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Escambia/Santa Rosa Bar Association
Guardian Ad Litem
Volume 3 / Issue 1
UWF-Stetson Agreement 路 Remembering Paul Cummings 路 Law School Debt 路 New Members 路 Announcements
March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 1
Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association 216 South Tarragona Street, Suite B Pensacola, FL 32501 Phone: 850.434.8135 Fax: 850.436.8822 email: email@example.com Lawyer Referral Service: 850.434.6009 Executive Director Michael Doubek firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Patricia Buchanan Wright email@example.com Published quarterly by the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association as a service to its membership. Any article herein may be reproduced provided credit is given both to The Summation and the author of the article. Articles appearing in The Summation are not to be construed as official expressions of the views of the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association. Official positions are expressed only by formal resolutions adopted by a majority of the membership and will be so designated when published. Editorials are expressions of the opinion of the Editor. Due date for all advertisements, articles, and announcements is the 1st of the month for the issue you wish to advertise in. Address all editorial correspondence to the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar Association office. For all inquiries concerning advertising rates contact Ballinger Publishing. “The Summation Committee is dedicated to providing a publication to the legal community which contains articles that are accurate, informative, entertaining, educational, relevant and timely.” Summation Committee If you have any comments or suggestions about The Summation, please feel free to express them to any of the committee members. If you would like to join the committee, please call the Bar office at 434.8135.
Judge Terry Terrell Judge Charles J. Kahn Brooke Jones Gerald McGill Caroline Peterson Lisa York
Jason Boatwright Benjamin Stevenson Clara Smith Paula Walker Tami Stokes Debra Bass
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11. UWF-Stetson Agreement 12. Guardian Ad Litem 16. Wall of Honor 18. Law School Debt 19. Judge’s Preferences 20. Photos
In every issue 3. From the President 4. Chief’s Corner 5. New Members / Announcements 6. Board of Governors 8. The Bottom Line 10. Ask a Lawyer 22. News From the Clerk 23. Classifieds / Calendar
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From the President The new year is both a time for making resolutions and, unfortunately, for breaking them. However, we should all abide by a few resolutions to help ensure a happy, healthy new year. First, regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do for our health. It can help keep our thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as we age. It can improve sleep and reduce health risks. Research has shown that doing aerobic or a mix of aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities three to five times a week for 30 to 60 minutes can give you these benefits. Some scientific evidence has also shown that even lower levels of physical activity can be beneficial. So, we should try to continue our frequent visits to the gym, but even if the membership has lapsed after January, we can go for a brisk walk because even moderate-intensity aerobic activity can greatly improve overall health. Take the opportunity to walk to the next court hearing or ESRBA lunch meeting. I do. Second, although a stressful law practice is too common, we should exhibit the strength to ask for help when we need it or help a colleague who may not recognize their need for assistance. With the weight of our clients’ problems on our shoulders, in addition to the logistics of running a successful practice, attorneys disproportionately abuse alcohol and drugs and suffer from depression and trauma disorders. However, these realities are treatable. And instead of thinking of them
By Benjamin J. Stevenson
as a weakness, we should realize the true weakness is failing to get help. In addition to many community based programs and groups, the Florida Lawyers Assistance Program (FLAP) is a confidential way to get help. A FLAP peer group for substance abuse meets in Pensacola on Mondays at 5:30 p.m. Lastly, let’s continue to focus on important relationships and making new memories. Whether it is tucking our children into bed, watching a game with a friend, or a special dinner with our love, family and friends are good for our health and wellbeing. Making them a priority will lead to overall success. We should resolve to spend some contemplative time walking on the beach or singing with the choir on Sunday mornings. Let’s take that long-needed vacation, which can lower stress, spark creativity, offer a fresh perspective for problem solving, improve relationships and increase productivity. It doesn’t have to be two weeks in Europe, either. Just 24 hours away and you’ll reap the benefits. Importantly, the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation. Simply having something to look forward to can be rewarding Ultimately, our family, friends, clients, and self are better served when we are happy and healthy. Let’s keep these resolutions.
March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 3
With the new year, the winds of change continue to blow across the First Judicial Circuit. Consistent with Fla.R.Jud.Admin. 2.215(b)(3) and a First Circuit Administrative Order, the circuit judges in the three largest counties in the circuit rotate division assignments from time to time within their assigned county. The purpose of the rule is to achieve: â€œthe development of the capabilities of the judges in such a manner that each judge will be qualified to serve in any division...â€? A number of circuit judges in several of the counties rotated in January 2014. It appears likely that rotation will be a relatively regular event over the next few years; while our newer judges have the opportunity to expand their experience base. For the first time in many years, primarily due to economic recovery in the region, the possibility of the addition of new judges has some potential to occur. Last fall I certified to the Chief Justice that the First Circuit needed two additional circuit judges based upon the formula the Legislature requires the court system to use to determine
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By Terry D. Terrell Chief Judge First Circuit Court
need for new judges. The Chief Justice submitted our certification to the Governor and the Legislature along with the certified needs from other circuits. The Governor included the certified need from the First Circuit in the budget he recommended to the Legislature. There is a potential that with the improved economy, the Legislature may agree and authorize funding for new judgeships for the first time since 2006. While no decision has been made regarding potential division assignments if the judgeships are approved, the primary locations of the new judgeships will in all likelihood be one judge in Escambia County and one judge in Okaloosa County. The placement of any approved judgeships will be based upon statistically demonstrated caseload management factors and facility suitability issues. While we have made every effort to have our judges work in a single county over the past several years, there is a possibility any new judges may be assigned to work in more than one county, once again based upon demonstrated statistical need.
