On Monday, Governor Rick Scott signed legislation that limits opioid prescribing and provides tens of millions in new funding to combat Florida's escalating overdose epidemic. In 2016, opioid overdose death toll in Florida rose to more than 3,300. The newly enacted legislation (HB 21), seeks to curb the epidemic by limiting opioid prescribing, providing $65 million to expand treatment and make the overdose antagonist, Naxolone (also known as Narcan or Evzio), more readily available to law enforcement and paramedics.
Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeal recently reversed a $4.21 million judgment against WH&C clients holding that Florida law does not permit a party to recover compensatory damages where there is no monetary loss. The case involved allegations that the purchasers of a mausoleum business and paid significantly less to the sellers than the business and land were worth. At the trial, WH&C partner William J. Cornwell argued, among other things, that the purchasers paid more that the fair market value and, therefore, the sellers suffered no harm. The jury found that notwithstanding improper conduct on the part of the purchasers, sellers suffered $0 in damages relating to the sale of the business and land. Nonetheless, the jury awarded $2 million in attorneys' fees and costs and $2.21 million in punitive damages (which was significantly less that the plaintiff/sellers asked the jury to award). WH&C appealed the trial court's judgment arguing that because the jury found that the sellers suffered no damages relating to the sale of the business and land they could not recover attorneys' fees and costs or punitive damages. The Fourth District agreed finding that attorneys' fees and costs were part of the transaction and, therefore, were not recoverable in the where the sellers elected to affirm the contract rather than rescind. The Court also reversed the punitive damage award because, "the absence of any compensatory damage award, the punitive damages award must also be reversed." The Fourth District's opinion can be found here: DFG Group, LLC, et al. vs Heritage Manor of Memorial Park, Inc., et al., 4th DCA Case No. 16-2972.
On June 26, 2017, Governor Rick Scott approved House Bill 1237 (HB 1237), amending Florida's Condominium Act and requiring condominium associations "go digital." Specifically, by July 1, 2018, an association with 150 or more units which does not manage timeshare units is required to create or maintain a website where digital copies of condominium records are to be posted for the unit owners. The association's website must be either independent and wholly owned and operated by the association or operated by a third-party provider from whom the association owns, leases, rents, or otherwise obtains the right to operate the website. Either way, the association must have the ability to post certain notices, records, and documents as now required.
Late last year, The Florida Bar Health Law Section put on the 9th installment of its Master Class on Telemedicine, a "deep dive" into the legal, ethical, and technological issues surrounding telemedicine. Telemedicine is the practice of medicine by a licensed health care professional where patient care or services are provided using medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications. Simply put, telemedicine allows health care professionals to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients at a distance using telecommunications technology. The proliferation of these technologies created an alternative to in-person visits, allowing patients to receive health care services in their homes, workplaces, and elsewhere.