COVID Liability protection taken up by house


The House glanced at a Senate bill on Thursday that would establish COVID-19 liability protections for businesses and healthcare providers such as nursing homes.

Lawmakers asked few questions before rolling the bill (SB 72) onto third reading. Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes is the bill sponsor.

Under the proposal, a plaintiff would need to prove with “clear and convincing evidence” that a defendant acted with “gross negligence” when filing a COVID-19 related lawsuit.

The bill’s protections would become applicable if a defendant made a “good-faith effort” to substantially comply with government health guidelines.

Proponents of the measure contend businesses and providers navigated the pandemic’s early stages with conflicting health guidance and limited supplies.

They fear predatory lawsuits are a looming threat.

Critics, meanwhile, argue the legislation goes too far while offering too little to frontline workers.

Critics also take issue with a provision that would require plaintiffs to submit a physician’s affidavit, attesting that the defendant’s action or inaction led to damages, injury, or death.

Physicians, they argue, cannot make that determination within a reasonable degree of medical certainty.

The massive bill comes after Brandes merged two COVID-19 liability bills into one during the final committee stop.

Originally, the proposals to shield healthcare providers and businesses were filed as separate measures.

The move to merge, Brandes said, was strategic.

“It’s easier to defend one fortress than to guard two,” Brandes told members of the Senate Rules Committee.

Throughout the committee process, outnumbered Democrats have filed dozens of amendments without success.

If signed into law, the bill would take effect immediately and apply retroactively.

Earlier this month, the House passed a bill (HB 7)  that would provide liability protections solely to Florida businesses facing COVID-19-related lawsuits.

However, Sprowls later agreed to the new Senate language during negotiations.

“We anticipate picking up that bill, passing it, and getting it to the Governor’s desk as soon as possible,” Sprowls told reporters.

David Rivera fined $456,000 for campaign scheme

David Rivera fined $456,000 for campaign scheme 1

David Rivera, former Florida congressman has been involved in a scandal and a couple of lawsuits over the past 10 years. He was ordered to pay a fine of $456,000 to the Federal Election Commission for a civil lawsuit in which he allegedly carried out a scheme during a 2012 congressional primary to fund the campaign of Democratic candidate Justin Lamar Strenad to weaken the campaign of Rivera’s opponent, Joe Garcia.

Rivera was granted a chance to dismiss the Federal Election Commission’s complaint in 2017 by the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, citing a Utah court ruling that the Federal Election Commission had overstepped. However, the agency filed an amended complaint in 2019, which Rivera again tried to have dismissed, but this time the court sided with the Federal Election Commission and the lawsuit moved forward.

The Federal Election Commission had accused Rivera in the complaint of making approximately $55,000 in campaign contributions in the name of another. Rivera has continued to deny any wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, the court granted the Federal Election Commission’s proposal for summary judgment, stating in an order that “the record evidence quite obviously paints a picture showing that Rivera engaged in a scheme to unlawfully fund the Sternad campaign.”

“And Rivera’s opposition brief fails to rebut or even address much of that evidence,” the order reads.

The Federal Election Commission sought a $456,000 civil penalty, which the court granted.

David Rivera had come under legal scrutiny before. He was under federal investigation in 2011 for his involvement in a secret consulting contract that a casino cut with a marketing company listed in his mother’s name, but the case went nowhere.

Moreover, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has also been preparing to charge former Florida Congressman David Rivera in a 52-count indictment alleging theft, money laundering and racketeering stemming from his use of public money and cash contributed to committees he used for political purposes — before the prosecutor’s office was persuaded by Rivera’s attorneys to drop the effort.

David Rivera also lost a court battle in 2016 concerning his finances as a state legislator, for which he was to be fined $58,000. However, he didn’t have to pay since he was no longer a member of the Florida House, which would have needed to enforce the fine.

Trump’s tax returns are still sitting at The Supreme Court

Trump's tax returns are still sitting at The Supreme Court 2


The Lawsuits involving Donald Trump have torn apart The Supreme Court while he was still president. For almost four months, the Supreme Court has not acted on the emergency filings related to a Manhattan grand jury’s subpoena of Trump’s tax returns, effectively thwarting part of the investigation.

Lack of action from The Supreme Court marks a remarkable withdrawal from its normal practice of timely responses when the justices are asked to block a lower court decision on an emergency basis and has brought up questions regarding what is happening behind the scenes.

Based on Chief Justice John Roberts’s past pattern, it seems that he may be trying to reconcile clashes that may have risen up amongst the nine justices in order to avoid an order that reinforces a look of partisan politics.

In contradiction, the unexplained hold-up smacks of politics and appears to entangle the justices even more in the controversies of Trump.

Former President Donald Trump’s financial problems are still very serious as he refuses to release his tax returns since the 2016 elections and has become the first president in 40 years to fail to do so while campaigning or while in office. In the year 2016, he refused to release his returns by saying that tax returns are really complicated and since he has many companies he has a complex system of taxes that makes it challenging to release the returns. The New York Times has also published a report on two decades of his federal income taxes

The Manhattan investigation, led by District Attorney Cyrus Vance, continues to draw extensive public attention. The grand jury is looking out for Trump’s personal and business records back to 2011. Part of the investigation involves hush-money payments Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen made to cover up alleged affairs. However, Trump has denied those allegations.
For more than a year, Trump’s attorneys have raised several provocations to prevent the implementation of the subpoena. The controversy appeared to build up at the Supreme Court last July when the justices rejected Trump’s claim that a sitting president is absolutely immune from criminal proceedings.