March 2020 Summaries

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This webpage for oral argument week is continuously updated. Summaries are provided to assist the press and public better understand each case. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

SC18-149 The Florida Bar v. TIKD Services LLC, A Foreign Limited Liability Company & Christopher Riley, Individually and as Founder of TIKD Services, LLC

Starts at 9:00 a.m.

The Florida Bar filed a petition with this Court against TIKD Services LLC, a smartphone service used to challenge traffic tickets, and Mr. Christopher Riley, Executive Director of TIKD Services, for engaging in the unlicensed practice of law. Mr. Riley is not a member of the Bar and is not licensed to engage in the practice of law in Florida. Mr. Riley disputes the allegation and argues the services provided by TIKD do not constitute legal advice or services. The judge-referee appointed to review the case recommends that this Court dismiss the Bar’s petition with prejudice. The Florida Bar challenges the referee’s recommendation. 

Appearance for the Florida Bar: 
Chris W. Altenbernd of Banker Lopez Gassler P.A., Tampa, 813-221-1500

Appearance for Amici Curiae Florida Private Practice Lawyers: 
James J. McGuire of Thomas & LoCicero PL, Tampa, 813-984-3060

Appearance for Respondents: 
Christopher M. Kise of Foley & Lardner LLP, Tallahassee, 850-222-6100

SC19-673 Arch Insurance Company v. Kubicki Draper, LLP

Broward County – starts about 9:40 a.m.

Arch Insurance Company hired law firm Kubicki Draper to defend an insured party in an accounting malpractice case. The lawsuit settled within the policy limits. Arch Insurance Company then sued Kubicki Draper for legal malpractice, alleging that Kubicki Draper should have raised a statute of limitations defense in the original litigation and that the law firm’s failure to do so significantly increased the cost of the settlement. The trial court ruled that Arch Insurance Company did not have the legal standing to sue Kubicki Draper. On appeal, the Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court but certified a question of great public importance to this Court regarding standing.

Appearance for Petitioner: 
Edward G. Guedes of Weiss Serota Helfman Cole & Bierman, P.L., Coral Gables, 305-854-0800

Appearance for Respondent: 
Christopher V. Carlyle of The Carlyle Appellate Law Firm, Orlando, 407-377-6870

-- 10-minute break --

SC19-436 Rocky Ali Beamon, Sr. v. State of Florida

Jackson County – starts about 10:30 a.m.

Mr. Beamon pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of a fellow inmate, Bruce Hunsicker, who was fatally stabbed and strangled at the Apalachee Correctional Institution in 2012. Mr. Beamon waived his right to a penalty phase jury trial and did not present mitigation evidence. The trial court sentenced Mr. Beaman to death. This is his direct appeal.

Appearance for Appellant:
Richard M. Bracey, III, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-1000

Appearance for Appellee: 
Janine D. Robinson, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3606

SC18-2061 Jonathan Huey Lawrence v. State of Florida

Santa Rosa County – starts about 11:30 a.m.

Mr. Lawrence was charged with being a principal in the May 1998 first-degree murder of 18-year-old Jennifer Robinson, who was fatally shot. He pleaded guilty, the jury voted 11-1 to recommend a death sentence, and he was condemned. This Court upheld his sentence of death on direct appeal and subsequently affirmed the denial of his initial postconviction motion and denied his petition for writ of habeas corpus. Mr. Lawrence then filed a successive postconviction motion in the trial court seeking a new penalty phase pursuant to Hurst v. State. The trial court vacated his death sentence and ordered a new penalty phase. He was sentenced to death on resentencing, and this direct appeal followed.

Appearance for Appellant:
Barbara J. Busharis, Asst. Public Defender, Tallahassee, 850-606-8500

Appearance for Appellee:
Charmaine M. Millsaps, Asst. Attorney General, Tallahassee, 850-414-3300