New Members Travis A. Bright Jr. Hall, Prangle, and Schoonveld 3 W. Garden Street, Suite 714 Pensacola, Florida 32502 (850) 462-9532 firstname.lastname@example.org Nicholas R. Medley Medley Law Firm 222 W. Cervantes Street Pensacola, Florida 32501 (850) 768-0132 email@example.com Stephanie Harriett-Wartenberg 7552 Navarre Parkway, Unit 47 Navarre, Florida 32566 (850) 684-3218 firstname.lastname@example.org
R. Ian MacLaren III Soloway Law Group 1013 Airport Boulvard Pensacola, Florida 32504 (561) 809-6039 email@example.com Sean J. Seely Lynchard & Greene, P.L. 1901 Andorra Street Navarre, FL 32566 (850) 936-9578 firstname.lastname@example.org
Travis P. Lepicier Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor 316 S. Baylen Street, Suite 600 Pensacola, Florida 32502 (850) 435-7006 email@example.com Jonathan D. Simpson Simpson Law Firm 1048 Mar Walt Drive Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32547 (850) 862-1134 firstname.lastname@example.org Logan F. Sliva Amy Logan Sliva, Attorney at Law 313 W. Gregory Street Pensacola, FL 32502 (850) 438-6603 email@example.com Kellie A. Caggiano Galloway, Johnson, Tompkins, Burr & Smith, PLC 118 E. Garden Street Pensacola, FL 32502 (850) 436-7000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Announcements Alan Sheppard Longtime member and friend of the Escambia Santa Rosa Bar Association, Alan C. Sheppard, passed away at the age of 92 on Feb. 9, 2014. Alan Sheppard was a senior partner in the firm of Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon where he practiced real estate law. Mr. Sheppard was a 1939 graduate of Pensacola High School and studied law through LaSalle Extension University while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. He passed the Florida Bar in 1947 and was an active member of the Bar for over 60 years. He had a lifelong love of birding, sailing and the outdoors. He was also an avid dancer and a lover of music. Alan enjoyed being a member of various dance organizations and Krewes, dancing until the last few months of his life. Mental Health Moment: If you cannot remember the last time you took a vacation, it is time to take one!
Richard M. Tuten Health First Network, Inc. 2929 Langley Avenue, Stuite 103 Pensacola, FL 32504 (850) 438-0818 email@example.com John E. Rogers Hall, Prangle and Schoonveld, LLC 17 S. Palafox Street, Suite 382 Pensacola, Florida 32502 (850) 462-9513 firstname.lastname@example.org Joseph W. Hammons The Hammons Law Firm 17 W. Cervantes Street Pensacola, Florida 32501 (850) 434-1068 email@example.com
March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 5
Board of Governors
By Stephen Echsner
The Florida Bar Board of Governors The Florida Bar Board of Governors met on January 31, 2014. Major actions of the board and reports received included: Chief Justice Ricky Polston discussed the state of the judiciary. He said the court system is seeking competitive pay adjustments and equity and retention funds for court staff, funds for repairs and upgrades to four aging district court of appeal buildings, and funds for continued technological improvements for the court system. The proposed budget for 2014-15 also includes 49 new judges – three appellate, seven circuit, and 39 county judgeships—as detailed in the December 20 judicial certification opinion. For additional information on the court system’s budget requests for 2014-2015, please visit www.flcourts.org.
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President Eugene K. Pettis announced that the deadline for Bar members to apply for the Bar’s recommendation of six lawyers for two vacancies on each Judicial Nominating Commission to the Governor for the Governor’s appointment has been extended to Friday, March 21, at 5:30 p.m. Each appointee will serve a four-year term commencing July 1, 2014. Applicants must be engaged in the practice of law and a resident of the territorial jurisdiction served by the commission to which the member is applying. Applicants must comply with state financial disclosure laws. Screening committees of the Board of Governors will review all JNC applications. The Executive Committee will then make recommendations to the Board of Governors. The application is posted on the Bar’s website or members may call Bar headquarters at (850) 561-5757, to obtain the application. Three proposed amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar were received on first reading. They pertain to: participation in lawyer referral services (Rule 4-7.22); the requirement that Bar members certify that the maintenance of their trust accounts is in compliance with rules (Rule 5-1.2); and replacing monies improperly taken from trust accounts (Rule 5-1.1). For details on the amendments, please watch for articles in The Florida Bar News. The board approved allowing the Legal Needs of Children Committee to support legislation allowing only judges to make a determination when children charged with crimes should be tried in adult court. In addition, the board approved a request of the Standing Committee on the Unlicensed Practice of Law for The Florida Bar to support the American Bar Association’s efforts to advocate for passage of legislation (HR 2936) to prevent immigrants from being victimized by nonlawyers in immigration matters. A dedication ceremony was held to formally name the Wm. Reece Smith, Jr., Leadership Academy. The Academy’s first class of 59 fellows met in Tallahassee January 30-31 and attended the Pro Bono Awards Ceremony, the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society Annual Dinner and the academy’s dedication ceremony at the Board of Governors meeting. Justice Barbara Pariente made a presentation on the Informed Voters Project, a nonpartisan voter education initiative of the National Association of Women Judges. Florida is one of eight states selected to implement pilot projects to address the importance of a fair and impartial judiciary and of keeping special interests from influencing judicial elections. For more information, visit http://ivp.nawj.org/ and read the February 1 Florida Bar News article.
