Thursday, March 26, 2015

Homo-Fascist War on Freedom: Dark Bilbo Edition

As 'religious liberty' laws spring up across the nation, it's good to remember that we've had this discussion before.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

3d DCA Watch -- Summary Judgment 101 Edition!

Get out your Arent Fox .1 billing sticks, we are about to learn how summary judgments work, courtesy of our blinkered bunkered be-robed bubbes:
In support of their motion for summary judgment, the Lawyers filed affidavits, depositions, and records reflecting evidence which, if it was the only evidence admitted at trial, would support a ruling in favor of the Lawyers. This presentation met the Lawyers’ burden as the movants for summary judgment. Once the movants made such a presentation, the burden shifted to the Tribe as the non-movant opposing the motion to either (1) come forward with conflicting evidence that created a disputed issue of material fact which, if decided in favor of the Tribe, would support a judgment for the Tribe; or (2) file an affidavit, pursuant to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.510(f), describing with specificity the additional discovery needed to obtain such evidence. The Tribe did neither.
Also this:
Summary judgment cannot fulfill its purpose “to test the sufficiency of the evidence to determine if there is sufficient evidence at issue to justify a trial or formal hearing on the issues raised in the pleadings,” The Florida Bar v. Greene, 926 So. 2d 1195, 1200 (Fla. 2006), if the non-moving party responds to a motion for summary judgment by refusing to reveal the evidence it intends to rely upon at trial, or by hiding the fact it has no evidence.
Did I mention I also booked Civ Pro?

 Wade v. Wade:

Anyone ever hear of a D.T. Wade?

Sounds vaguely familiar......

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Your Taxes Paid for My Airport M&Ms (Thanks!)

Well, only if you were to live in Broweird and I were to work at Arent Fox, that is:
Taxpayer-supported Broward Health has paid $10.2 million so far for legal advice about how to deal with an ongoing federal investigation into allegations that it colluded with doctors to submit tens of millions of dollars in bogus claims to Medicare and Medicaid.

Broward Health, also known as the North Broward Hospital District, quietly spent those millions even though federal authorities have yet to level a single public accusation of wrongdoing against it.

The money went to the Washington, D.C. law firm Arent Fox, which was retained shortly after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) subpoenaed documents relating to Broward Health’s contracts with 27 prominent doctors and one physicians’ group practice on May 16, 2011.
They apparently bill for a tenth of a billable hour:
No item was small enough to escape inclusion on Arent Fox’s multi-page invoices: a charge for a tenth of an hour to read an email; $3.35 for a Starbucks latte; $1.99 for a bag of M&M candy peanuts picked up at Palm Beach International Airport.
Listen, everyone's expensed a snack or two purchased while traveling on a case for a client, except here you have a public entity where your every expenditure will be fly-specked.

But then, two bucks at an airport for a bag of candy is pretty reasonable, plus these taxpayers live in Broward so what do they really expect?

SFL is Under Attack!

The plutocrats in South Alabama Tallahassee have been busy little bees! It's getting hard to keep track of all the horrible ideas they are mulling over, but this one should concern the authors and fans of this blog.
A dangerously misguided Florida bill would forbid websites from operating anonymously just because they meet a vague definition of disseminating “commercial recordings”—and it's headed for a vote this week.

Supporters of the “True Origin of Digital Goods Act” say it's about “piracy,” but it would actually have disastrous consequences for anonymous online speech both inside and outside the state. Anybody operating a website that is even “likely to” host music or videos “directly or indirectly,”—even their own music or videos—could be ordered to reveal their name and address.

This new law isn't just unnecessary to enforce federal copyright or trademark laws—it also creates a new avenue for legal abuse. Anyone “aggrieved” by an anonymous website owner could take that owner to court, without having to show legal harm.

Anonymous speech is a vital part of the American free speech tradition, and of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. Artists, writers, and citizens rely on the freedom to speak anonymously through blogs, independent news sites, amateur video and music, and other websites and services. They rely on anonymity to voice unpopular opinions and speak truth to power without fear of harassment or reprisals at work or at home.
 Take action here. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Happy Monday -- Duane Morris Is Filled With Oligarchs!

