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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.

June 19, 2024

  1. The Florida Bar

    FAREWELL AND THANK YOU: REFLECTING ON A YEAR OF PROGRESS AND PARTNERSHIP

    The Florida Bar | Column | June 19, 2024

    Florida Bar President F. Scott Westheimer writes: “As my time as Florida Bar president draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on the journey we’ve embarked upon together over the past year. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as your president, and I am immensely grateful for the support and dedication of each and every one of you . . .I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to work alongside the talented and committed individuals that make up the Board of Governors . . . Together, we made significant strides in advancing the mission of The Florida Bar and serving the profession with integrity and excellence . . . We have remained steadfast in our commitment to the foundational principles that underpin our work: To regulate the practice of law, ensure the highest standards of legal professionalism, support our independent court system, and above all, protect the public we serve. It is with these principles guiding us that we have undertaken initiatives aimed at empowering our members, enhancing their everyday legal pursuits, and facilitating adherence to ethical standards.”

  2. Legal Discipline

    FLORIDA LAWYER SEEKING PERMANENT RETIREMENT CAN’T SUE IN FEDERAL COURT, JUDGE CONCLUDES

    ABA Journal | Article | June 18, 2024

    In a June 13 opinion, U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman tossed a lawsuit by Florida lawyer Barry R. Gainsburg, who wanted to permanently retire from the Bar while facing possible discipline following a misdemeanor conviction for brandishing a baseball bat. Gainsburg’s law license is currently on inactive status; a disciplinary case against him is pending. The disciplinary case stems from the brandishing charge and Gainsburg’s emails during the disciplinary process that a referee found to be “facially abusive, intimidating and disparaging.” Gainsburg was convicted on the misdemeanor brandishing charge and sentenced to five days in jail in October 2022. He filed his first petition for permanent retirement with The Florida Bar in March 2023, before its investigation was completed. The Florida Bar denied the permanent retirement petition along with six subsequent petitions making the same request. The Florida Supreme Court rejected two appeals by Gainsburg.

  3. Judiciary

    NEW JUDGE ALERT: THIS LAWYER JUST ROSE TO THE MIAMI-DADE BENCH

    Daily Business Review | Article | June 18, 2024

    Kevin Hellmann was conducting jury trial training sessions for lawyers in the country of Georgia for the U.S. Department of State when he received a call from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ assistant general counsel about his appointment to the Miami-Dade County Court bench. “I was thrilled in the moment,” Hellmann said. “It’s a great honor that somebody in the position of a governor has faith in me to make the right decisions in a court of law.” Hellmann is expected to don the black robe on July 8. He will fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Judge Carlos Gamez to the Miami-Dade Circuit Court. And for attorneys who will be litigating before him, Hellmann promised to “honor the lawyers with high expectations.”

  4. Florida Supreme Court

    STATE’S TOP COURT ORDERS PALM BEACH POLO TO PAY WELLINGTON $8M IN BIG BLUE PRESERVE CASE

    Palm Beach Post | Article | June 19, 2024

    The Florida Supreme Court on June 11 ordered developer Glenn Straub’s Palm Beach Polo Inc. to pay over $8 million to the Village of Wellington in fines and attorneys fees related to the harm done to the Big Blue Preserve. The court’s ruling rejected Straub’s final appeal of a 2019 lawsuit that involved liens that Wellington had imposed on Palm Beach Polo properties for 130 code violations issued for failing to address the harm in the preserve. The liens originally totaled $1.6 million but, instead of paying the fines, Straub appealed them to the village and challenged them in court. The violations continued for 867 days with a daily fine of $50 per violation. Straub’s Palm Beach Polo and the village have been entangled in legal battles over the preserve since before 2001, when a judge found the company was responsible for preserving and enhancing the wetland.

  5. Civil Justice

    JUDGE DENIES ACC’S MOTION TO DISMISS ON PERSONAL JURISDICTION, FSU’S LAWSUIT CONTINUES IN LEON COUNTY

    Tallahassee Democrat | Article | June 18, 2024

    Florida State University’s legal team returned to court Tuesday [June 18] for a third hearing in Leon County courtroom 3G as Circuit Judge John C. Cooper issued a long-awaited ruling in the Florida State vs. the Atlantic Coast Conference case. The case will continue in Tallahassee with a key point decided. Judge Cooper denied the ACC’s motion to dismiss the case based on personal jurisdiction. The ruling is a win for FSU as it continues its marathon legal battle against the ACC in Leon County because it grants Florida jurisdiction over the case and enables state courts to act and make decisions in the lawsuit as it proceeds through the legal system. While this ruling isn’t the final one on a motion to dismiss, this is a significant hurdle that has tripped up proceedings to this point, starting during the first hearing on April 9.

  6. Criminal Justice Issues

    BEHAVIORAL HEALTH: ALTERNATIVE TO JAIL

    Florida Trend | Article | June 18, 2024

    Judge Steve Leifman doesn’t think the Miami-Dade County Jail should continue to be the punchline in an oft-repeated joke identifying it as the largest psychiatric institution in Florida. The Miami-Dade County Jail has as many beds for people with mental illnesses as all state mental health treatment facilities combined, and Leifman has spent almost his entire judicial career trying to change what he sees as an illogical, ineffective, inhumane and unnecessarily expensive approach to handling nonviolent offenders who have mental illnesses. Later this year or possibly early next year, the Miami Center for Mental Health and Recovery will open and become the first of its kind in the state. The center will offer psychiatric treatment and a range of other services to stabilize people with serious mental illnesses who keep revolving through the criminal justice system at great cost to taxpayers. Other places in Florida will be watching closely to see how well it works — or if it works.

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