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dan-smedley-K_P6uDekLKI-unsplash1-300x200Earlier this month, in Miami federal court, an American international hospitality corporation had a class-action lawsuit filed against it. Since a new Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeal decision, the business is part of a broader wave of hotels facing lawsuits over gratuity or service charges that allegedly violate unfair trade practice laws.

The case came from a hotel guest who, via a QR code, ordered several meals at restaurants in one of the hotels belonging to the hospitality group, which carried an electronic version of the restaurant menu. According to the lawsuit, the woman ordered food and beverages from the menu on her mobile. Although her check had “20 percent SVC CHG,” she said she did not see any note on the menu of the restaurant that an automatic gratuity or service fee about such fees being added to her check. The woman argues that an electronic, mandatory gratuity was unfairly paid.

The class-action case aims to stand for the interests of other class members who bought food or drinks at one of the several hotel properties of the hospitality business in Florida during the last four years.

usa-1327105_1920-1-300x300A Miami police officer is generating headlines after he was allegedly caught wearing a pro-Trump mask while in uniform at an early voting site. Based on Florida law, voters, poll watchers and workers, and other individuals that have been approved by those supervising the election are the ones allowed in a polling place. Furthermore, it is against both state and federal law for a person to solicit or intimidate a voter while they are within 150 feet of a voting site entrance.

It has not been confirmed whether the officer was at the voting site for an official reason or if he sought to vote himself.

The incident with the officer happened just one day following the start of Florida’s early voting and the announcement by Miami officials that plainclothes officers would be deployed near voting sites to put voters at ease.

philipp-katzenberger-iIJrUoeRoCQ-unsplash-1-300x200A 21-year-old South Florida man has been charged with cyberstalking by federal prosecutors after he allegedly made multiple social media posts threatening to kill a woman.

The criminal complaint filed in Florida’s Southern District alleges that the man developed hundreds of false social media accounts during a six month to cyberstalk the woman. In connection with the victim, he made racial and derogative comments, including anti-black comments. The man also shared the address of the Florida home where the woman’s parents resided, per the complaint, and made threats to visit the home and injure them.

In July of this year, after the woman relocated to Los Angeles from South Florida, the abuse and threats persisted. The man discovered the home address of the woman and posted it online under a fictitious social media identity and allegedly threatened to injure or kill her, according to the criminal complaint.

fruit-1610871_1920-1-300x215A Miami federal court is re-examining a class action suit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars against several distributors of a well-known multilevel marketing (MLM) nutrition supplement company. Should the suit prevail, it could have significant ramifications for other MLM businesses.

The suit involves thousands of individuals who were allegedly told by top distributors of the nutrition company that with a strong sales strategy and hard work, they would see “financial success” capable of changing their lives. According to the source article, one of the plaintiffs in the suit spent thousands of dollars after becoming a member back in 2010, but she and her husband did not receive benefits despite purchasing the product. As with other MLMs, the nutrition company recruits new individuals to make money in selling its products.

To read more, visit https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/2020/10/06/140m-class-action-against-44-top-herbalife-distributors-reopens-in-miami-federal-court/.

fsu-2971819_1920-1-300x200A university student is suing a well-known Florida university and student officials, alleging a violation of his religious freedom when he was ousted from the student senate following private Catholic student chat forum comments he made. Last week, a federal court was presented with arguments regarding the case.

As students debated social diversity and financially helping various entities, the student articulated issues with policy strategies of the groups ACLU, BlackLivesMatter.com, and Retake the Block which he claimed disagreed with Church teaching. Another student and forum participant took a screenshot of the remarks made by the ousted student and submitted them to a student senate member. A student senate motion of no confidence in the ousted student was unsuccessful in June, but the senate held another vote during the same month, resulting in the ousting.