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March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 7
The Bottom Line
By Elizabeth A. Crane, FRP, ACP
Social Media Discovery Billions of people use social media to over-share every aspect of their life. Thus, obtaining social media ESI (Electronically Stored Information) is becoming increasingly important in litigation. F.R.C.P. 26(b) allows parties to seek any information that is reasonably calculated to lead to the discovery of admissible evidence. While requests targeting ESI should not be subject to heightened scrutiny, recent court rulings indicate otherwise: •
Fawcett v. Altieri, 960 N.Y.S.2d 592 (Sup. Ct. Richmond Co., NY Jan. 11, 2013), the Court held that an adversary must show “with some credible facts” that the subscriber posted information relevant to the facts of the case. Keller v. Nat’l Farmers Union Prop. & Cas. Co., No. CV 12-72-M-DLC-JCL, (Dist. Court, D. Montana Jan. 2, 2013), the Court denied a request for “a full printout of all of social media website page… from [date of accident] to the present” stating that the request was “overly burdensome and meant to harass.” Salvato v. Miley, No. 5:12-cv-00635 (M.D. Fla. June 11, 2013), Florida’s Middle District denied plaintiff’s requests to access defendant’s ESI, stating “[t]he mere hope that Brown’s private … electronic communication[s] might include an admission against interest, without more, is not a sufficient reason to require Brown to provide Plaintiff open access to his private communications.”
Other courts have allowed access to ESI with less difficulty: •
Romano v. Steelcase, 2010 WL 3703242 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. Sept. 21, 2010), the Court held that because social networking is where people share personal information, “[i]n this environment, privacy is no longer grounded in reasonable expectations, but rather in some theoretical protocol better known as wishful thinking.” Zimmerman v. Weis Markets, 2011 P.A. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 187 (Pa. Comm. Pl. May 19, 2011), the Court held, “[t]o permit a party claiming very substantial damages… to hide behind self-set privacy controls on a website, the primary purpose of which is to enable people to share information about how they lead their social lives, risks depriving the opposite party of access to material that may be relevant to ensuring a fair trial.” Moore v. Miller, No. 1:10-cv-00651-JLK-MJW (D. Colo. June 6, 2013) a Colorado district judge ordered a plaintiff to provide his entire Facebook account history, stating that it was relevant to his claims of emotional pain and suffering, physical pain, and humiliation.
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Realistically, it will take years for the courts to evolve and determine how to deal with ESI as a whole. Until then, here are some sample requests for ESI: Sample Interrogatories: 1. For each of the social media platforms listed below, please identify your username(s) or email address(es) associated with the account, and the approximate date you joined the website or service. (Please note that password information is not being sought). If you have not joined a listed website or service, expressly state that you have never joined that particular website or service. 2. Identify the user name, registration information, account detail, login information, or any other identifying information for any job board or job search websites for which you are (or were) registered or of which you are (or were) a member, including but not limited to: CareerBuilder, Monster, etc., from [date] to the present. 3. For each job search website identified in response to Interrogatory No. 2, please produce your account data for the period of [date] through the present. Sample Request for Production: For each Facebook account maintained by you, please produce your account data that relates in any way to the claims asserted in plaintiff’s Complaint, for the period of _____ through present. (To download and print your Facebook data: Log onto your Facebook account, select “Account Settings” under the “Account” tab, click on the “learn more” link beside the “Download Your Information” tab, and follow the directions on the “Download Your Information” page). And that’s The Bottom Line!