We all know Judge Olson pulls no punches and suffers no fool oligarch gladly:
Olson issued an interim sanction in January barring Duane Morris partner Lida Rodriguez-Taseff from practicing in the Southern District of Florida's bankruptcy court for 90 days. At that time, he also issued an order against fellow partner Kevin Vance, who faced a similar penalty over an electronically filed court document that contradicted the judge's oral instructions.
"The tone of Duane Morris' pleading in this case reflects what I would conceive of as a self-satisfied smugness, full of self-congratulatory blather—all to the effect that the firm is a great corporate citizen who did nothing wrong in this case," the Fort Lauderdale judge said from the bench Friday. "Duane Morris may be a great corporate citizen in some of the markets in which it practices. Its conduct and attitude here is that it neither cares about being or being seen as a responsible corporate citizen in the Southern District of Florida."
 Ouch -- except he's not done:
"The firm represents that its errors in this case were the result of pure incompetence and not malevolence. It was of course, by all appearances, perfectly willing to throw Ms. Guillou under the bus knowing full well that I would never sanction a paralegal," he said. "As for the senior partner who directed that her underlings upload as agreed an order that was neither agreed nor consistent with the court's ruling—indeed directly contrary to the court's ruling—I have been informed of no sanction which the firm has imposed on Ms. Rodriguez-Taseff, giving me the distinct impression the firm's oligarchs enjoy impunity."
Ok, quick note -- pretty much all Big Firm Oligarchs enjoy impunity -- it's one of the perks of being an oligarch!

In other news, somebody's riding with the king:

Friday, March 20, 2015

See There's This Rule in Appellate Practice....

Something about "raising it below and/or before" -- no, that's not a legalistic sex term (but it should be!):
We deny the petition because Collins did not raise the argument contained in his petition for rehearing in his initial brief on appeal....Collins premises his entire argument on one sentence he did not cite, as interpreted through three circuit court cases he did not cite.  We did not decide the issue presented in Collins' petition for rehearing, and neither do we decide the issue now.
In a footnote, they grind it in just a little bit more:
Nor did he raise it in his reply brief.
Ouch -- even if these three circuit courts are right?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Have You Tried the Hate Du Jour?

I hate writing about gay rights. Really I do. But I don't hate it as much as the sick feeling I get from being silent in the face of injustice. With gay marriage from coast to coast all but a done deal and the ridiculous Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in the dustbin of history, you'd think I could live out my dream of writing provocative romance novels that leave the readers feeling sexually inadequate –


There they are – America's social conservatives – knowing that the well of hate from gay marriage bans is about to run dry, combing through the carpet like crack addicts looking any nugget of discrimination that might give them just another fix.

Fresh from that carpet, I now present the hate turd du jour, PCB HHSC 15-03.
Earlier today, a committee bill that allows private child placing agencies to use their religious or moral convictions as a license to discriminate against qualified parents looking to adopt a child passed in a committee in the FL House of Representatives.

If signed into law, adoption agencies - who receive taxpayer funded grants or contracts - could refuse to place a child with a certain family on the basis of gender, religion, race, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity or family status.

To invoke deeply held biases against the best interest of children and to deny them a loving home is bad for Florida. Now is not the time to make adoption HARDER.
Responding to the vote, ACLU of Florida Director of Public Policy Michelle Richardson stated:
This bill would be a huge blow for the children languishing in Florida’s foster care system awaiting placement in loving, permanent homes. It would turn well-established child welfare law and practice on its head, allowing the interests of the agencies to trump the needs of the children for whom they are charged with caring.

When an agency receives tax dollars to find families for children in the child welfare system, it must place children in homes based on professional standards that protect the best interest of a child, not religious or moral criteria.

The right to religious liberty does not give agencies a right to get government contracts to place wards of the State in families and then refuse to do the job they agreed to do: make placements based on the best interests of the children. If this bill passes, an agency could refuse to place a child with the aunt he knows and loves because she is not of the same faith as the agency, or refuse to place a child with serious medical needs with a doctor with the skills to care for her because the doctor doesn’t follow the agency’s religious tenets.

Telling private agencies that they can deny children placements with qualified families based solely on the agency’s religious beliefs will keep all kinds of good parents in our diverse state from providing Florida’s neediest kids a family for any number of reasons: because they are of a different faith than the agency, they are divorced, they hunt, they are pro-life or pro-choice, or they are a same-sex couple.

