15th CIRCUIT JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION NOTICE OF VACANCY AND ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATIONS DEADLINE EXTENSION

The Fifteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission (“JNC”) announces that the application deadline to fill the vacancy for a Circuit Court Judge position created by the retirement and resignation of Judge Janis Brustares Keyser has been extended.

The deadline for submission of the completed application is extended to 5:00 p.m., April 29, 2022Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered. Both the original and redacted electronic applications must be submitted by email to rharvey@jenksharveylaw.com.

Qualifications of Applicants:

Applicants must be able to fulfill the Constitutional qualifications for circuit court and county court judges described in Article V, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution.

Instructions for Submission:

1)           The current Judicial Application form must be used and can be found at https://www.flgov.com/judicial-and-judicial-nominating-commission-information/. Applicants should ensure they are using the correct and current form.

2)           Applications must be in .pdf form and submitted as follows: (i) one original copy of the application, including all attachments, (ii) one redacted copy of the application, including all attachments, excluding all exempt information under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes or other applicable public records law. The two .pdf files should be named in a “last name.first name” format. For example: Jane Smith should submit two files named: (1) Smith.Jane.pdf and (2) Smith.Jane-REDACTED.pdf. 

Each electronic application, including exhibits, must be a single pdf file. No paper applications will be accepted.

3)           Please ensure the Application is complete, including all required responses (including references, case style and contact information regarding recent cases, and class standing and degree information regarding education), and all required attachments (writing sample, financial disclosure, photograph). Incomplete applications may not be considered.

Additional Information:

The JNC will publish on the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s website www.palmbeachbar.org and Governor Ron DeSantis’ judicial webpage https://www.flgov.com/judicial-and-judicial-nominating-commission-information/  the date and location of any interviews that the JNC chooses to conduct. The JNC anticipates that any interviews will be held the week of May 9, 2022.

All JNC proceedings are open to the public, except for deliberations. Applications are not confidential. If an applicant is nominated, all materials attached to the original application will be submitted to the Governor.

A list of members of the Fifteenth Circuit JNC is available at https://www.flgov.com/judicial-and-judicial-nominating-commission-information/.Members of the bench, the Bar and the public are urged to contact the members of the Commission concerning applicants for judicial positions.

If you have any questions, please call Mr. Harvey at (561) 303-2918, or email at rharvey@jenksharveylaw.com

15TH CIRCUIT JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSION NOTICE OF VACANCY AND ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATIONS

The Fifteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission (“JNC”) announces one vacancy for a Circuit Court Judge position created by the retirement and resignation of Judge Janis Brustares Keyser. The JNC has been asked to provide Governor Ron DeSantis with nominees for the vacancy by Saturday, May 14, 2022.

Qualifications of Applicants:

Applicants must be able to fulfill the Constitutional qualifications for circuit court and county court judges described in Article V, Section 8 of the Florida Constitution.

Instructions for Submission:

1) The current Judicial Application form must be used and can be found at https://www.flgov.com/judicial-and-judicial-nominating-commission-information/. Applicants should ensure they are using the correct and current form.

2) Applications must be in .pdf form and submitted as follows: (i) one original copy of the application, including all attachments, (ii) one redacted copy of the application, including all attachments, excluding all exempt information under Chapter 119 of the Florida Statutes or other applicable public records law. The two .pdf files should be named in a “last name.first name” format. For example: Jane Smith should submit two files named: (1) Smith.Jane.pdf and (2) Smith.Jane-REDACTED.pdf.

Each electronic application, including exhibits, must be a single pdf file. No paper applications will be accepted.

3) The deadline for submission of the completed application is 1:00 p.m., April 27, 2022Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered.  Both the original and redacted electronic applications must be submitted by email to rharvey@jenksharveylaw.com.

Please ensure the Application is complete, including all required responses (including references, case style and contact information regarding recent cases, and class standing and degree information regarding education), and all required attachments (writing sample, financial disclosure, photograph).  Incomplete applications may not be considered.  

Additional Information:

The JNC will publish on the Palm Beach County Bar Association’s website www.palmbeachbar.org and Governor Ron DeSantis’ judicial webpage https://www.flgov.com/judicial-and-judicial-nominating-commission-information/   the date and location of any interviews that the JNC chooses to conduct.  The JNC anticipates that any interviews will be held the week of May 9, 2022.

All JNC proceedings are open to the public, except for deliberations.  Applications are not confidential.  If an applicant is nominated, all materials attached to the original application will be submitted to the Governor.

