Full Day of Educational Sessions For 53 years, the brightest scientists working on turf topics have gathered in Tifton, Ga., for the Southeastern Turfgrass Conference. The 54th event, May 1-2 at the Rural Development Center, promises to gather, like the others so far, the best expertise around. A Tour of the Test Plots A tour of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College turf nursery will follow. The opening day will end with dinner at the Tifton Family Golf Center. Golf turf updates on superdwarf Bermudas, equipment leasing and more. Ornamentals topics from landscape design to managing insects and diseases. Georgia Sod Producers points on water issues, pricing strategies, etc. The second day will be filled with educational sessions. In the morning, scientists from all over the Southeast will update conference-goers on everything from new research developments to mole crickets and nematodes to affordable golf. The afternoon sessions will offer three tracks: The event will begin May 1 with an informal golf outing at the Springhill Country Club. For those who prefer to learn from the start, a pesticide and equipment calibration workshop will be offered at the RDC. After registration (11:30 a.m.) and lunch, the afternoon sessions will feature a tour of the test plots at the University of Georgia Coastal Plain Experiment Station. UGA and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists will discuss their research. A $50 fee, or $75 after April 14, will cover all costs. The May 1 dinner and both lunches will be provided. To learn more about the event, or to pre-register, contact the county Extension Service office. Or call (912) 386-3416.
The Florida Supreme Court has quashed an 11th Circuit judge’s order prohibiting insurance company staff counsel from signing pleadings using a firm-like name.But one justice said that doesn’t mean trial courts are without any authority in the matter, and the court said it was not prejudging recommendations on the issue that are coming from The Florida Bar.In an April 19 order, the court vacated orders by Judge Paul Siegel that prohibited insurance company counsel from using firm names in proceedings and filings in his court. Siegel had prohibited the lawyers from using language that implied they worked for an independent law firm if they were actually staff counsel for the company. He also ordered that independent medical experts hired by the defense could not say they were paid by the “law firm” but would have to say they were paid by the insurance company.Lawyers representing insurance companies told the courts in oral arguments in March that full disclosure was always made to clients and no one was being harmed. They also argued that Judge Siegel overstepped his authority and, in essence, created and enforced a Bar rule, thereby infringing on the Supreme Court’s authority.In their order, the justices unanimously agreed, and noted they are expecting proposals from a special Bar study commission on the issue.“We determine that these prohibitions encroach upon this court’s ultimate jurisdiction to adopt rules for the courts,” the order said.The court added: “The Florida Bar has notified this court in this proceeding that the Special Commission on Insurance Practices II has performed a comprehensive study of issues similar to those identified in Judge Siegel’s orders and that the commission will submit recommendations from the study to this court.. . . granting these petitions, we are not ruling upon any matters which may be contained within the recommendations that may be provided in that report.”In a separate concurring opinion, Justice Barbara Pariente, joined by Justice Fred Lewis, wrote that the court was not saying that disclosure of an attorney’s actual employer could never be a factor in a case. “[T]he quashing of the orders should not be interpreted to mean that a trial court is without any authority to require disclosures of a lawyers’ employment in a pretrial disclosure or as a ruling as to issues that may arise during the trial for which information regarding the attorney’s employment may be relevant,” she wrote.The Board of Governors at its March meeting accepted the recommendations from the special commission. Those included that insurance company staff counsel can use firm-like names, as long as certain conditions are met, including disclosure to clients, and there is a physical and actual separation from the remainder of the company’s operations. The commission recommended, and the board approved, amending two Bar rules to clarify those and potential conflict issues for staff counsel.Those rules could be ready to submit to the court this summer. (See story in the April 1 Bar News. ) Text of the order can be found on the Supreme Court’s Web site at the April orders page at http://www.flcourts.org/sct/clerk/disposition/2002/4/index.html. Scroll down to the orders for April 19. The lead case for the petition to the court is United Services Automobile Association v. Goodman, case no. SC01-1700. Supreme Court quashes order in firm-like name case Supreme Court quashes order in firm-like name case May 15, 2002 Regular News