Tom Appeals Blog

News and Observations About Law and Society

"As long as I have any choice, I will stay only in a country where political liberty, toleration, and equality of all citizens before the law are the rule." - Albert Einstein

Constitution Revision Commission Begins Public Hearings

Posted: March 22, 2017 Filed under: Commentary, Law-Related News, Uncategorized

I cannot overemphasize the significance and power of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission. It can initiate fundamental restructuring of state government and, in the process, deal far-reaching setbacks to the integrity of the judicial branch (court system) and to individual rights. Watch for public hearings in your area, attend, and speak up. You are the best guardian of your personal rights and interests.

The Commission will be meeting in Orange County on the UCF campus March 29th. The official notice of that public hearing and of other hearings scheduled around the state through April 12, 2017, is HERE.

I will post additional updates as I find them on my Facebook page and on Twitter, both @TomAppeals.

Floridians can also follow news of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission’s activities on its OFFICIAL WEBSITE and on THIS page maintained by The Florida Bar.

Tom Quoted as a “Pro Bono Pro”

Posted: February 25, 2017 Filed under: Commentary, Law-Related News, Uncategorized

The March 2017 of The Florida Bar Journal features several stories about the significant pro bono work lawyers do. Read about Tom’s pro bono contributions in The Pro Bono Pros: And How You Can Become One and Hamilton’s Final Act Leaves a Legacy in Florida Law.

Florida Supreme Court Disciplines 24 Lawyers

Posted: May 3, 2016 Filed under: Uncategorized

According to THIS press release, the Supreme Court of Florida recently disciplined 24 lawyers — “disbarring four, revoking the licenses of four, suspending nine and publicly reprimanding seven. Five attorneys were also placed on probation.”

New York Appellate Court: No visit, no child support

Posted: September 18, 2015 Filed under: Uncategorized

THIS article tells of a New York court that upheld a 13 year old’s right to not visit his father but that also held the father should not have to pay child support.

Tom Presents…

Posted: April 30, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized

Today marks the fifth continuing legal education presentation I’ve been part of making over the past eight months – and the fifth distinct topic I’ve addressed.

Prior presentations addressed minimum wage and overtime liability to employees classified as volunteers and unpaid interns; the economic loss rule in Florida; ethics and professionalism consideration in the use of cloud computing by lawyers; and a look inside Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeal.

Today’s presentation is part of the Orange County Bar Association Appellate Practice Committee’s seminar about “Advanced Legal Writing in a Paperless, Digital Age.” I will be demonstrating the use of freely available legal resources in legal papers through hyperlinks. Officially, the presentation is called “Hyper and (Mostly) Free: Useful Electronic Tools for Persuasive Writing.”

Supreme Court Broadens Police Power to Search

Posted: April 23, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized

Law enforcement officers now have wider latitude in conducting searches on the basis of anonymous tips. Navarette v. California, No. 12–9490 (April 22, 2014) divided the U.S. Supreme Court’s two most conservative justices, while the majority opinion was joined by one of the Court’s liberals, Justice Breyer. Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion, and Justice Scalia wrote the dissent. NPR wrote about the Court’s decision HERE.

Florida Supreme Court: Economic Loss Rule Applies Only in Products Liability Cases

Posted: March 7, 2013 Filed under: Uncategorized

One year ago this month, my article titled Ruminations on the Relationship Between the Economic Loss Rule and Claims for Breach of Fiduciary Duty appeared in The Florida Bar Journal. The article discussed conflicting decisions among the Florida District Courts of Appeal on the question of whether the legal doctrine known as the economic loss rule bars common law claims for breach of fiduciary duty when the parties’ relationship is embodied both in a contract and in a relationship giving rise to a fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duties are the highest duties known in law and arise in certain relationships, such as that between a trustee and the beneficiary of a trust, among others.

Today, the Supreme Court of Florida effectively resolved that conflict through a sweeping 5-2 opinion that limits application of the economic loss rule to products liability cases. The court made the pronouncement in Tiara Condominium Association, Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc.,  No. SC10-1022. The opinion is available HERE.

Tiara began in federal court but reached the Supreme Court of Florida after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified the following question:  “Does the economic loss rule bar an insured’s suit against an insurance broker where the parties are in contractual privity with one another and the damages sought are solely for economic losses?”

The Supreme Court of Florida rephrased the Eleventh Circuit’s question because it assumed the continuing applicability of the economic loss rule to cases involving contractual relationships. The rephrased question was: “Does the economic loss rule bar an insured’s suit against an insurance broker where the parties are in contractual privity with one another and the damages sought are solely for economic losses?”

Ultimately, the court answered the rephrased question negatively, concluding it unnecessary “to decide whether the economic loss rule exception for professionals applies to insurance brokers” because “application of the economic loss rule is limited to products liability cases.”

Now the case returns to the federal appeals court, which will render judgment in accordance with Florida law as announced by the Supreme Court of Florida.


Talking About “Obamacare”

Posted: September 12, 2012 Filed under: Commentary, Employment Law, Law-Related News, Legislation, Uncategorized

Thomas Wade Young was recently honored with the opportunity to speak to members of the Central Florida Compensation & Benefits Association regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – the law pejoratively or affectionately, depending on one’s viewpoint, as “Obamacare.” The talk was entitled PPACA & SCOTUS: It’s Constitutional. Now What?  The PowerPoint presentation and a list of online resources for further information are available at the following links.

PPACA Presentation Disclaimer-The presentation slides provide only an outline and do not reflect all of Mr. Young’s remarks. The presentation slides are not intended to be a substantive resource and should not be relied on as such.

Online Resources

Estate Planning in the Digital Age

Posted: July 25, 2012 Filed under: Commentary, Law-Related News, Uncategorized

Few people enjoy thinking about death, which explains why so many folks procrastinate when it comes to making and executing plans for the distribution of their estate following their own death. In this article, the American Bar Association raises an interesting question: “What happens to your online accounts, computer files and other ‘digital assets’ when you die or become incapacitated?” Think about it. Then plan accordingly.

Decision on Healthcare Will Create Issues

Posted: June 11, 2012 Filed under: Commentary, Law-Related News, Uncategorized

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s anticipated decision regarding the constitutionally of the law known, both affectionately and derisively, as Obamacare expected on or before June 30, many are awaiting anxiously. As with many things in life, the fix isn’t as simple as affirming the law in toto or finding the law unconstitutional in whole. This AP article highlights some of the effects employers, working families, seniors, and others can expect to encounter regardless of the outcome.

Admitted: Florida, Kansas, New Mexico (inactive)