Legal Issues

WORKER’S COMPENSATION INSURANCE  The 1st District Court of Appeal has allowed a 14.5 percent increase in worker’s compensation insurance premiums to take effect on  December 8th.  The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation had approved the increase in September.  The approval was partially based upon Florida Supreme Court rulings which overturned restrictions on litigation enacted by the Legislature and approved by the Governor in 2003.

MIDDLE SCHOOL CLUBS  The 11th District Court of Appeal has overturned a lower court ruling involving the formation of gay-straight alliance clubs at Lake County middle schools.  In 2011, the school board denied the formation of such a club resulting in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of students.  Students at Carver Middle School announced they will proceed with the formation of such a club in an effort to stop bullying.

WHISTLE-BLOWER SETTLEMENT  The Florida Department of Corrections has settled a whistle-blower lawsuit brought by three Department investigators.  The lawsuits alleged that the State had retaliated against their employees because of their investigations.    The State will settle the lawsuit by paying six individuals a total of $800,000, but not admit to any wrongdoing.

PRISONER SUBSTANCE ABUSE  An administrative judge has ruled against a private contractor which currently provides work release and substance abuse programs to inmates in Orange County.  At issue was the State’s RFP which removed the substance abuse aspect of the contract.  Bridges of America, Inc. contended the Department of Corrections had not properly gone through proper procedures when making the change.  The judge acknowledged the Department does have the power to change contracts.

 TAX CREDIT SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM  In a blow to the continuing legal maneuverings regarding Florida’s tax credit scholarship program, which provides scholarship monies for low-income and minority students, the Florida PTA has officially dropped out of the suit.

EXECUTION DRUG FIGHT CONTINUED  As reported in our last eNewsletter, Arizona attorneys sought information on Florida’s triple drug lethal injection protocol for death row inmates.  The Department of Corrections had refused to provide the information, but a federal magistrate ordered the Department to turn over the requested documents.  The magistrate did allow for the redaction of sensitive information, such as identification of drug suppliers.

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