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October 1, 2019 Letters

Letters

Domestic Violence

Survivors of domestic violence should have the right to move on with their lives, to work and live in peace. But the threats, the stalking, and the violence, which occurred throughout their relationships, often continue long after the court has issued an Order for Protection. To truly protect themselves and their children, survivors sometimes have no choice but to terminate leases and move, leave their jobs, and flee from everything familiar to them and their children.

With the implementation of HB 563 on July 1, Florida became the 42nd state to allow victims of domestic violence to qualify for unemployment benefits when they must terminate their employment due to violence committed against them by their loved ones. Unemployment compensation is a temporary wage-replacement benefit for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. Survivors of domestic violence may voluntarily leave work, but still receive reemployment assistance if they can show that leaving that job was a direct result of the circumstances related to their victimization. To qualify, survivors must provide evidence that domestic violence occurred and they must reasonably believe it likely they will be victimized again at, or in transit to or from, their place of employment. The survivor is expected to make a reasonable effort to preserve her/his/their employment by transferring to another job site, unless it is clear that doing so would be a futile effort to curb the violence. Employers are not charged for the payment of benefits directed to these survivors, so employers are not negatively affected by this legislation.

Quite often, it is financial uncertainty which keeps victims of domestic violence in an abusive situation. Arming victims with the financial ability to cut and run will save lives.

Supervising Attorney, Family and Domestic Violence Law, Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida

Senior Attorney, Family Law, Coast to Coast Legal Aid of South Florida

Opioids

The people of the United States own a database they have not seen until now. The database is maintained with their money by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. It tracks every single pain pill sold in the United States, from manufacturers to distributors to your local pharmacy where it is eventually sold to the people in every large city down to the smallest town.

The Washington Post has broken down 380 million of these transactions between 2006 and 2012 into usable form. During that time, 100,000 people reportedly died from opioid abuse.

It was a near thing, however. We almost did not get to see the opioid database at all. We got to see it because two judges voted for us to see it. They voted for us to see the opioid database and the documents related to it in a two-to-one decision in an appeal from a federal court in Ohio, In re: National Prescription Opiate Litigation.

The names of the two judges? Eric L. Clay and Robert A. Griffin. Judge Clay was appointed by President Clinton, Judge Griffin by President George W. Bush. To paraphrase Chief Justice John Roberts, we do not have Clinton judges and we do not have George W. Bush judges. In this case anyway, we are lucky enough to have a ruling from two judges who just tried to rule in favor of public access to a database the public pays for.

It may be of interest to lawyers that Judge Clay, who wrote the opinion, was appointed to the bench to fill the seat of the judge who took senior status and later wrote the dissent in this same case.

Our family has already searched the opioid database to see things like which pharmacies in our area sold the most drugs and how much they sold. You can search the opioid database too. Here is a link: www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/dea-pain-pill-database.

Winter Springs

Appellate Fonts

Bookman Old Style v. Times New Roman; Arial v. Courier.

Really? Judges don’t know you can adjust screen size?

And someone polled all the judges but ignored the people who write and read the briefs the most?

Gainesville

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