Blog
1st Amendment

Are Ordinances Prohibiting Begging Constitutional in Florida? (Florida v. Watrous)

The following order is from a County Court in Lee County, Florida. It has little to no value as precedent. That said, the reasoning is well-organized and appears solid (there is always a chance for appeal). So here is the long legal answer to a simple question: is it constitutional …

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Clauses from Contracts

Florida Court Approves Exculpatory Clause in Workers Compensation / Third Party Negligence Scenario (Merlien v JM Family)

Florida’s Fourth DCA issued an opinion upholding an exculpatory clause on the grounds that the clause lacked a preamble which would create a fatal ambiguity and because it did not violate the Workers Compensation Statute. This case is instructive even if workers comp is not at issue in your case. …

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Florida

Understanding the 2020 Update to Florida’s Firework Statute

Florida recently passed a new law allowing certain fireworks to be bought and used on July 4 and New Years Eve/Day. Understand how Florida Statute 791.08 works by reading this article from the June 2020 Palm Beach Bar. Photo by Designecologist from Pexels

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Clauses from Contracts

How to Obtain a Jury Trial in Florida When There is a Jury Waiver in Your Contract (Revival of the “Advisory Jury”)

A new case revives an old method to avoid an express contractual jury waiver by asking for an “advisory jury.” Here’s how it works for plaintiffs and how lawyers who write contracts can address it. For years I have recommended that clients consider an express jury waiver in their contracts …

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Privacy

Privacy Settings for Zoom Video and Alexa (Palm Beach Bar Association)

While people are working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is wise to ensure that privacy settings on Zoom and Alexa (and all your devices and applications) are up-to-date. This guide will assist you in correctly securing your Zoom video conferences and Amazon Alexa. Quick note: while this article was …

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Data Breach

Webinar: Cybersecurity for Remote Lawyers and Employees (by Christopher Hopkins)

Thanks to the Florida Defense Lawyers Association for sponsoring the free webinar (for members), “Cybersecurity for Remote Lawyers and Employees.” You can find out information to join the webinar here and here. This one-hour session will explain the risks and provide hands-on solutions that you can use right away. This …

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Data Breach

WEBINAR: Employers & Employees Working from Home – Cybersecurity

Thanks to the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches for hosting this webinar, “Employers & Employees Working from Home – Cybersecurity,” today. Christopher Hopkins (lawyer, McDonald Hopkins LLC) and Christine Vanderpool (IT Director, Florida Crystals) discussed cyber security risks and measures during the coronavirus lockdown. THE REPLAY VIDEO IS …

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iOS

Protect the Privacy of Your iOS 13 Device (Palm Beach Bar March 2020)

Are you leaking data and revealing your privacy through your iPhone or iPad? In the March 2020 Palm Beach Bar Bulletin, the article, “Protect the Privacy of Your iOS 13 Device,” explains how to ensure you are not unknowingly being tracked, heard, recorded, or located. Written from the perspective of …

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Data Breach

Christopher Hopkins to Discuss CyberSecurity and Technology Trends for Mediators and Arbitrators (Palm Beach Bar Association)

A great thanks to the Palm Beach Bar Association for inviting me to speak about cyber security and technology trends at the annual ADR CLE/CME on Monday, February 10,. 2020. This year the theme is “The New Flavors of ADR” and I can assure you that “the cyber” and tech …

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Ethics

The Misguided Practice of CC’ing Clients on Emails to Opposing Counsel (Palm Beach Bar Association, January 2020)

Is it ethical (or wise) to cc or bcc your clients on emails sent to opposing counsel? It is a widespread practice but not a wise choice. This article, published by the Palm Beach Bar Association in January 2020, explores the six bar opinions discussing the ethics and (lack of) …

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4th Amendment

Florida Police Can (1) Search Your Car After Smelling Marijuana and (2) Cut a Hole in Your Underwear to Find Drugs (Jevin Hilliard v. Florida)

Florida drivers (and those in the car) should be aware that it is fairly well-settled that police have probable cause to search a car and occupants during a traffic stop based on “the faint odor of cannabis.” But how far can the search go? We find out in Jevin Hilliard …

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Clauses from Contracts

Florida Court Approves Exculpatory Clause for Rental Agreement (Pillay v. Public Storage)

When drafting contracts, it is advisable to use contract language which courts have already approved and enforced. This is especially true for exculpatory clauses, which must be clear and unambiguous. In Vignaraj Munsami Pillay v. Public Storage, Inc., Florida’s Fourth District considered an appeal arising from a dispute between a …

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law & order

Trump v. Vance: Initial Breakdown of the November 2, 2019 Second Circuit Opinion re: Production of Tax Returns

The Second Circuit issued its opinion this morning in Donald J. Trump v. Cyrus Vance, Jr. in his capacity as District Attorney of the County of New York and Mazars USA, LLP. You can find the 34-page opinion here. The following is an initial, rough outline of the court’s opinion. …

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1st Amendment

Florida Statute Criminalizes School Shooting & Bombing Threats – How Does Law Enforcement Locate People Who Post Online Threats? (O.P-G. v. Florida)

Two days after the Parkland School shooting in Broward County, a middle school student twenty miles away in Miami Lakes, Florida decided to post on YouTube the following: “I[’]m going to shoot my school in [F]lorida[.] [I’]m only 13[.] I got bull[ied] and [I’]m getting my revenge with my guns[.] …

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Data Breach

Christopher Hopkins Discusses Cybersecurity & Technology for Lawyers At Law Firm Leaders Summit

I was invited to speak today in Tampa about cybersecurity and technology for lawyers at the Law Firm Leaders Summit conference. I presented to both “small firm” and “large firm” tracks at the seminar. We covered: Getting hacked on public wifi Phishing, Spearfishing and other hacks Ransomware U.S. Government’s “NIT” …

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