facilitated virtually through the MentorcliQ software. Counsel to Counsel will help connect seasoned attorneys to newer attorneys and assist them in developing a meaningful professional relationship through the MentorcliQ technology and personal, direct communication. To qualify as a mentee in the Counsel to Counsel program, the lawyer must be in good standing, have less than three years of experience and be working at a firm with three or fewer lawyers (or be unemployed). To be a mentor for Counsel to Counsel, lawyers need to have more than five years of legal experience and be a member in good standing. Visit The Florida Bar website to learn more.
New York Times | Article | May 27, 2023
A lawyer in New York submitted a legal brief citing non-existent court decisions and quotations generated by the artificial intelligence program ChatGPT. The lawyer, Steven A. Schwartz, had used ChatGPT for legal research and included references to cases such as Martinez v. Delta Air Lines and Varghese v. China Southern Airlines. However, upon scrutiny, it was discovered that the cases and quotes cited in the brief were entirely fabricated by the AI program. Schwartz admitted to relying on ChatGPT and expressed regret for not verifying its authenticity. A hearing has been scheduled to discuss potential sanctions in the case.
Tampa Bay Times | Article | May 29, 2023
Florida legislators have introduced five bills that have the potential to reshape the state’s criminal justice system. The first bill, HB 667, aims to add restrictions to the deposition process for child victims of sex crimes, requiring a court hearing to determine the appropriateness of the deposition. HB 605 seeks to allow individuals who had their criminal records expunged as juveniles to have their adult records expunged as well, under certain conditions. HB 365 addresses capital drug crimes by lowering the threshold for charging someone with murder in cases involving drug-related deaths and introducing penalties for nonfatal overdoses caused by specific drugs. SB 232 expands protections against elder abuse by broadening the definition of exploitation and establishing felony charges based on the value of the property involved. Finally, HB 95 focuses on law enforcement officer accountability, allowing officers to petition for removal from lists that track officers with credibility issues.
ABA Journal | Article | May 26, 2023
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill last week that requires county courthouses in the state to have private, clean lactation rooms with at least one electrical outlet. The bill takes effect at the beginning of 2024. Exceptions may be made if providing lactation rooms requires new construction or the cost is not reasonable. Dedicated lactation spaces have been a priority for the Florida Association for Women Lawyers, according to the Florida Bar News.
Daily Business Review | Article | May 26, 2023
Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled in favor of homeowners seeking to vacate a default final judgment after their previous attorney failed to attend a case-management conference. The homeowners were accused of paying for dental services with a bad check by a Palm Beach Gardens dentist. They stopped payment on the check, claiming inferior dental work, and offered 28 affirmative defenses to support their claims. However, a default final judgment was entered against them before they had the opportunity to present their case. The appellate court found that the trial court abused its discretion in denying the homeowners’ motion to vacate the judgment, as they demonstrated excusable neglect, a meritorious defense, and due diligence. The ruling highlights the importance of fair treatment and a trial on the merits.
Florida Politics | Article | May 30, 2023
The city of Deltona in Florida is facing a lawsuit from homeowners who claim that the government deliberately redirected floodwaters from Hurricane Ian toward their neighborhood to protect the rest of the community. The homeowners argue that the city opened a flood control structure without permission, causing extensive damage to their properties. In response, the city has filed a motion to dismiss, stating that the flooding was a one-time event associated with a major hurricane and that the plaintiffs have not provided specific details about the damage they experienced. The lawsuit alleges that Deltona chose to redirect floodwaters to Stone Island rather than keeping them within the city.
The Florida Bar | Article | May 30, 2023
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