References: Hamilton, Mike (May 17, 2013). Case Law Clarity for Requesting Social Media ESI. http://www.exterro.com/e-discovery-beat/2013/05/17/case-law-clarity-for-requesting-socialmedia-esi/ Loatman, Michael (June 13, 2013). Courts Continue to Differ on Social Media Discovery. http://www.bna.com/courts-continue-differ-b17179874500/ Niloy Ray, Aaron Crews, and Paul Weiner (Jan. 29, 2013). A Litigator’s Guide to Social Media Discovery in Civil Actions. http://www.law.com/jsp/pa/PubArticlePA. jsp?id=1202586011014 Snow, Tyson (May 21, 2012). The Ultimate Social Media Account Interrogatory. http:// lawyernomics.avvo.com/social-media/the-ultimate-social-media-account-interrogatory.html Snow, Tyson (Oct. 19, 2011). Sample Discovery Requests: Facebook and Social Media. http://www.socialmediaesq.com/2011/10/19/sample-discovery-requests-facebook-andsocial-media/ Wassom, Brian D. (Mar. 5, 2013). Chapter 18: Discovery – Standards for Discovering Social Media Information. http://www.wassom.com/wosml/wosml-18a Whitman, Crista L. (Jan. 2, 2012). Social Media Discovery: It’s Not So Different After All. http://www.martindale.com/media-law/article_LeClairRyan_1402440.htm http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-people-use-the-topsocial-media/
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March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 9
Ask a Lawyer
By John Glassman
Guardianship Audit Fees What is the role of the Clerk of Court in elder guardianship cases? In most civil cases, the clerk does not get involved in the day to day operations of those cases. That is because, “ideally” there are two attorneys; one on each side of the dispute to monitor the filings. However, that is not the case in guardianships. A typical elder guardianship is comprised of a mental health (incapacity) case; and a guardianship (guardian) case. The cases have to be monitored by the Clerk. Because of due process concerns, a Ward starts out represented by an attorney. When the initial plan and inventory are filed, the attorney for the Ward is discharged. §744.368, Responsibilities of the Clerk of the Circuit Court: provides, “in addition to serving as custodian, the Clerk shall review each initial and annual guardianship report.” The Initial Verified (Inventory) or the first verified listing provides: Within 60 days of the Letters of Guardianship, an inventory must be filed, and then each year thereafter an annual
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accounting is filed. It is the clerk’s job to audit the accounting. §744.368(3) provides, “Within 90 days after the Verified Inventory by a guardian, the clerk shall audit the initial inventory and the clerk shall advise the Court when the inventory is late. Thus, the legislature has delegated to the Clerk, the duty to audit inventories, and annual accountings, in all guardianship cases. What is the typical audit fee charged by the Clerk of Court? Pursuant to §744.3678 the Clerk is entitled to charge an audit fee. The amount of the fee ranges from $0.00 for simplified accountings, to $250.00, for accountings with assets over $500,000.00. The Clerk in Escambia County, requires the audit fee be hand delivered, not electronically filed.
UWF & Stetson University Partner to Benefit Aspiring Local Lawyers Starting next summer, the University of West Florida will offer aspiring attorneys a new way to reduce the time it takes to obtain a law degree through a partnership with Stetson University College of Law. The two universities will partner to offer a 3+3 program starting in August 2015. The program will allow highperforming students to earn their bachelor’s and juris doctor in six years, rather than the traditional seven, spending three years at UWF and three years at Stetson Law. UWF President Dr. Judy Bense announced the new program. The program will provide “seamless transitions” for the university’s students, she said in a university news release. Students accepted into the program will be paired with a law student, faculty or alumni mentor and are eligible for scholarship consideration, according to the university.
Charles Liberis, a Stetson graduate and prominent Pensacola attorney instrumental in developing the agreement between the two universities, said in a release Wednesday morning that the program will make the dream of becoming an attorney more accessible. UWF and Stetson Law also signed an agreement for a 4+3 Direct Admissions program, which allows UWF students to gain admission to Stetson Law by meeting eligibility requirements, according the university release. Stetson Law also has also partnered with the University of South Florida for a similar 3+3 program. Stetson University College of Law is a longtime partner of the University of West Florida and is sponsoring the third annual UWF Argo Invitational Mock Trial Tournament, which took take place in January at the UWF Mock Trial Courtroom.
March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 11
By Joan Irby, Guardian Ad Litem Volunteer Recruiter and Cary Willcox, Trainer, Guardian Ad Litem
Guardian Ad Litem: Pro-Bono Attorneys Give Hope to Children and Community
Over 31,000 children within the state of Florida are in that his or her voice is heard. the dependency court system. These children are victims of Frustration with the systems extends to volunteers as abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. The dependency court well as the children. Adrian Bridges, a pro-bono attorney system is designed to protect these children, to make sure for a GAL child, noted that the, “… contribution I made that they have a safe place to live and grow into healthy, doesn’t appear to have helped much given the recent turn happy adults. The Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) of events. I would like to think that, if nothing else, I was gives these children someone Tyler a voice in court. could talk to who Volunteers and prowould let him air bono attorneys give his thoughts, discuss these children hope. his ideas, and where It is important for he wouldn’t have children in the to worry about dependency system being chastised for to have a voice in his ideas. Because the courtroom, of the attorneyhaving an advocate client relationship, or pro-bono attorney I think it allowed brings hope into Tyler to open up the lives of these about things that children by ensuring really bothered him that their voice is without worrying heard. Pro-bono that someone would attorney Jennifer use that against Adrian Bridges Jennifer Frydrychowicz J. Frydrychowicz him later or judge noted, “As adults, we him for it. I’d “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” are cognizant of the like to think that, - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. defenseless nature although he ended of our children. up violating his Nowhere is this point more glaring than in our dependency probation, we were able to limp it along further than had system. By affording representation for the best interests of I not been there.” Although the court case is not always a child, through the Guardian ad Litem program, I hope affected in the direction we’d like, the child’s life is always to ensure that this child’s world, and by extension, our affected in a positive light. community as a whole, will ultimately be a better place.” An essential component of the GAL program is the During recent interviews with foster children, a ability of the volunteer to remain with that particular compelling sentiment was made obvious. The majority of case and the children involved throughout the life of that these children feel invisible. A seeming multitude of people case. Children are often moved from one placement to are making decisions about their lives but no one seems another, necessitating a change in virtually all of the people to hear or care how these children feel. Volunteers provide involved, both official and personal. The GAL remains the these children with a direct line of communication with same. This has a measurable impact on children. They the court; the pro-bono attorney provides further legal are shown that not only are they important, but that they expertise specifically for the child. When this happens, the are worth an adult’s valuable time. Jason and his sister child knows that he is truly cared for and begins to believe Lisa found it hard to believe that they might have to leave 12 The Summation www.esrba.com March 2014
their home. Their GAL advocate, Donna, helped them to understand why it was necessary and that they both deserved a better life. Lisa now has friends and has learned how to be a teenager. Jason discovered that he is quite good at sports and now participates on a regular basis. Lisa believes that she would have ended up “feeling depressed, dropping out of school, not having any friends, not being able to be a kid,” and that she would have “followed in mom’s footsteps and ended up pregnant at the age of 15.” It’s been three years since that fateful meeting on “the curb across the street” for Jason and Lisa with their GAL. These two siblings are now in a stable, loving home. Together. They feel cherished and loved. They have the life they always felt they wanted and dreamed of. Now they even believe that they deserve to be happy. They have opportunities to be themselves, to be kids. They credit their GAL with helping them to understand the system, for listening when they needed to be heard, for showing them that she was there through years of uncertainty and guiding them with hope for a better tomorrow. Today 40 percent of the children in the system have no access to a GAL Volunteer, and most of them feel hopeless. Without a volunteer a child is twice as likely to remain in foster care and child welfare systems, feeling totally alone and uncared for. One child recently commented, “[Being transported by my GAL volunteer] has helped me by not only telling me but showing me people out there care…amazing people. It has given me hope and on bad days, it has saved me from a day of depression and loneliness. I appreciate [it] so much.” GAL Volunteers truly help these children to find their way in life when no other adult is there. GAL children gain the knowledge that there is at least one person in their lives who will be there for them. They begin to trust again in someone who demonstrates love to them and they begin to hope that there is an end to their suffering with a bright and better world ahead. In the words of Pamela, a former foster child, “To give a child a GAL Volunteer is to give them a voice. To give them a voice is to give them hope, and to give them hope is to give the world. I believe that with all my heart.” This is truly one cause where the actions of a single person mean everything. These amazing stories and personal accounts come from volunteers and children who interact as little as three to five hours a month. These truly life-changing stories are happening because of our volunteers who lead busy, sometimes hectic lives of their own. Our volunteers have been able to see how much of an impact that can make in a child’s life. Unfortunately more and more children are sheltered by the court and removed from their home everyday. Do you have three to five hours a month to give a child hope? Become a pro-bono attorney! Please call our office at 850595-3728 for more information. We are also happy to come to your location for group presentations.
• Federal Civil Service Law • Business & Real Estate Law • Florida Public Employee Pensions www.FederalCivilServiceLaw.com 504 North Baylen Street • Pensacola, Fl 32501 Office: 850.434.9922 • Fax: 850.432.2028
March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 13
Wall of Honor Preview The Escambia/Santa Rosa Bar Foundation, Inc. has created and established a memorial wall for the purpose of honoring and commemorating deceased attorneys and judges of the First Judicial Circuit. The “Wall of Honor” is located on the first floor of the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building, Pensacola, Florida. “Eligible individuals” are limited to deceased attorneys and judges of the State of Florida’s First Judicial Circuit who are in good standing with The Florida Bar at the time of resignation from The Florida Bar, at the time of death, and at the time of placement and installation of their name on the “Wall of Honor.” Currently there are 14 names etched on the Wall of Honor.
Listed by date of death, they are: William A. Blount (October 25, 1851 – June 15, 1921) J. Nixon Daniel, Jr. (March 22, 1927 – May 7, 1975) Bert Lane (March 29, 1917 – October 7, 1981) Joe Jackson Harrell (August 14, 1919 – July 22, 1987) M.C. Blanchard (April 17, 1923 – January 2, 1989)
Lefferts L. Mabie, Jr. (May 5, 1925 – March 20, 1996) D.L. Middlebrooks (June 27, 1926 – March 26, 1997) E. Dixie Beggs (April 3, 1908 – February 20, 2001) David H. Levin (November 19, 1928 – January 7, 2002) J. Lofton Westmoreland (April 13, 1946 – September 30, 2004) William S. Meador (April 24, 1974 – January 24, 2005)
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Stanley B. Levin (November 18, 1938 – April 10, 2009) Paul L. Cummings (March 21, 1930 – December 9, 2010) Alphonse G. Condon, Jr. (September 24, 1934 – June 2, 2011) In each edition of The Summation we feature one of the individuals memorialized on the Wall of Honor. You can find Mr. Cumming’s story on page 16.