The student’s counsel argues that his expulsion was unlawful; because of both its integration into a public university and its formation by a state statute, the student senate is a state entity. The student could not be excluded merely for taking an unfavorable policy viewpoint.

image003-3-300x223A New York resident filed a lawsuit when he was automatically charged eighteen percent gratuities after dining at Key Biscayne’s Ritz-Carlton restaurants. Although a district judge dismissed the lawsuit, the decision was overturned by a federal appeals court earlier this week, paving the way for a class-action lawsuit alleging that Florida-based Ritz-Carlton restaurants failed to properly notify diners that they would have an automatic tip added to their bill.

The plaintiff argued that one bill did not reference the inclusion of an automatic tip, while two others said that “suggested” gratuities of eighteen percent would be included, although the bills contained tip amounts. The plaintiff alleges that Ritz-Carlton is violating a law called the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

The judge that initially dismissed the lawsuit did so because the man could not sue on behalf of diners for restaurants he was never at nor did his claims meet the $5 million minimum for a class-action lawsuit.

image002-4-300x198As protests continue around the nation, Florida is looking to crack down on individuals participating in ones that become violent by introducing new legislation. Governor Ron DeSantis is proposing laws that would enforce felony-level penalties on a person who causes property damage or destruction or injury while participating in a protest. Anyone who chooses to make a donation to protesters may also be at risk of running afoul of Florida’s racketeering laws.

The governor’s legislation called the “Combatting Violence, Disorder, and Looting and Law Enforcement Protection Act”, contains close to a dozen amendments to Florida law. For anything from toppling landmarks to bullying a person in a restaurant and being involved in a protest that causes harm to property or injury to other people, it creates new or increased punishments.

Florida may become only the second state to pass legislation increasing criminal penalties against disruptive protesters.

election-2020-5102700_1920-300x153A well-known billionaire is in potential legal crosshairs after raising funds to assist felons in having their voting rights restored by paying their court fees, fines, and/or restitution. The billionaire’s decision came shortly after the governor of Florida was successful in having the courts uphold the decision not to allow felons to vote until these various fees are taken care of, earlier this month.

The Florida attorney general is now asking state as well as federal law enforcement to take a closer look to see whether the billionaire may have violated election laws over his actions. Should the request turn into an investigation, it could lead to a pre-election legal battle just before the election. Florida is considered a major swing state.

The billionaire has raised millions of dollars to assist felons and interestingly, he was once a former Democratic presidential candidate himself.

handcuffs-921290_1920-300x190A Miami law enforcement officer is facing potential charges after he allegedly placed a doctor in handcuffs while lacking proper cause, a violation of federal law. The doctor, a physician at the University of Miami was questioned alongside a local activist outside of his residence.

Under the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, according to case law cited by the Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP), when someone is arrested by an officer, the extent of detention needs to be explained by the facts of the case. The Fourth Amendment defends against arbitrary search and seizure of individuals. Members of the CIP expressed their concerns after watching video of the incident that the officer did not give a reason for handcuffing the doctor. The doctor was acting in a manner that could be deemed aggressive and, therefore, the actions taken by the officer were unreasonable.

In the midst of a moment of greater examination of police conduct, the footage of the encounter generated national headlines, and a Miami Police Department Internal Affairs report found the officer had broken protocols by failing to contact dispatchers at his stop as well as failing to wear a mask.

jumpstory-download20200921-183111-300x199This month, in a legal dispute that began after the 2018 mass shooting at a Parkland, Florida high school, state lawyers, and the National Rifle Association (NRA), outlined dueling claims about the constitutionality of a Florida law that prohibits weapons from being purchased by people below the age of 21.

The legal fight arose following the deaths of seventeen people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018. Then-Governor Rick Scott gave the okay on a measure banning the sale of firearms to people under the age of 21, prompting a challenge from the NRA stating that the ban is a violation of equal protection and Second Amendment rights.

According to the NRA, the prohibition breaches the right of people between the ages of 18 to 20 to possess weapons to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment, even self-defense when at home. Not only does the ban restrict the right, but it is also eliminated. It is not probable that the ban could be the least restrictive option. There is also allegedly no evidence that the Legislature evaluated whether less restrictive options were accessible.

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