Legal Updates

TIGER RELOCATION The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has won a victory over a Tampa area private zoo. PETA had alleged that the zoo owners mistreated their endangered tigers. The federal judge concurred and barred the owners from owning any tigers and ordered the existing tigers be sent to animal sanctuaries.

SETTLEMENT REACHED Attorney General Moody announced that her office had reached a settlement agreement with the Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute. The $20 million settlement will be paid out over the next four years. The state had alleged the company had conspired with a competitor to divide business in the state. The company admitted no wrongdoing. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the company had agreed to pay a $100 million fine to settle a federal criminal investigation.

CAMPUS VOTING The state and voting rights groups reached a settlement in the lawsuit challenging the state’s position on early voting sites on college and university campuses. The state placed restrictions on sites to ensure adequate parking, prompting the lawsuit. A lower court sided with the voters and, as a result of actions taken by Secretary of State Laurel Lee, the voting rights groups were satisfied and the federal judge dismissed the case.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS The Florida Commission on Ethics has ruled that the state’s tough gift ban for public officials does not allow them to appear in a public service announcement.  One cable company offered assistance to the state in response to the COVID-19 crises, but since cable providers employ lobbyists before state government, such an appearance would constitute an ethics violation.

TRADEMARKS Tom Brady, who recently signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, applied to register trademarks in what appears to be an attempt to further cash in on his recent signing. Brady is looking to register “Tompa Bay” and “Tampa Brady” as well as expand the use of “TB12”.