March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 15
Wall of Honor
By Tommy Ratchford
Paul L. Cummings The following is reprinted from a 2011 Summation article by Tommy Ratchford remembering Paul L. Cummings. Paul is forever memorialized on the “Wall of Honor” in the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building. Our colleague, Paul L. Cummings passed away on Dec. 10, 2010 after serving the legal needs of the citizens of Escambia County for over 50 years. In a way, he represented one of the last of “the old guard,” one of the last of his generation of Pensacola attorneys. The line that marks that generation is associated with the opening of the present judicial center and the creation of the present two tiered trial court that came into being Jan. 1, 1973. Prior to January 1973 there existed a myriad of tribunals for administration of the law. There was the circuit court, the court of record, municipal courts and numerous justice of the peace courts. Part of one’s legal expertise at the time was simply knowing which court had jurisdiction over your cause of action. Lawyers who practiced under that system were a generation unto themselves and the names are impressive. J.B. Hopkins, Joe Harrell, John Coe, Bob Gaines, Bert Lane, Will Fisher, Richard Merritt and others too numerous to name led the local bar and were men who both gave and received respect from all they interacted with. Paul Cummings was such a man. I am proud to say that Paul Cummings was my friend and in many ways a mentor. He was the first lawyer who told me I could call him by his first name. He was my father’s lawyer and was a reference on my college, law school and bar applications. He gave me my first “legal” job and guided me through my first case where I sued a real estate company. Paul obtained Judge Anderson’s consent to let me try the case even though I had not yet passed the bar. To say that I respected and admired him would be an understatement. Prior to attaining the bench, Joe Tarbuck shared office space with Paul for many years. Their office was right next door to Child’s restaurant and directly across the street from the original Escambia County courthouse at the corner of Palafox and Government streets. Every morning before court started, many members of the local bar would congregate for a cup of coffee and to kick around the latest courthouse gossip or discuss the news of the day. Several attorneys had their offices close by and others, after arriving at the courthouse either by automobile or on foot, would find the atmosphere warm and the conversation lively. Because of his close proximity, Paul was a regular at these impromptu “bar meetings” that were well attended by such pillars of the legal community as William Stafford, Bill Davenport, Hobart Worley, Denva Richbourg and Mort O’Sullivan. Paul introduced me to this club. As a young,
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insecure neophyte lawyer, I felt it a real honor to be permitted to sit at the table with men such as these. Paul became a member of the bar in 1958 and was recognized for 50 years of dedication by the Escambia-Santa Rosa Bar association in 2008. In the beginning, he carried on general practice handling divorce, probate, real estate, personal injury and criminal cases. As he grew older and his stamina faded, he gravitated toward an exclusively real estate practice quieting title and probating wills. He was an expert in the law relating to tax deeds and in rem jurisdiction. In his long and fruitful life, he enjoyed golf, tennis, playing the piano and eating at Oscar’s Restaurant in Brownsville. He rose within his masonic lodge, Escambia Lodge #15, to the rank of Worshipful Master, the highest office one can hold on the local level. He was known as a wonderful story teller and his children recall his storytelling as some of their fondest memories. He was a “people person” with an uncanny knack of remembering something specific about practically everyone he met. He would remember if you were a golfer and always ask about your game. He would remember that your daughter married a Navy man and always ask about her happiness. He knew that your son played football and would ask how the team was doing. He was just that kind of guy. In addition to his many friends, Paul left two sisters, two brothers, three daughters, and a stepson. Outside of his office equipment and a wonderful legacy, he didn’t leave much else except for the Sunbeam Tiger. He bought that car brand new in 1968 (at least I think it was ’68) and it was such a part of his life that he could not bear to part with it. The car wore out and ultimately died in the 80s and Paul parked it in a shed with the promise to himself that one day he would have it restored back to its original condition. The car sat unattended for over 25 years gathering dust and making a wonderful home for wasps and vermin. His gift to himself upon attaining 50 years of practice was to begin the process of restoring that car. He intended to make good on the promise he made to himself long ago and see that car once again as it appeared the day he drove it off the lot. He took delivery of his fully restored Tiger Sunbeam less than a week before he died. There’s an old song that many of us remember about “My Grandfather’s Clock” that “stopped short, never to go again when the old man died.” So I think it was with Paul and that car. Once its restoration was complete, he felt he had fulfilled that promise to himself, thus his debts were paid and he could move on to his final reward with a satisfied mind.
JOIN US IN CELEBRATING 67 YEARS of OUTSTANDING SERVICE.
PAT R I C K G . E M M A N U E L
Mr. Emmanuel has dedicated himself to the Pensacola community for 67 years. Weâ€™re proud to congratulate him on all his years of practice, and we wish him well in his retirement.
3 0 S O U T H S P R I N G S T R E E T, P E N S A C O L A , F L
4 3 3 - 6 5 8 1 E S C L A W. C O M
March 2014 www.esrba.com The Summation 17
Law School Student Debt Do you remember how much student debt you had when you graduated from law school? Perhaps you graduated years ago and it is all a faded memory. Maybe you graduated recently and the task of paying off the debt is still a daily reality. Weâ€™ve all heard the stories of triple digit debt saddling recent law school grads. Just how much debt students graduate with is somewhat determined by individual financial circumstance but it is also influenced by the law school attended. School Name Florida Coastal School of Law University of Miami Nova Southeastern University (Broad) Stetson School of Law Ave Maria School of Law Samford University (Cumberland) St. Thomas University Florida International University of Georgia Florida State University University of Florida University of Alabama
A recent U.S. News & World Report Grad Compass survey listed law schools by the average indebtedness of 2012 graduates who incurred law school debt. They also listed the percentage of students with debt upon graduation. Below is partial list from their report. The entire list can be found at: http://grad-schools.usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/bestgraduate-schools/top-law-schools/grad-debt-rankings.