Supporters of the bill say that families that are turned away could just go to another agency.  That ignores those directly affected by this bill – the children.  A five year old can’t say ‘please transfer me to another agency that will choose a family for me based on my needs, not theirs.'
You may like me, you may hate me, but one thing you should know is that I'm great with kids. I'm nearly as good with them as my husband. We are uncles and we are godparents, entrusted with the latter because, as my friend put it, "You two are the finest example of love and mutual respect that I can possibly show my children." If and when we ever become parents, we'll be damn good parents.

Contrast that with any idiots you see in family court or worse that @#%&*!  who threw his daughter off a bridge. All cool, because they're all hetro. How pathetic. How lame. How terrible for children.

Lawyer Perpretrates Massive Fraud on SD FL -- Wonder What Judge King Thought of That?

Judge King lays out an incredible tale of fraud and deception in this must-read 58-page order:
One of the greatest transgressions that can be committed against a federal court is to knowingly perpetrate a fraud and to commandeer and manipulate the legal processes to do so. This case involves just such a fraud. What this Court described as the "legal finale to a three-year opera with a stunning libretto'' more than two years ago has come back for an even more stunning--encore.
Here's the crux of the scheme -- of course it involves fake sunken treasure (but no Jessica Alba unfortunately):
After nearly a year of discovery into the issue of sanctions, Judge Moore's three-day trial on the subject culminated with a stunning on-the-stand revelation from a subpoenaed witness and a finding by Judge Moore that the whole case had indeed been designed from the beginning to commit a fraud upon the Court: 
The truth is that in 2010 Miscovich purchased a total of eighty pounds of raw emeralds from JR Emeralds, a jewelry store in Jupiter, Florida. According to the testimony of Jorge Rodriguez ('Rodriguez'), the owner of JR Emeralds, Miscovich purchased the Emeralds over four visits in March, May, August, and September of 20101. Each trip Miscovich purchased approximately 20 pounds of emeralds for approximately twenty thousand dollars for a total of approximately eighty thousand dollars. By purchasing the Emeralds and then "finding them'' at the bottom of the ocean, Miscovich engaged in fraud to vastly increase their value as purported "sunken treasure.''
 Gotta love this town!

Mikey Pizzi Wants to Be Reinstated As Mayor of Miami Lakes!

Ah crap. Wrong video.

Here we go.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

3d DCA Watch -- You Decide, Then We Decide!

I've got a spring in my step this morning, and am actually trying to diligently litigate instead of wasting time on this crappy blog.

What about you?

Shut the forty-six open pages on your browser down and get back to work!

(But if you're still here, read on.....)

R.J. Reynolds v. Ballard:

Plaintiff's verdict affirmed despite a few choice statements by counsel.

Trek Bicycle v. Miguelez:

Personally I'm sick of juries being entrusted with deciding proximate cause -- these people can't even get out of jury service:
The issue of proximate causation is generally a question of fact concerned with “whether and to what extent the defendant's conduct foreseeably and substantially caused the specific injury that actually occurred.” McCain v. Florida Power Corp., 593 So. 2d 500, 502 (Fla. 1992). The Florida Supreme Court has stated that “harm is ‘proximate’ in a legal sense if prudent human foresight would lead one to expect that similar harm is likely to be substantially caused by the specific act or omission in question.” McCain, 593 So. 2d at 503. The conduct alleged here, failure to warn that damaged carbon fiber could fail suddenly, was not the conduct which was the proximate cause of the injury in this case. Road debris getting caught in the front spokes causing the wheel to suddenly stop is the proximate cause.
Salas v. Alexander:

What happens when you enter a TRO and set a bond but give no date for compliance?
By giving the movant the unfettered right to determine when the injunction will take effect, the order effectively precludes the non-movant from seeking dissolution of the order for failure to post the bond. After all, how can the nonmovant seek to dissolve a temporary injunction order for failure to post a bond when the order contains no date by which the bond must be posted?

In light of this, we recommend that the Civil Procedure Rules Committee of the Florida Bar consider proposing an amendment to Florida Rule of Civil Procedure 1.610 to require a trial court to include, in its order granting a temporary injunction, a timeframe within which the bond must be posted.
Seems really obvious but I guess it can't hurt to put it in writing -- someone will get right on that!