A list of members of the Fifteenth Circuit JNC is available at https://www.flgov.com/judicial-and-judicial-nominating-commission-information/.Members of the bench, the Bar and the public are urged to contact the members of the Commission concerning applicants for judicial positions.

If you have any questions, please call Mr. Harvey at (561) 303-2918, or email at rharvey@jenksharveylaw.com

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 12.514- 4/2021 IN RE: VACATING AO 12.514 -INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL BY JUDGES AND COURT STAFF DURING THE PANDEMIC

To protect the safety and well-being of courthouse users and personnel, and in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines related to after-travel health precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Circuit adopted Administrative Order, 12.514 4/2021. Current guidelines and public health conditions no longer require the restrictions set forth in Administrative Order, 12.514 4/2021.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority conferred by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215, it is ORDERED that Administrative Order, 12.514 4/2021 is VACATED.

DONE and SIGNED in Chambers at West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida this 14th day of April, 2022

___________

Glenn D. Kelley
Chief Judge

ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 6.305-4/22* IN RE: CIVIL DRUG COURT

Article V, Section 7, of the Florida Constitution states that “[a] circuit or county court may hold civil and criminal trials and hearings in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court as designated by the chief judge of the circuit”. The City of Riviera Beach has offered to provide facilities within the City of Riviera Beach located at 2051 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Riviera Beach, Florida 33404, so that the court may conduct civil commitment hearings for drug and alcohol abuse pursuant to Chapters 396 and 397, Florida Statutes (2007). There exists an urgent need to provide treatment modalities for drug and alcohol abuse outside of the criminal justice system, i.e., without the taint of arrest and conviction. Various agencies and entities have offered their resources and cooperation to support a community-based drug court.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the authority conferred by Florida Rule of Judicial Administration 2.215, it is ORDERED as follows:

l. A community drug court is hereby established to conduct civil commitment hearings and to commit alcohol and drug abusers to treatment programs (“Civil Drug Court”).
2. The chief judge, by separate order, shall assign a judge or special magistrate to preside over the community-based drug court.
3. The facility, located at 2051 Martin Luther King Boulevard, in the City of Riviera Beach, is hereby designated as an approved location at which the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit may conduct civil commitment hearings pursuant to Chapters 397, Florida Statutes (2021).
4. Adult and juvenile civil commitment hearings will be scheduled on Saturdays.
5. A clerk from the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Court shall be designated by the Chief Operation Officer/Clerk & Comptroller to assist the judge in civil commitment hearings.
6. The appointed clerk is authorized and ordered to transport the necessary court files to the civil commitment hearings.
7. In the event a clerk is unable to attend the hearings, an employee of the City of Riviera Beach, who is assigned to work at this Community Drug Court, is authorized to take custody of the court files of cases scheduled to be heard at 2051 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Riviera Beach, Florida 33404.
8. The clerk is hereby authorized and ordered to make necessary court files available to the municipal employee assigned to work at Community Drug Court as needed.

DONE and SIGNED in Chambers at West Palm Beach, Palm Beach County, Florida, this __11th___ day of April, 2022.
_________________________________
Glenn D. Kelley
Chief Judge
* supersedes admin. order 6.305-7/11

REAL PROPERTY PROBATE & TRUST LAW SECTION FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR 2022-2024 CLASS

Dear RPPTL Members:

The Real Property Probate & Trust Law Section Fellowship Program is now accepting applications for its 2022-2024 Fellows Class.

The mission of the RPPTL Fellowship Program is to promote attorneys from diverse backgrounds, historically underrepresented in the law and in the RPPTL Section, to become substantially involved in the RPPTL Section work, receive leadership training and work closely with leading attorneys in their field, while fostering diversity within the Section.

The two-year term Fellowship is open to all lawyers who are members of the RPPTL Section and who have been admitted to the Bar for fewer than 12 years. Scholarships to defray expenses of attending Section meetings will be considered for applicants who best meet the following criteria:

• Demonstrated interest in wills, trusts, estates, and/or real estate as a substantial part of the applicant’s practice;
• Demonstrated interest in the activities of the RPPTL Section and commitment in continued involvement;
• Diversity, including a geographic, racial or ethnic background that is historically underrepresented in the RPPTL Section and Executive Council;
• Demonstrated need for financial assistance in order to attend Section meetings;
• Service to the profession or community.

See the RPPTL.org, Fellows Committee page, for more details regarding the program.

The Application Deadline is May 27, 2022. The application is available here and can be submitted to: DKellogg@floridabar.org
Contact the Committee Chair, Christopher A. Sajdera, with questions.

