Florida Supreme Court turns down negligence case claimed by parents of Parkland shooting victims

click to enlarge Photo by Monivette CordeiroThe Florida Supreme Court on Wednesday declined to take up cases in which parents of victims of the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School alleged negligence by a mental-health facility that provided services to accused shooter Nikolas Cruz. Justices issued two orders declining to take up appeals filed by Andrew Pollack and Shara Kaplan, parents of slain student Meadow Pollack, and Royer Borges and Emely Delfin, parents of seriously injured student Anthony Borges.The Supreme Court did not explain its reasons for the decisions The parents went to the Supreme Court after the 4th District Court of Appeal ruled in May that Henderson Behavioral Health, Inc., cannot be held liable in the shooting.The parents alleged that the mental-health facility was negligent, at least in part, for failing to prevent Cruz from being mainstreamed into the public-school system and for failing to warn about dangers posed by Cruz, a former Marjory Stoneman Douglas student at the time of the shooting.But in the Pollack case, the appeals court said the “theories of liability are undermined by Florida law establishing that a criminal attack on third parties by an outpatient mental health patient is not within the foreseeable zone of risk created by the mental health provider. Florida law does not recognize a duty of mental health providers to warn third parties that a patient may be dangerous.”Meadow Pollack was one of 17 students and faculty members who were killed Feb. 14, 2018, at the Parkland school, while Anthony Borges was one of 17 others who were wounded. Cruz is awaiting trial on murder charges.

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Florida Supreme Court to take unusual second look at 2016 medical marijuana amendment

click to enlarge Images via Adobe StockIn an unusual move, the Florida Supreme Court is poised to hold a second round of arguments in a high-stakes case about whether the state has properly carried out a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.Justices heard arguments in May in a lawsuit filed by Florigrown, a Tampa-based firm that has challenged the constitutionality of a 2017 law that was designed to carry out the constitutional amendment. The case centers on parts of the law related to the licensing of companies to operate in the medical-marijuana industry.But in July, the Supreme Court scheduled another round of arguments on an issue that was not a focus of the first hearing —- whether the 2017 law is what is known as an unconstitutional “special” law. Justices will hear arguments Wednesday.The Florida Constitution bars “special” laws that, generally, are intended to benefit specific entities. Florigrown, which has unsuccessfully sought a medical-marijuana license, contends that parts of the 2017 law improperly limited the firms that could take part in the industry.“This (Supreme) Court has repeatedly held that the controlling question in evaluating whether a law is an unconstitutional special law is whether the class in the law is ‘closed,’” Florigrown lawyers wrote in a brief. The alternative would be a system where firms could perform different aspects of the business, known as a “horizontal” structure.

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Chief justice apologizes for Florida Bar exam fiasco

click to enlarge Screenshot via Florida Supreme Court/YouTubeFlorida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles CanadyFlorida Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Canady apologized on Wednesday for a postponement of the Florida Bar exam, which was supposed to take place online Wednesday but was canceled late Sunday evening.The court deeply regrets this additional delay in the administration of the exam, Canady said in a video posted on the courts Facebook and YouTube social media sites.An in-person exam was originally slated to take place in July but was rescheduled to an online test because of COVID-19. On Sunday night, the Florida Board of Bar Examiners, which is overseen by the Supreme Court, called off the plan to hold the exam this week because it was not technically feasible.The cancellation, issued on the eve of a scheduled live trial of the software, ignited a frenzy on social media among people planning to take the exam and their supporters, who have urged the Board of Bar Examiners to drop the test altogether this year or to replace the multiple-choice exam with essays submitted by email, as some other states have done.Our inability to offer the Bar examination in August was a failure. We apologize for that failure, Canady said in Wednesdays video.The Board of Bar Examiners announced Sunday that the exam will occur sometime in October. It reassures that we will continue to be harmed mentally, financially, & professionally, Johnny Carver, who graduated from the University of Miami School of Law this spring, tweeted on Wednesday.People slated to take the exam have also complained that the Board of Bar Examiners ignored their concerns, such as technical problems with the ILG Technologies software used for the test.We acknowledge and accept the criticism that has been directed at the court and the Board of Bar Examiners, Canady said. I cant guarantee you that the path forward will be flawless, but I can guarantee you that we have learned from this mistake and that it will not be repeated.

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