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A  brand new state created panel is seeking ways to help low-income and working class Floridians gain access to the court system.  The organization Florida Commission on Access to Civil Justice is going to hold their first meeting at the Capitol on Friday.

The commission was created by the Florida State Supreme Court Chief Justice Jorge Labarga.  Labarga says he is concerned that too large a number of people can’t afford to hire a lawyer to assist them. He said the situation has been worse in the wake of the recent recession.

Before the first meeting Labarga said there is no one perfect solution and that the answer is not just setting aside additional state money for legal aid.

The panel includes attorneys, judges, and legislators. The commission plans to issue its final recommendations in 2016.

The State of Florida has recently filed a lawsuit against Digital Domain and is calling it a “de facto Ponzi scheme”.  They are seeking to recover $20 million provided in state incentives granted before the company failed.

The lawsuit, which was filed in St. Lucie County Circuit Court by  William R. Scherer.

The original Digital Domain company was founded in 1993 in the state of California by “Titanic” director James Cameron.  The company later  ran up “crushing debt.”

Digital Domain was a Ponzi scheme,” the state lawsuit stated. “It was a serial borrower which constantly replaced old debt with new debt to keep the enterprise going. Of course, if Digital Domain California’s business model made any sense, it would have turned a profit and had no need to constantly seek out loans to pay its employees and stay in business.”

Under Florida state and federal laws, possession of marijuana is a criminal offense. Possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana is a misdemeanor under Florida law is punishable by a maximum period of one year behind bars, if convicted. The maximum monetary fine for possession of 20 grams of marijuana or less in Florida is $1,000.

Any person who sells marijuana in Florida also commits a crime. The sale of 20 grams of marijuana without remuneration is again a misdemeanor and has the same punitive results as possession of 20 grams or less. Possession of drug paraphernalia is also a misdemeanor with a maximum fine of $1,000 and a maximum imprisonment of one year, if convicted.

The term “paraphernalia” refers to the equipment and materials used for planting, harvesting and cultivating marijuana. Kits used for production of a controlled substance are identified as paraphernalia, as well as the balances and scales used for weighing controlled substances. Possessing this kind of equipment is a serious misdemeanor in Florida. Other examples of paraphernalia are hypodermic syringes or needles. If a person is convicted of a misdemeanor charge in Florida, then his or her driver’s license will be …read more      

When a baby needs help exiting the birth canal, a doctor may use forceps to help guide the baby along. A tube is attached to the baby’s head, and the doctor will pull the baby out during a contraction. After the head is exposed, the mother will finish delivering the baby on her own. While forceps are generally safe when used properly, they can cause injuries to the mother and the baby.

In rare cases, a baby may suffer bleeding in the head, which is serious and needs to be dealt with immediately. However, the baby typically suffers no more than some bumps and bruises to its face. It is also possible that it may suffer cuts that cause temporary bleeding. As with bleeding inside the head, it is rare that a baby will suffer any cuts from the use of forceps.

A baby may suffer drooping of the face if the facial nerves are injured. However, the nerves will generally heal within a few days, which results in the baby’s face returning to normal. The head may be cone shaped for a day or two, but the head should also return to its normal shape. …read more      

Foreclosure rescue scammers abound these days in the face of high unemployment rates and real estate market issues that remain from previous years. They are companies and individuals who pretend to assist homeowners in financial trouble but are really only in it to make a profit no matter who gets hurt in the process. They do this by taking money from distressed consumers, stealing the equity in their home while giving them nothing.

Although there are some legitimate organizations that are offering help to homeowners who are experiencing difficulty keeping up with their mortgage payments, scams are only interested in following the money. They prey on desperate homeowners’ fears because they know there is money available.

There are three basic types of foreclosure rescue scams. These include phantom help, which is where scammers take money from homeowners without ever delivering any services, or very little. Another scam is the bait and switch, where scammers con homeowners into signing over the ownership of their home. Usually, scam artists will trick a homeowner into signing the necessary documents. The third scam is sale and leaseback, where the scammer talks a homeowner into selling them their home. They …read more      

Florida mothers whose infants have suffered brachial plexus injuries need to know the potential long-term complications. The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that begins at the bottom of the neck and extends throughout the shoulders and into the arms and hands. It consists of primary nerves called trunks and smaller nerve branches known as cords.

