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Eric A. Hernandez appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Governor Rick Scott Announces Multiple Appointments and Reappointments to Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commissions

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the following appointments and reappointments to Florida’s Judicial Nominating Commissions.

Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission

Cynthia G. Angelos, of Port St. Lucie, is currently the principal of Cynthia G. Angelos, P.A.  Before resuming her practice in 2005, she was a Circuit Court Judge for eleven years in the 19th Judicial Circuit and was elected by her colleagues to serve as the Chief Judge of the 19th Judicial Circuit in 2003.  She received her bachelor’s degree from James Madison University and her law degree from George Mason University. Angelos is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Hala A. Sandridge, of Tampa, is a shareholder with Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, PC where, as a board-certified appellate practitioner, she chairs the firm’s Appellate Practice Group. Sandridge received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Florida State University. Sandridge is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Fred E. Karlinsky, of Ft. Lauderdale, is a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig. Karlinsky is Co-Chair of Greenberg Traurig’s Insurance Regulatory and Transactions Practice Group. He previously served as the Chief Legal Officer and Assistant Executive Director of the Florida Residential Property & Casualty Joint Underwriting Association. Karlinsky received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and his law degree from Florida State University. Karlinsky is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

First District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Mohammad O. Jazil, of Tallahassee, is a shareholder with Hopping, Green & Sams. He received two bachelor’s degrees and his law degree from the University of Florida. Jazil is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Richard E. Doran, of Tallahassee, is a shareholder with Ausley & McMullen, P.A. Doran previously served as Florida’s Attorney General and as General Counsel to the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. Doran received his bachelor’s degree from Bethany College and his law degree from Stetson University. Doran is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Benjamin J. Gibson, of Tallahassee, is a partner with Shutts & Bowen, LLP where he is a member of the Business Litigation practice group. Gibson received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Florida State University. Gibson is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Third District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Harout Samra, of Miami, is board certified in international law and is an attorney with DLA Piper. Samra received his bachelor’s degree, his master’s degree, and his law degree from the University of Miami. Samra is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Eric A. Hernandez, of Miami, is a partner with Hernandez Lee Martinez, LLC. Hernandez received his bachelor’s degree from St. John Fisher College and his law degree from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. Hernandez is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Adam Foslid, of Coral Gables, is a principal shareholder with Greenberg Traurig. Foslid received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree and master of laws degree from the George Washington University. Foslid is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2020.

Fourth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

D. David Keller, of Plantation, is a partner with Keller Landsberg, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree, his master’s degree, and his law degree from Stetson University. Keller is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Mark Miller, of Palm City, is board certified in appellate practice and is a Managing Attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation. He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Florida. Miller is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Rian Balfour, of Plantation, is Deputy General Counsel and Vice President at Envision Physician Services. She received her bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, law degree from Duke University and master of business administration from the University of Florida. Balfour is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Fifth District Court of Appeal Judicial Nominating Commission

Vincent A. Citro, of Maitland, is a partner with Horwitz & Citro, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree, his master’s degree and his law degree from Stetson University. Citro is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

R. David de Armas, of Orlando, is a shareholder with Cramer, Price & de Armas. De Armas received his bachelor’s degree from Furman University and his law degree from Florida State University. De Armas is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Andy Bardos, of Melbourne, is a shareholder with Gray Robinson. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and his law degree and his master of laws degree from the University of Florida. Bardos is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

First Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Kristin D. Haul, of Pensacola, is an Assistant County Attorney at the Escambia County Attorney’s Office. She received a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida and her law degree from Florida State University. Haul is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Dana C. Matthews, of Santa Rosa Beach, is a partner with Matthew & Jones, LLP. Matthews received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from Florida State University. Matthews is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Second Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Hayden R. Dempsey, of Tallahassee, is a shareholder with Greenberg Traurig where he is chair of the Florida Government Law & Policy Practice. Dempsey received his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University and his law degree from Nova Southeastern University. He is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Erik M. “Rick” Figlio, of Tallahassee, Figlio is a shareholder with Ausley & McMullen, P.A. He received a bachelor’s degree from Davidson College and his law degree from the University of Georgia. Figlio is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Darrick McGhee, of Tallahassee, is Vice President of Government Relations at Johnson & Blanton. McGhee received his bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University. He is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Third Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Cary D. Carmichael, Jr., of Lake City, is the Managing Shareholder of Carmichael Law, PLLC. Carmichael received his bachelor’s degree from Mercer University, his master’s degree from Valdosta State University and his law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. He is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Adam Morrison, of Live Oak, is an attorney at Sellers, Taylor & Morrison, P.A. Morrison received his bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida and his law degree from Florida State University. Morrison is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Tisheena H. Rickerson, of Jasper, is an Assistant State Attorney with the State Attorney’s Office for the Third Judicial Circuit. Rickerson received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida and her law degree from the Florida Coastal School of Law. Rickerson is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

John J. Joyce of Live Oak, is a partner with Robinson, Kennon and Kendron. He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Florida. Joyce is appointed for a term ending on July 1, 2019.

Fourth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Henry G. “Chip” Bachara, Jr., is board certified in construction law and the managing partner of Bachara Construction Law Group. Bachara received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from Mercer University. Bachara is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Courtney K. Grimm, of Green Cove Springs, is the County Attorney for Clay County. Grimm received her bachelor’s degree from Sweet Briar College and her law degree from the University of Florida. Grimm is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Karen Bowling, of Jacksonville Beach, is President of Thrive Consulting, LLC. Bowling received her bachelor’s degree from the University of North Florida. Bowling is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Helen Peacock Roberson, of Jacksonville, is a partner with Tanner Bishop. Roberson received her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Florida. Roberson is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2019.

Fifth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Charles K. Ruse, Jr., of Ocala, is the owner of Ruse Law. He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Florida. Ruse is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Dusty L .Twyman-Morey, of Clermont, is a partner with Rohe Twyman, P.A. Twyman-Morey received her bachelor’s degree from Frostburg State University and her law degree from Emory University. She is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Anita Geraci-Carver, of Clermont, is the owner of the Law Office of Anita Geraci-Carver, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Miami. Geraci-Carver is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Sixth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Jamie R. Girgenti, of Clearwater, is an attorney with Koch & Hoffman, PA. She received her bachelor’s degree and her law degree from the University of Florida. Girgenti is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Elizabeth M. Jack, of Clearwater, is an assistant state attorney with the Office of the State Attorney for the Sixth Judicial Circuit. She received her bachelor’s degree from Boston College and her law degree from the University of Chicago. Jack is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Ian R. Leavengood, of St. Petersburg, is the founder of Leaven Law. He received his bachelor’s degree, his master’s degree, and his law degree from the University of Florida. Leavengood is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Seventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Raven E. Sword, of Palm Coast, is a partner at Livingston & Sword, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and her law degree from George Washington University.  Sword is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Andrew Morgan, of St. Augustine, is an equity partner with Canan Law. Morgan received his bachelor’s degree from Eckerd College, his master’s degree from Winthrop University, and his law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. He is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

L. Charlene Matthews of Daytona Beach, is a senior attorney with the State of Florida Office of the Attorney General’s Office. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and her law degree from the University of Florida. Matthews is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Eighth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Candice K. Brower, of Gainesville, is board certified in juvenile law and is the Regional Counsel for the Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel for the First District Court of Appeal region. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Brower is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Norm D. Fugate, of Williston, is president of Norm D. Fugate, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Florida. Fugate is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term endingJuly 1, 2022.

Tenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Patrice F. Behnstedt, of Bartow, is an assistant public defender with the Office of the Public Defender for the Tenth Judicial Circuit. She received her bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, her master’s from the University of South Florida and her law degree from the University of Miam. Behnstedt is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Timothy J. McCausland, of Lakeland, is the city attorney for the City of Lakeland. He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and his law degree from Florida State University. McCausland is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Krista Mahalak, of Winter Haven, is an attorney with Sharit, Bunn & Chilton, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree from Bethany College and her law degree from the University of Nebraska. She is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2019.

E. Blake Paul, of Lakeland, in a shareholder with Peterson & Myers. Paul received his bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and his law degree from Florida State University. Paul is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Eleventh Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Scott Dimond, of Miami, is a shareholder with Dimond Kaplan & Rothstein, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his law degree from Columbia University. Dimond is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Jorge A. Mestre, of Coral Gables, is partner with Rivero Mestre LLP. He received his bachelor’s degree from Catholic University of America, his law degree from Florida State University and his master of laws degree from Georgetown University. Mestre is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Robert H. Fernandez, of Miami, is a shareholder with Gunster. He received his bachelor’s degree from Columbia University and his law degree from New York University. He is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Twelfth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Hunter G. Norton, of Bradenton, is board certified in business litigation and a partner with Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP. He received his bachelor’s degree from Excelsior College and his law degree from the University of Miami. Norton is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Varinia Van Ness, of Bradenton, is the owner of Van Ness Law Group, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Stetson University. Van Ness is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Patrick Neal, of Bradenton, is the founder of Neal Communities. Neal received his bachelor’s degree from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania. Neal is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Thirteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

J. Carter Andersen, of Tampa, is a shareholder with Bush Ross, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Florida. Andersen is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Christine L. Derr, of Tampa, is board certified in marital and family law and practices with Harris, Hunt & Derr, P.A. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and her law degree from the University of Florida. Derr is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Thomas Newcomb Hyde, of Tampa, is a solo practitioner. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Seminary of St. Vincent De Paul, his master’s degree from South Carolina State University, and his law degree from the University of Miami. Hyde is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Fourteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

John J. Maceluch, Jr., of Panama City, is an assistant state attorney with the State Attorney’s Office for the Fourteenth Judicial Circuit. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his law degree from Loyola University. Maceluch is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Robert D. Sale, of Panama City, is the principal of Sale Law Firm, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from Washington & Lee University and his law degree from Stetson University. Sale is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

J. Adam Albritton, of Panama City, is the owner of J. Adam Albritton, Esq. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his law degree from Florida Coastal School of Law. Albritton is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Fifteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Adam Weisholtz, of Boca Raton, is Assistant Chief Counsel with the U.S Department of Homeland Security. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and his law degree from Nova Southeastern University. He is appointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Sixteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Roget V. Bryan, of Tavernier, is board certified in City, County & Local Government Law and is the Village Attorney for Islamorada, Village of Islands. He received his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and his master’s degree and his law degree from Florida State University. Bryan is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Timothy Thomes, of Key Largo, is a shareholder with Gunster. He received his bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the College of William and Mary. Thomes is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

George Wallace, of Key West, is an assistant city attorney for the City of Key West. He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Florida. He is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Eighteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Donna Valin, of Winter Park, is the Economic Crimes Central Florida Bureau Chief for the State of Florida Office of the Attorney General. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and her law degree from Indiana University. She is reappointed for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Nineteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission

Barbara A. Kreitz Cook, of Stuart, is board certified in maritime law and is the owner of Barb Cook Law PLLC. She received her bachelor’s degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, her master’s degree from Florida Atlantic University and her law degree from the University of Miami. Cook is reappointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Robert V. Schwerer, is the managing shareholder with Hayskar, Walker, Schwerer Dundas & McCain, PA. He received his bachelor’s degree and his law degree from the University of Florida. Schwerer is appointed from a list of nominees submitted by the Florida Bar for a term ending July 1, 2022.

