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 31, 2023
The Florida Bar
The Florida Bar | Article | May 31, 2023
Laura Boeckman and Katie Fackler have been appointed to The Florida Bar Foundation Board of Directors. Boeckman, assistant general counsel for the city of Jacksonville, was appointed by the Florida Supreme Court. Fackler, associate general counsel with Baptist Health System, was appointed by The Florida Bar Board of Governors. Boeckman will fill the remainder of a three-year term ending in 2024 that was vacated by another board member while Fackler will serve the remainder of an unfilled term until 2025.
Florida Supreme Court
FLORIDA SUPREME COURT SETS SCHEDULE FOR LEGAL CHALLENGE TO 2024 MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION BALLOT INITIATIVE
Marijuana Moment | Article | May 30, 2023
The Florida Supreme Court is considering a challenge by Attorney General Ashley Moody to invalidate a marijuana legalization initiative. Moody argues that the initiative violates the state constitution’s single subject rule. Briefings on the matter are due by June 12, and the court will subsequently make a decision. The initiative, supported by the Smart & Safe Florida campaign and financially backed by cannabis company Trulieve, aims to allow existing medical cannabis companies to sell marijuana to adults over 21. It does not allow home cultivation or include provisions for expungement or social equity. Activists believe the measure complies with constitutional requirements and are confident in its approval. A poll shows that 70 percent of Florida voters support marijuana legalization.
Sarasota Herald - Tribune | Article | May 31, 2023
Diana Moreland is set to become the chief judge of the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Florida. Moreland had aspired to become an attorney and judge since she was 12 years old, inspired by her father who believed being a judge was the most important job. After graduating from Stetson University with a law degree, she worked as a public defender, opened her own firm, and eventually campaigned to become a judge. Moreland’s appointment as chief judge makes her the second woman to hold the title. She plans to use her experience and expertise to guide the courts in Sarasota, Manatee, and DeSoto counties. Outside of work, Moreland enjoys spending time with her family and remains connected to her love for the water.
Florida Politics | Article | May 30, 2023
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a measure into law on Friday [May 26] that allows the state to accept teaching licenses from professionals in other states without requiring additional coursework or state-specific exams. The bipartisan bill makes Florida the sixth state to join the Interstate Teacher Mobility Compact, aiming to address the teaching shortage. The compact requires four more states to sign on to become official. Currently, Colorado, Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Utah are part of the compact. Thirteen other states are considering similar legislation. The new law will enable military spouses to begin teaching immediately. However, some organizations express concerns about potential brain drain due to restrictive education policies.
Florida Times - Union | Article | May 30, 2023
A settlement has been reached in the redistricting case against the city of Jacksonville, over a year after civil rights groups sued the city for racially gerrymandering its district map. U.S. District Judge Marcia Morales Howard approved the settlement, which includes the city paying $100,000 in plaintiff attorney fees. The city will also use a court-ordered, plaintiff-drawn map for future elections until the next redistricting after the census. The settlement may lead to a request for new elections for affected school board district seats. The case was brought by the Jacksonville branch of the NAACP, Florida Rising Together, the Northside Coalition of Jacksonville, the ACLU of Florida Northeast Chapter, and 10 Jacksonville residents.
News Service of Florida | Article | May 30, 2023
A panel of federal judges, including U.S. District Judge Allen Winsor, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan, and U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers, shielded eight current and former legislative leaders from testifying in a lawsuit challenging Florida’s congressional redistricting plan. The judges invoked “legislative privilege” to block the deposition of Republican leaders such as former Senate President Wilton Simpson and former House Speaker Chris Sprowls. The lawsuit, filed by Common Cause Florida, Fair Districts Now, the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, and individual plaintiffs, alleges intentional discrimination against Black voters in the redistricting plan. The case specifically focuses on the redrawing of North Florida’s Congressional District 5, which led to all seats in the region being won by Republicans. Another separate lawsuit, currently pending in Leon County circuit court, claims a violation of a 2010 state constitutional amendment that sets redistricting standards.
Insurance Journal | Article | May 31, 2023
SFR Services, a Florida restoration firm known for its claims litigation against United Property & Casualty Insurance Co., has been found guilty of intentional concealment and misrepresentation during the appraisal process in a Hurricane Irma-related claim dispute with Tower Hill Prime Insurance Co. A circuit judge in Lee County, Judge Michael McHugh, determined that SFR Services deliberately concealed a lower contract price for roofing work, presenting a higher estimate of $233,000 instead. The judge ruled that SFR Services violated the insurance policy’s concealment and misrepresentation provision and sided with Tower Hill, vacating the higher appraisal award and voiding part of the coverage. SFR Services has appealed the decision to Florida’s 6th District Court of Appeals.
Daily Business Review | Article | May 30, 2023
The Miami Shores Community Church recently honored Amanda McGovern, a partner at Rivero Mestre law firm, who was recognized as the Attorney of the Year in 2022 by the Daily Business Review. McGovern gained prominence for leading the defense of Craig Wright, a computer scientist who claimed to have invented the Bitcoin blockchain and was sued by the estate of the alleged co-creator. She studied internationally, earning her degrees in international relations and law. McGovern worked as a trial lawyer for several firms before joining Rivero Mestre. She successfully defended Wright in a high-stakes trial, emphasizing how his autism spectrum disorder influenced his communication style. McGovern’s achievements and her nomination as Attorney of the Year highlighted her commitment to mentoring women and being authentic. Her impact on the legal community and her role as a single mother and top litigator were recognized by her colleagues at Rivero Mestre.
The Daytona Beach News - Journal | Article | May 30, 2023
On Tuesday [May 30], Circuit Judge Elizabeth Blackburn reset a hearing for Jean Macean, the man accused of fatally stabbing a couple during Bike Week in 2022. This came after his defense attorneys stated their belief that he remains incompetent and requested more time for evaluation. The defense’s position contradicts the determination by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Macean, indicted on two counts of first-degree murder, is facing the death penalty. The hearing to assess Macean’s competency has been rescheduled for June 23, under the supervision of Judge Blackburn. The contents of the confidential evaluation report were not discussed during the hearing. Macean is currently receiving medication for his diagnosed mental illness while in jail.
The Florida Bar | Article | May 31, 2023
In this month’s episode, hosts Christine Bilbrey and Jamie Moore welcome Bree Buchanan, Senior Advisor for Krill Strategies to discuss the report from The Institute for Well-Being in Law (IWIL), The Path to Well-Being: Practical Recommendations for Positive Change, as well as the work she does to reduce the prevalence and impact of mental health and substance use problems in the legal profession and improve the personal well-being of its members. This podcast has been approved by The Florida Bar Continuing Legal Education Department.