Average indebtedness of 2012 grads who incurred law school debt $143,111 $140,032 $135,548 $131,178 $126,485 $126,202 $122,913 $ 94,937 $ 80,775 $ 73,114 $ 72,974 $ 67,611
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By Michael Doubek
% of grads with debt 92% 80% 81% 89% 93% 81% 88% 88% 74% 86% 80% 79%
Judge Edward P. Nickinson, III Each month we will publish detailed information on one of our First Judicial Circuit and County Judges. This edition, we are featuring Judge Edward Nickinson, III. You can also find this information and preferences for all First Circuit Judges at www.firstjudicialcircuit.org. Type: Circuit Judge County: Escambia County Division: A Jurisdiction: General Jurisdiction: Circuit Criminal, Circuit Civil, Probate and Guardianship Judicial Assistant: Laurie Jenkins Address: M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building 190 Governmental Center, 6th Floor Pensacola, FL 32502 Phone: 850-595-4439 Fax : 850-595-4437 (Faxes limited to 15 pages) DIVISION PREFERENCES Hearings - Setting or Canceling 1. Please contact us by telephone to set a hearing. If possible, please have all parties on the line when you call; if not, we will provide you with dates/times for your coordination with opposing parties. If we miss your call, please leave a voice mail message to include the case number, the style of the case, the subject of the hearing, and a toll-free phone number so we may call you back. Otherwise, long distance calls will not be returned. 2. When setting a telephone hearing in a civil case: A. The call-in phone number for the hearing is our main office number above. Calls must be placed at the exact time of the hearing - not early. B. The notice of hearing must clearly state both time zones. Incorrectly stating the time zones can result in immediate cancellation of the hearing without notification to the parties. C. A confirmation copy of the notice of hearing must be sent to the Court by fax, email or regular mail. D. The judgment package must be received by the Court at least one week before the hearing for case review. If copies are to be distributed by mail, the package must contain sufficient copies and pre-addressed stamped envelopes for that purpose. 3. Local counsel are required to appear in person for hearings. The Court will consider allowing phone appearance by local counsel on an as needed basis. 4. Counsel from out of town: Be ready to provide us with the names of all opposing counsel expected to appear and which of them wish to appear by phone. It is the responsibility of the attorney setting the hearing to arrange telephone appearance of out-oftown counsel by arranging a telephone conference call. We cannot conference multiple calls to our office. 5. When a case has settled, please immediately notify the Judge’s office by phone, email or fax so we can remove your matter from the hearing/trial docket. The clerk’s office does not notify the Courts when matters are settled or notices of cancellation are filed.
GENERAL PREFERENCES 1. If you wish to confirm the entry of an order, always check with the Clerk’s office before contacting the Court. The clerk’s website is www.escambiaclerk.com. Failing that, call the clerk’s office directly; failing that, contact the Judge’s office. 2. When submitting an order for entry, always provide the Clerk with sufficient copies and self-addressed stamped envelopes for his/her use in distributing your copies. Neither the Court nor the clerk will provide copies, postage or envelopes for you. 3. Always file your original pleadings with the Clerk, and attach any order to be entered to that motion. The Clerk will review the pleading and send it with the file to the Judge for review. 4. Please limit faxes to no more than 15 pages, and keep in mind that we cannot make copies or provide envelopes and postage for faxed or emailed submissions. CIVIL CASES/TRIALS 1. When filing your notice for trial, please send a copy of the notice for trial to the Court. 2. Once the notice for trial is filed, counsel may request a Case Management Conference be scheduled to determine readiness for trial and to agree on a trial date. Any objections to the notice for trial will be heard at the Case Management Conference. 3. Mediation must be attempted before trial will commence. 4. When the trial date has been set, the Court will enter an Order of Civil Mediation Referral and its Order for Pre-Trial Conference and Setting Trial. Counsel are encouraged to attempt mediation without waiting for a Court order. Please contact the Court if an earlier mediation order is requested. 5. After mediation has occurred, please have a copy of the mediation results sent to the Court. CRIMINAL CASES 1. Regarding bond motions, public defenders, private counsel and assistant state attorneys must discuss and attempt to agree on a reasonable bond before a bond motion will be set for hearing. If counsel can agree on a reasonable bond, a fully-signed stipulated order should then be sent to the Judge for his review; this often will eliminate the need for hearing. 2. Always consult the Judge’s office if you wish to add a case to a docket. Do not ask the Clerk’s office to add a case that has not been cleared by this office. 3. Requests for continuance will not be considered if received less than seven days prior to docket day. Late motions for continuance will be dealt with at Docket Day. PROBATE AND GUARDIANSHIP CASES 1. Send or deliver all original correspondence and pleadings directly to the Probate Clerk for review to avoid any unnecessary delays in your matter. The Clerk will review your pleadings and deliver them with the file to the Judge for his review. This includes “urgent” matters, though notifying the Court of any urgency in advance will be taken into consideration. 2. Probate or guardianship orders will not be considered without their having first been reviewed by the Probate Clerk.
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This past holiday season was a time for fellowship.
