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) …

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 …

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 …

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. …

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[.] …

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” …

4th Amendment

When Can You Withdraw Consent for a DUI Blood Draw in Florida? (Florida v. Jennifer Ivie)

A Florida driver was involved in an accident, taken to the hospital, and interviewed by police who were conducting a DUI investigation. The officer spoke with the driver, advised her of her Miranda rights, conducted at least one visual test, and otherwise detected signs of intoxication. The officer asked the …

Defamation

Is an alleged defamatory statement by CEO to Board of Directors considered “publication” so that it is actionable? (Hullick v. Gibraltar)

A former officer of a bank asserts that the CEO allegedly made defamatory statements about him in front of the company’s entire Board of Directors, who happened to be non-employees. Is that actionable? The new case of Jonathan Hullick v. Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Co. and Steven D. Hayworth …

1st Amendment

The First Amendment and the Hurdles to Obtain an Injunction in Florida for Social Media Cyberstalking (Derek Warren Logue v. Lauren Frances Book)

A Florida trial court entered an injunction for stalking against the appellant for, among other things, posting a picture of the appellee’s house with her address, a song video with obscene title and lyrics, and a cartoon depicting the appellee with an obscene reference. The appellant filed an appeal, claiming …

Privacy

Florida Wiretap Act — Reasonable Expectation of Privacy in Someone Else’s House? (Smiley v. Florida)

Corey Smiley was at someone else’s home with an invitation when the discussion turned argumentative, and the other person “began recording the argument on her cell phone… position[ing] the phone in front of Smiley’s face… Smiley questions her about the recording and grabs the phone…” He later was arrested and …

Data Breach

Christopher Hopkins Presents Keynote Cybersecurity Presentation at Florida Dispute Resolution Conference

Special thanks to the Florida Dispute Resolution Center and the 1,000+ attendees at this year’s ADR: Options and Opportunities (27th annual) Conference. My keynote address covered various forms of cybersecurity risks (not just for mediators) including phishing, spearfishing, WiFi Pineapple man in the middle attacks, DDOS attacks, physical attacks, and …

1st Amendment

Three Steps to Understanding Why Government Officials Cannot Block Users on Social Media (Knight First Amendment Institute et al. v. Donald J. Trump et al.)

There is some confusion about the recent Second Circuit opinion as to how, on a private social media platform, a government official, using a personal account, cannot block other users. The following three step process should lead just about everyone to understand the outcome. The case is Knight First Amendment …

Internet

When You See People Trying to Sue a Social Media Platform Because Their Account Was Suspended, It’s a Stunt (lessons of the CDA & Brittain v. Twitter)

A number of politicians, activists, and others who feel aggrieved after their Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and/or YouTube content has been removed or their accounts suspended have taken to the courts to sue the social media platforms with claims that they are being singled out, muzzled, or their free speech is …

Injunction

Casual Sexual Relationships and Florida’s Injunction Against Dating Violence (versus other injunctions)

When seeking an injunction in Florida to prevent someone from contacting you, pay careful attention to which statute best applies. This is the (unfortunate) lesson of Tyler Sumners v. Lindsey Thompson. After meeting on Craigslist, the parties had a four year consensual sexual relationship punctuated by periods of time when …

Ethics

Christopher Hopkins Speaks at NBI “Estate Administration From Start to Finish”

Thanks to National Business Institute (NBI) for permitting me to speak at “Estate Administration From Start to Finish” on May 16, 2019 in West Palm Beach, Florida. I’ll be covering “Commencement of Proceedings and Information Gathering” as well as the closing hour, “Estate Ethics.” Of note, the section in the …