To Succeed in Mediation, Focus on the Numbers

By: Alfred A. LaSorte, Jr.
Published: April 2022

Litigation is stressful, risky and expensive. A form of civilized combat. Understandably, parties often view litigation, and form expectations as to its outcome, through an emotional lens. They bring all sorts of unhelpful motivations into the mediation room – a desire for revenge perhaps, or a need to prove they were right, or that the other side was wrong, or to prevail as a matter of principle.

Objective compromise, so crucial to successful mediation, requires a different analysis on both sides – one focusing on numbers, not feelings.

An auto accident case about compensation for serious physical injury. A suit between former business partners over profits. A manufacturer’s suit over an unpaid invoice. These cases have one thing in common – the only relief a court can grant is an award of money, not an apology.

At mediation, the plaintiff will rarely ever see an offer as high as their “best day” in court, and a defendant won’t likely see a plaintiff agree to just go away. Mediation is not about “best day” results – it’s about compromise. Objectively analyzing the numbers, on both sides, facilitates this compromise and gets cases settled.

Here’s a simplified example: A plaintiff suing a defendant for $100,000, with a more or less 50% chance of winning. Doing the math, a settlement in the $50,000 range (i.e., 50% of $100,000) should make sense, since that equates to the plaintiff’s odds of winning, and defendant’s odds of losing. (If the odds of winning were 30%, then the $30,000 range would be more realistic.)

I can already hear your objections. “Where’s your crystal ball? Nobody can predict result percentages with any accuracy” and “What about fees and costs? You forgot to factor them in.”

Hey, I did say “simplified” example, remember? And you’re right. Anything can happen at trial. But a case that survives to the point that it’s now in court-ordered mediation has some chance of winning. And no case is such a slam dunk that its chances are 100%. The hard part is reliably determining the range.

After some discovery, most trial lawyers develop a general feel for a case’s chances. Is it 50/50? Better than that? Worse? Do your best to come up with a range.

In my nearly forty years trying cases I had many client conversations where “better than 50/50” or “less than 50/50” chances were discussed. Whatever you conclude, discuss it with your client, whether plaintiff or defendant. And be candid that slam dunks in court don’t exist. Ever.

If your plaintiff/client isn’t willing to discount their “best day” number for the risk of loss, it’s time for a serious discussion about the things that can go wrong in a trial. Let’s face it – few cases have a 90% chance to win or to lose. Or 80%, or even 70%. But clients don’t know this unless you tell them. They all think they’re going to win!

If your defendant/client refuses to pay a single dollar “on principle,” it’s time to explain to them that moral victories are few and far between, and that they are expensive.

Which leads to your other objection – factoring legal fees and costs into the equation. This factor actually makes settlement easier. We commonly mediate cases where the fees on both sides will exceed the amount in dispute if the case doesn’t settle. In my $100,000 example, if the fees will exceed $50,000 on each side, wouldn’t it be crazy not to settle before both sides spend all that money? Everybody “wins” when these $100,000 in extra fees are avoided. (Okay, everybody but the lawyers.)

Even in contingency cases, with a law firm advancing the costs, a well-placed defense settlement proposal exposes the plaintiff to the risk of owing defense fees if they lose. A mediation settlement avoids this risk entirely.

I submit that, as your client’s counsellor, it’s your job to make sure they understand all of this before the mediation begins. How do you persuade them to realistically factor in the risk of loss and their inevitable out-of-pocket costs? It’s not that difficult if you are willing to frankly discuss the case with them.

So talk about risk of losing. About how witnesses forget, or don’t show up. How judges and juries can make mistakes. How there are a hundred things that can go wrong and hurt their case.

Talk about the costs of litigation. Give a frank estimate of the costs through trial. And appeal. Put pencil to paper with your plaintiff/client and estimate the net “dollars in their pocket” from a trial. Or with your defendant/client estimate what a loss will cost them. And do it before mediation starts.

The mediator can help you with this. But it must start with frank discussions with your clients well in advance. A client with unrealistic expectations may not suddenly get realistic once mediation commences.

So do the math with your clients. You will do them a tremendous service if you help them become objective, thereby helping them reach a fair settlement.


For additional ADR tips and resources, go to https://www.palmbeachbar.org/alternative-dispute-resolution-committee/

After a long career at Shutts & Bowen LLP as a commercial litigator specializing in real estate and general business cases, Mr. LaSorte now acts exclusively as mediator and expert witness through his own firm, Alfred A. LaSorte, Jr., P.A. d/b/a LaSorte Mediation. (www.LaSorteMediation.com). Mr. LaSorte can be reached at (561) 286-7994 and Al@LaSorteMediation.com.