Legal Updates

LETHAL INJECTION APPROVED  The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a capital punishment case that a sedative administered prior to the injection of lethal drugs was constitutionally sound and could be used in such cases.  In response to the ruling, the Florida Supreme Court lifted its stay of executions as its protocol was nearly identical to the subject of the federal case.  There are currently 395 individuals on Florida’s death row. 

 

2011 TEACHER EVALUATION LAW  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta ruled in favor of the State regarding the constitutionality of Florida’s teacher evaluation law.  The teachers union had alleged that teachers were being evaluated on the test scores of students who they did not instruct.  The Court ruled that while the assessment system may be unfair, it met the standards imposed by current law. The union has not decided if it will pursue additional action.

 

FLORIDA BAR DUES INCREASE   A group of Florida attorneys asked the Florida Supreme Court to authorize the Florida Bar to raise its annual dues, which could be up to $100.  The additional funding would be used to provide free legal services for underserved populations through legal aid societies.  The Court, in a 4-3 decision, deferred the proposed increase in order to give groups time to develop a more comprehensive approach to solving the rapidly growing funding crisis for low income legal services. 

 

WORKERS COMPENSATION LAW APPEAL  The Florida Supreme Court has been asked by the plaintiffs to review a ruling by the Third District Court of Appeal regarding a workers’ compensation lawsuit. The appeal court ruled the plaintiffs did not have standing and therefore, the suit was moot.  The issue is whether workers’ compensation should be the exclusive remedy for at-work injuries.

 

RED-LIGHT CAMERA CHALLENGE  The City of Fort Lauderdale has asked the Florida Supreme Court to overturn a 2012 ruling by the Fourth District Court of Appeal.  The case concerns a rental car driver who was given a uniform traffic citation, rather than a notice of infraction, after being identified by the rental car company.  The driver contends the $263 citation was unfair considering the fine for an infraction is $158.  The appeal court agreed, and ruled a portion of the law unconstitutional.

 

MEDICAL MALPRACTICE PRIVACY LAW Florida’s First District Court of Appeal ruled that a 2013 law governing the filing of medical malpractice lawsuits is constitutional.  The law requires that persons filing malpractice suits sign legal documents allowing “ex parte” communications.  The ruling will allow the waiving of certain privacy rights as defendants can seek patient information from third party sources without the presence of the patients’ attorney(s).

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