The long-term complications resulting from brachial plexus injuries are numerous and include reduced balance and coordination, reduced stamina and strength, discrepancies in limb length, impaired bone growth and joint dysfunction. Muscle atrophy, which is the shrinking of muscle tissue, could also result from brachial plexus injuries because of reduced muscle movement and a disruption to the nerve supply. With sufficient nerve supply, however, muscle mass may increase with exercise.

A reduced supply of nerves also has an impact on normal muscle movement, even without muscle atrophy. Brachial plexus injuries alter the movement and biomechanics of the body, limiting dexterity, range of motion, and the structure and formation of the joints in the affected limb. The result is abnormal movement, and wear patterns could develop over the years, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis. One of the most common long-term complications, …read more      

Like every state in the country, Florida law regards driving under the influence as a serious and punishable crime. Penalties can range from harsh fines to imprisonment, and are based on the circumstances surrounding a particular arrest and the number of times a person has been convicted of drunken-driving charges. Police and sheriff’s departments throughout the state try to get drunk drivers off the road before they are involved in accidents.

Unfortunately, one recent alleged drunk driving incident in Broward County cost a 41-year-old woman waiting for a bus her life, according to the county sheriff’s office. Deputies say a 56-year-old drunk driver struck and killed the woman at the bus stop around 7 p.m. after his van jumped the curb. The man allegedly continued driving for two blocks before damage from the collision led to a flat tire.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office says the man was charged with DUI causing death, fleeing the scene of an accident, failure to give proper information, DUI with damage to person and property and failure to use proper care. The alleged drunken driver was booked into the Broward County Jail. Bond was set at $102,000. The man was …read more      

Miami residents who own residential real estate may be interested in an article discussing some alternatives to going through foreclosure. These alternatives can help to avoid the loss of a home when the borrower is unable to make mortgage payments.

When a homeowner fails to make the required payments, a mortgage lender will often begin foreclosure proceedings. Foreclosure is the process where the lender takes over the home in order to resell it. Going through foreclosure can have a serious effect on a borrower’s credit, so avoiding it may be a wise move. Luckily, there may be some options that can be negotiated with a lender as an alternative to foreclosure.

One possibility is to negotiate a special forbearance from the mortgage lender. This means that the lender could either suspend or reduce the borrower’s payments and develop a payment plan with the borrower when there has been a loss of income or other issue. The lender may also be open to modifying the mortgage by changing the interest rate or the payment term of the loan. This allows the borrower to get a lower monthly payment and potentially catch up on any unpaid balance. The …read more      

Far too many people in Florida and around the country have been damaged as a result of the negligence of health care professionals and facilities. If you or a loved one has suffered such an occurrence, you may wonder where to turn in order to seek financial redress for those wrongs. We believe that in such an event, you deserve the right to pursue the maximum amount of compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages and the costs of any future medical care that may be required.

Our attorneys have experience litigating on behalf of a wide range of clients such as those who have suffered severe injuries to their organs, spinal cord or nerves during delicate, high-risk operations. We have achieved positive results in many cases through our practice of conferring with outside medical professionals from well-known institutions in order to obtain a depth and breadth of expert testimony for possible use at trial.

One past successful case, which resulted in the largest medical malpractice jury award even given in Florida at the time, involved a patient who became brain dead while undergoing surgery for his broken leg. Our firm overwhelmingly proved that the hospital and …read more      

If you’re looking to sell your home in Florida, the amount of money you still owe the bank on the property is an important consideration to bear in mind. If a home is sold for less than what is owed, the resulting difference is known as a deficiency, and this can sometimes lead to problems later on.

Banks can be unwilling to allow the sale of a property that will produce a deficiency, and they may choose to sue the homeowner to collect said deficiency. However, instead of doing it immediately, they may wait a period of time until the homeowner has settled in and reestablished their financial situation following the sale. For some, this has the potential to be an unpleasant experience.

Our law firm understands the difficulties that can arise from these situations, and we work to negotiate with banks to avoid them. Conducting a short sale of a real estate property can naturally be a legally complicated procedure; an attorney’s assistance may be well-advised when it comes to negotiating with the bank. It may be possible to minimize or eliminate entirely the risk of the bank choosing to sue you for the deficiency …read more