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4th District Court of Appeal.

Court overturns state board on charter schools

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Pointing to similar cases in other parts of Florida, an appeals court Wednesday overturned a decision by the State Board of Education that would have cleared the way for two charter schools in Indian River County.

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Supreme Court strikes down limit on medical malpractice awards

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medical malpractice

In a 4-3 decision, the Florida Supreme Court on Thursday agreed with a lower court and said limiting certain damages in personal-injury medical malpractice lawsuits is unconstitutional. The ruling split along the usual lines, with the progressive-leaning justices concurring, and the conservatives—now including new Justice C. Alan Lawson—in dissent. The Legislature established $500,000 limits, or caps, on what are called “non­-economic” damages for such cases. The Supreme Court previously ruled they don’t apply in medical malpractice cases involving wrongful death. The…

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Smoker’s widow fights for multimillion-dollar jury award

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A lawyer for the widow of a Florida man “addict(ed) to cigarettes” asked the state Supreme Court Monday to reinstate her $30 million jury award for punitive damages. Tallahassee attorney John S. Mills, who represents Joan Schoeff, told the court the conduct of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.(RJR)—in selling a product they knew was killing 500,000 people a year—stopped just short of “intentional genocide.” Mills called RJR “the worst of the worst,” saying the cigarette maker was aware their customers “were going to die and continued (selling cigarettes)…

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Appeals court rules for Perry Thurston in matching funds case

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Perry Thurston Jr., now a state senator, has won the latest round in a court battle over state matching funds for his failed 2014 bid for Attorney General. A unanimous three-judge panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach Wednesday reversed a decision by the state’s Division of Elections, under Gov. Rick Scott, to deny Thurston matching funds for that race. Thurston, a former House Democratic Leader who was term limited in 2014, lost that year’s primary to…

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Supreme Court agrees to hear smoke case

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The state’s highest court agreed to hear an appeal of a punitive damages award against the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in the case of a man who died from smoking, according to filings. The Florida Supreme Court accepted jurisdiction last Thursday, court dockets show. At trial, a jury found smoker James E. Schoeff 25 percent at fault in his death. He had “died from lung cancer ‘caused by his addiction to cigarettes,’ ” according to court documents.  It awarded his…

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