[SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Oral Argument Press Summaries
February 4-8, 2002

The following summaries are drawn from briefs and lower court judgments. They are meant to provide a general idea of facts and issues presented in cases, and should not be considered official court documents. Facts and issues presented in these summaries should be checked for accuracy against records and briefs, available from the Court, which provide more specific information.

[ETCHING: SUPREME COURT OF FLORIDA]
Robert Craig Waters, Director of Public Information
(850) 414-7641



Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Monday, February 4, 2002
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.
Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
In Re: Final Report of Jury Innovations Committee

SC01-1226

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9:00 The Jury Innovations Committee has proposed several changes in the way jury trials would operate. The Committee has submitted 48 recommendations to improve Florida's jury system for the Court's consideration, including a jurors' bill of rights. Statewide impact
Anthony Neal Washington v. State of Florida

SC00-1435SC01-872

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Approx. 9:40 Washington was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the August 1989 murder of Alice Berdat and burglary of her home. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Pinellas County
Florida Department of Transportation v. Armadillo Partners, Inc.

SC01-1014

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Approx. 10:30 DOT filed an eminent domain proceeding to take land owned by Armadillo for widening of Griffin Road and improvements to the Davie Road intersection. The taking eliminated a large number of parking spaces on the property, on which the Armadillo Square shopping center stood. Appraisers agreed that the elimination of these spaces and other effects would render the shopping center valueless. This would reduce its value to the purchase price of the raw land minus costs to demolish the center, unless changes were made to "cure" the impact. Different "cure plans" and their costs were presented to the jury, which ultimately awarded Armadillo more than $800,000. The Fourth District reversed. Broward County
Fritz Major v. State of Florida

SC01-1811

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Approx. 11:10 At age 16 in 1993, Major pled no contest when charged with aggravated assault and was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile facility. In 2000, Major petitioned the Court to review his case after his sentence in an unrelated federal criminal case was increased by more than 12 years based on his prior no-contest plea. He contended he should have been told at the time of his plea that the subsequent conviction could be used to enhance later criminal sentences The Court sent the case back to the Miami trial court, which denied relief. The Third District Court of Appeal affirmed. Dade County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Tuesday, February 5, 2002
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
Physicians Healthcare Plans, Inc. v. Raymond Pfeifler

SC01-2062SC01-2079

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9:00 In a medical malpractice lawsuit, Physicians Healthcare filed a petition in this Court to prohibit the use of retired or "senior" judges in presiding over certain types of trials in Broward County. The Broward courts argue that the practice is both necessary and legal. Broward County
Joel Dale Wright v. State of Florida

SC00-1389

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Approx. 9:40 Wright was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the February 1983 murder of Lima Page Smith. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Putnam County
Daniel Burns v. State of Florida

SC01-166

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Approx. 10:30 Burns was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death for the August 1987 murder of Jeffrey Young. His sentence was affirmed on appeal. He now challenges its validity. Manatee County
State of Florida v. J.M.

SC01-1215

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Approx. 11:10 This case involves the issue of whether a 14-year-old minor sentenced as a juvenile for sexual battery on a 6-year-old can be declared a sexual predator under Florida law. Leon County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Wednesday, February 6, 2002
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
Steven Pollock v. Florida Dep't of Highway Patrol

SC99-8SC99-41

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9:00 A motorist reported to FHP a flatbed truck that was stalled at night in a lane of the Palmetto Expressway. FHP allegedly failed to respond to this report. Suzanne Leeds was driving a car that struck the flatbed, killing her and her passenger Elissa Pollack. Their estates sued and won judgments of more than $8.9 million each, with FHP 50 percent liable for the total amount. The Third District Court reversed. Dade County
Carole M. Siegle v. Progressive Consumers Insurance Co.

SC01-1219

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Approx. 9:40 Siegle was in an automobile accident and made a claim under her insurance policy with Progressive.  As was its option under the policy, Progressive repaired the vehicle and returned it to her.  She sued the insurer, alleging that the policy requires Progressive to both repair her vehicle and pay her for the diminishment in the car's value due to the accident.  The trial court dismissed her claim, and on appeal the Fourth District Court affirmed. Broward County
United Contractors Corp. v. Maria Minerva Hernandez

SC00-2176

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Approx. 10:30 Hernandez' husband was killed at a jobsite under the control of United. She and her children filed a wrongful death suit against United and others. Later, Hernandez filed for workers compensation benefits, but settled the claim for $10,000 when her husband's employer contested it. United then moved to dismiss the tort suit on grounds Hernandez had elected to take workers compensation and therefore United was immune from tort liability for wrongful death. The trial court agreed, but the Third District Court of Appeal reversed. Dade County
Media General Convergence, Inc. v. Chief Judge of the Thirteeth Judicial Circuit

SC01-1396SC01-1398

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Approx. 11:10 Media organizations filed public records requests for certain documents allegedly created or received by then-Chief Judge Dennis Alvarez of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit. The records they sought dealt with allegations of sexual misconduct or fraternization with staff by one or more judges of the circuit. Judge Alvarez did not release any documents. The media organizations filed a petition with the Second District Court asking it to order Judge Alvarez to release the documents. The District Court declined to do so. Hillsborough County

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Thursday, February 7, 2002
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General: Reduce Class Size

SC01-2421

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9:00 A petition drive is underway to collect sufficient signatures to place on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment limiting class size in Florida schools. The issue is before the Court to determine whether the proposal contains only a single subject and has a fair ballot summary, as required by law. Statewide impact
Advisory Opinion to the Attorney General: Second-Hand Tobacco Smoke

SC01-2422

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Approx. 9:40 A petition drive is underway to collect sufficient signatures to place on the ballot a proposed constitutional amendment restricting smoking in certain public places. The issue is before the Court to determine whether the proposal contains only a single subject and has a fair ballot summary, as required by law. Statewide impact
The Florida Bar v. John T. Carlon, Jr.; The Florida Bar v. Mark Haller Zilberg

SC95,539SC00-1344SC97,000SC99-11

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Approx. 10:30 These cases involve attorneys charged with ethical misconduct in overcharging clients, failure to maintain client trust accounts properly, and other charges. They have been consolidated because they involve questions of enforcing and prioritizing client restitution orders. Broward County

Leon County

City of Miami v. Patrick McGrath III

SC01-1562

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Approx. 11:00 In 1999 the Legislature authorized certain cities to charge a surcharge of up to 20 percent for the rental, lease, or sale of parking spaces. To qualify, the city had to have a population of 300,000 or more on April 1, 1999, and had to have been declared in a state of financial emergency pursuant within the previous 2 fiscal years. McGrath filed a class-action suit challenging the Miami surcharge, but the trial court ruled against him. On appeal, the Third District reversed. Dade County

Tampa connection

Jacksonville connection

Florida Supreme Court Oral Arguments
Friday, February 8, 2002
Arrive early. Times & order of appearance are tentative and subject to change with no notice. Cases may be postponed due to exigent circumstances.

Case Time Facts & Issues Place of Origin
No cases scheduled



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