Legal Updates

FLORIDA SUPREME COURT JUSTICE APPOINTMENT Governor DeSantis was dealt a defeat when the Florida Supreme Court sided with the plaintiff in the appointment battle over a new justice. According to the law, the initial appointment was ineligible because she had not been a Florida Bar member for the required time period. The Court agreed and established a timeline under which the Governor was to make a new appointment. The Governor did not timely respond, but eventually complied when the Court set a new deadline.

SCHOOL BOARD LIABILITY The Florida Supreme Court has ruled that the statutory limit of damages of $300,000 applies to the Broward County School Board in relation to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The limit applies to the victims and their families.

PHONE PASSCODES The 5th District Court of Appeal has overturned an Orange County circuit court judge ruling regarding phone passcodes. The appeals court determined that passcodes are protected by the fifth amendment regarding self-incrimination and therefore, need not be disclosed.

PRIMARY ELECTION AMENDMENT The cost estimate for the proposed amendment creating an open primary was challenged by its sponsor. Initially, a Leon County circuit judge ruled that estimate must be changed, but a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal overruled the decision because under state law the approval time by the Florida Supreme Court had passed, rendering the case moot.

SCHOOL SAFETY PANEL Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission was sued by members of the public and several organizations because the Orlando resort where the October, 2019 meeting was held charged for parking and was not accessible by public transportation. The plaintiffs believed the Commission violated state open government laws. A Leon County judge “suggested” that a settlement be reached prior to trial. The Commission agreed not to hold meetings in inaccessible locations, provide for public comment at the end of each meeting, and schedule a minimum of one hour of public participation on agenda-ed items.