Eleventh Circuit Upends Florida’s Tobacco Litigation Framework

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The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that Florida’s “Engle” litigation framework—under which a plaintiff may rely on a former class action’s generic jury findings about nicotine cigarettes to establish a particular tobacco company’s strict liability and negligence—effectively operates as a state ban on cigarettes. The court reasoned that such a ban contravenes Congress’s aim to regulate, but not ban cigarettes, and is thus preempted by federal law. See Graham v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., No. 13-14590, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 5657 (11th Cir. Apr. 8, 2015).

Background

The Engle framework evolved from a class action filed in 1994 that encompassed an estimated 700,000 Floridians with claims against the major tobacco companies for medical conditions allegedly caused by their addiction to nicotine cigarettes. The class was certified, and after a year-long trial, the jury found for the class on all counts. The Florida Supreme Court subsequently affirmed a decertification of the class, but determined that the jury’s findings would have “res judicata effect” in cases filed by former class members against one or more of the tobacco companies.

Over the years, this “res judicata” directive came to mean, as in the Graham case, that a plaintiff would benefit from extremely advantageous strict liability and negligence instructions informing a jury that the defendants had placed defective cigarettes on the market, and that the defendants had been negligent. In other words, plaintiffs would be relieved from proving the duty and breach elements of their claims, and defendants would be precluded from disputing those elements. Thus, a plaintiff would merely have to show that she had been a member of the decertified class (and thus a beneficiary of the jury’s findings), that addiction to the defendants’ cigarettes was a legal cause of her alleged injuries, and damages. The Graham plaintiff succeeded in this regard.

The tobacco companies argued, inter alia, that federal law preempted the verdict, inasmuch as it was premised on the imposition of common law duties amounting to a ban on their products. They noted that, subject to regulation, Congress had determined to allow the sale of nicotine cigarettes despite the known health risks and addictive properties.

The Court’s Determination

After examining the history and breadth of federal legislation regulating nicotine cigarettes in the United States, the court observed that “Congress has never intended to prohibit consumers from purchasing cigarettes. To the contrary, it has designed ‘a distinct regulatory scheme’ to govern the product’s advertising, labelling, and—most importantly—sale.” Thus, the court found a congressional aim to regulate, not ban, the sale of cigarettes.

In contrast, the court found that the res judicata instructions derived from the Engle litigation amounted to a flat ban on cigarette sales. This is because “[t]he Florida courts have come to interpret the Engle Phase I jury findings to demand an outcome Congress has sought to avoid, namely, the imposition of a duty that was breached every time a cigarette manufacturer placed a cigarette on the market to be sold.” As the court explained, “[the State of Florida] may not enforce a duty, as it has through the Engle jury findings, premised on the theory that all cigarettes are inherently defective and that every cigarette sale is an inherently negligent act.” Accordingly, the court determined that, as framed under the generic findings of the Engle framework, the Graham plaintiff’s strict liability and negligence claims were preempted by federal law.

Graham is a momentous opinion that is likely to engender efforts for further appellate review. The opinion will not affect most lawsuits that were pending in federal court, as the tobacco companies announced in February that they would settle those actions for $100 million. However, if the opinion stands, it may influence the future of thousands of cases pending in Florida state courts. Plainly put, if Florida courts adopt the Eleventh Circuit’s reasoning, plaintiffs will have to establish each element of their affected claims without the advantage of significant legal shortcuts.

The attorneys at Hernandez Lee Martinez have extensive experience handling class actions and products liability litigation. Please contact us to find out how we can help you in your particular situation

HLM Attends White House Dominican-American Policy Briefing

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HLM Obtains Final Summary Judgment in Employer's Favor in Federal Title VII Wrongful Termination Matter

HLM obtains Final Summary Judgment in Employer’s Favor in Federal Title VII Wrongful Termination Matter.

2013 Easter Seals Boxing Fundraiser

HLM participates in the 2013 Amateur Boxing Easter Seals Charity Fundraiser.  All proceeds will be donated to fund services for the disabled.

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