An Accidental Lawyer | Judge Layne Smith

An Accidental Lawyer | Judge Layne Smith

Q. Judge Smith, did you always aspire to be a lawyer? Sally A. No, I did not. Allow me to explain how it happened. My late father, Frank D. Smith, was a hard worker and a problem solver. When he graduated from high school, he aspired to go to college. However, his parents couldn’t afford […]

Grumpy Old Men | Judge Layne Smith

Grumpy Old Men | Judge Layne Smith

Q. Judge Smith, doing your job takes a lot of patience. What is your key to being polite and having an even keel? On or off the bench, is there anything that annoys you? Tanner A. Being patient is part of a judge’s job description. It helps to like people and to empathize with their […]

Malpractice is bad, More Lawsuits is Worse

In recent years, Florida has become a hotbed for medical malpractice lawsuits. Many out-of-state attorneys have set up shop in the state, lured by the promise of rich rewards. This trend is attributable to a variety of factors, including the state’s large elderly population and its popularity as a tourist destination. As a result, doctors […]

Violating Local Ordinances Has Consequences | Judge Layne Smith

Violating Local Ordinances Has Consequences | Judge Layne Smith

Q. Judge Smith, how can local government enact ordinances that expose people to criminal prosecution? Just call me a non-conformist. Dan A. The state or the federal government preempts some areas of law. Otherwise, county and city governments can enact local ordinances. The idea is that our local officials are the closest to local issues. […]

Open-Handed Greetings | Judge Lane Smith

Open-Handed Greetings | Judge Lane Smith

I talk to students about what judges do and the rule of law. Sometimes, we talk about American history and their questions can range from whimsical to probing.  Q. Judge Smith, why do the people in England drive on the other side of the road. Clay (a fourth-grade student). A. During the Middle Ages, most […]

Small Businesses Vulnerable to Lawsuit Abuse

Dear Editor, Florida’s courts are being commandeered by con artists and fraudsters, earning massive paydays at the expense of everyday small business owners. And things will keep getting worse on Mainstreet and in our communities if things don’t change soon. There are many forms of lawsuit abuse in the Sunshine State, but one in particular […]

Taking Stock and Reminiscing | Judge Layne Smith

After being appointed county judge in 2015, the people of Leon County elected me to the job. Before my term had ended, Governor DeSantis appointed me to the circuit bench. Since then, my chief judge has assigned me to handle family law and civil case dockets in Leon County. Since 2018, I have published 91 […]

Will Tallahassee Save Local Businesses?

Will Tallahassee Save Local Businesses?

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Can Tallahassee reward itself a gold medal for the local small business boom claimed by The New Small Business Boom Under the Biden Harris Administration 2021?  Or did Tallahassee earn itself a meager participation ribbon for 2021? While Tallahassee prides itself for promoting initiatives that support local small businesses, Tallahassee has […]

Lawsuit Costs Drive Up Insurance Costs

Lawsuit abuse is a significant cost driver in Florida’s property insurance market. Bad actors and third-party contractors are turning consumers’ insurance policies into a cash cow for themselves. We are now seeing higher insurance costs and fewer companies that are willing to write new policies or renewing existing ones, leading to less choice in the […]

Small Businesses Threatened by Litigation

Dear Editor, As we almost get through this last wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida businesses can at least rest assured that lockdowns are behind us. And during the summer, thanks to favorable public health guidelines here in Florida, vacationers have descended upon the Sunshine State and second home sales are as hot as ever. […]