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News from the Clerk
By Pam Childers
Bet You Didn’t Know Your Clerk’s Office Did All This! Do you know all of the duties of the Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller? You may not. The Clerk wears many hats. In accordance with the Florida constitution, the Clerk has five primary areas of responsibility: (1) the custodian of the court records; (2) the comptroller; (3) the recorder of the official records; (4) the clerk to the county commissioners; and (5) the auditor for the county. To carry out these responsibilities, the Clerk’s office has approximately 180 employees in five buildings throughout Escambia County. As the custodian of the court records for the judiciary, the Clerk controls the maintenance, retention, and confidentiality of those records. In 2013, new software was implemented to better manage and migrate to electronic records. Here is a snapshot of the case load each week: Circuit Civil – 3,800 filings and 55 new cases; County Civil – 800 filings and 100 new cases; Probate, Mental Health and Guardianship – 40 filings and 62 new cases; • Marriage – 65 marriage licenses issued; • Felony – 900 filings and 100 new cases; • Misdemeanor – 700 filings and 145 new cases; • Appeals – 15-20 new criminal and civil appeals; • Juvenile and Child Support – 1,200 filings and 45 new cases; • Family Law – 1,400 filings and 90 new cases, including domestic violence and other injunction petitions; and • Traffic – 120 new criminal traffic cases and 700 noncriminal citations, while serving 800 customers at the counter. We summon on average 975 jurors each week plus an additional 800 jurors for the “tobacco” trials. Each week, our court personnel attend around 60-65 trials and court events (such as arraignments and hearings). As the Comptroller, the Clerk’s office is responsible for every payment made by Escambia County. The bi-weekly payroll cycle issues checks to approximately 1,500 County employees. Clerk’s personnel pre-audit and process every contract payment and vendor check totaling approximately $11.5 million per month. (These figures do not include the Clerk’s own payroll and payments to vendors.) As the Chief Financial Officer, the Clerk also is responsible for managing the investment portfolio of approximately $170 million and controlling the County’s banking contract. At year end, the Clerk works with the external auditors to publish the annual audit report for all constitutional officers. As the Recorder of official records, the Clerk’s office records documents such as deeds, mortgages and judgments. On average, the department records 7,700 documents per month! Each
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month, the Clerk’s office has an average of 80 tax deed sales scheduled for auction with approximately 30 properties actually going to auction. The department also processes around 250 passport applications monthly. For customers’ convenience, passport photographs can be processed on site. Clerk’s office personnel attend every meeting of the Board of County Commissioners. They are responsible for creating the official minutes for each meeting and acting as the custodian of the records concerning the business of the Board, such as ordinances and resolutions. Additionally, when the Emergency Operations Center is activated, the Clerk’s office responds to the EOC to take minutes and works with the Board to preserve records created during the EOC activation as well as coordinate with the County’s finance personnel for the procurement of necessary supplies and services during an emergency. The final responsibility of the Clerk is to act as the County’s internal auditor. To that end, the Clerk may conduct financial, compliance, operational and performance audits of the county government and its processes and provide recommendations for improvements. Additionally, the Clerk has over 1,000 statutory duties, including: • collection and distribution of child support payments, court ordered fines and costs in criminal cases, and tourist development taxes; • collection and distribution of filing fees and court costs; • enforcement and collection of criminal bond forfeitures; • auditing of guardian reports in guardianship cases; • maintenance and destruction of evidence introduced at criminal and civil proceedings; • assisting petitioners in the completion of petitions for domestic violence and other injunctions • assisting plaintiffs filing small claims cases; and • overseeing expenditures from grants obtained by the County. To support all of these efforts, the Clerk’s Information Technology department maintains eight software applications, all of the server and hardware infrastructure, and the email, antivirus and website services for the Clerk. The Clerk’s software applications and website are used by all employees of the Clerk, the judges, the legal community, at least eight outside local and state agencies, banks, mortgage companies, and the general public. The Clerk’s office strives to provide excellent service to the citizens, agencies, and governmental partners that we work with and serve. Please let us know how we can assist you.
Classifieds THE HAMMONS LAW FIRM is pleased to announce that JOSEPH WESLEY (WES) HAMMONS has joined the firm. Wes Hammons is formerly an associate with Morris Hardwick Schneider LLC. Wes Hammons will add to the firm’s practice the areas of workers’ compensation and real estate litigation including mortgage foreclosures. The firm will continue to practice in the areas of criminal defense, employment law, and contract litigation in both federal and state court. Does anyone know the address for Lexis? We are having a hard time locating the company. If you have this information, please contact Bob Kerrigan at (850) 4444444. Prime office location downtown at 1601 West Garden Street. This office is beautifully adorned with high end wood trim and the outside is well-maintained. This office space is over 1,300 square feet in size and has a completely renovated tiled kitchen and 2 newly renovated tiled restrooms. New water heater, flooring, and roof. The office includes 5 off-street parking spots in the rear. This includes 2 private offices in addition to expansive work space. Available immediately. Perfect location for an attorney right in the heart of downtown. You will not find a nicer location downtown for this price. Corner Lot with tremendous visibility and traffic (>45,000/Day) on Garden Street with a lighted sign. Photos at http://b.clearforensics.com or call Marc at 850-462-1648.
Calendar March 20 March Bar Meeting Heritage Hall Noon - 1:00 p.m. “Code Red” Armed Intruder Training March 31 Judge Thomas E. Johnson Retirement Celebration 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Multi-Media Room M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building April 11 Ethics/Professionalism/Substance Abuse Seminar 8:30 a.m. - 12:15 p.m. M.C. Blanchard Building Jury Assembly Room April 17 April Bar Meeting Portobello Market Noon - 1:00 p.m. Guest Speaker: The Florida Bar President Eugene Pettis April 18 Good Friday Bar Office Closed May 1 Law Week Law Day Luncheon 11:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Judicial Reception 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. Crowne Plaza Hotel May 26 Memorial Day Bar Office Closed
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