In the News

Judge Nash Earns 99% Approval Rating in Bar Poll

Judge Chris Nash Former LeavenLaw Partner and current sitting Thirteenth Judicial Circuit County Judge, Chris Nash, recently received what is believed to be the highest overall approval rating from practicing attorneys in the Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA), both in terms of percentages and absolute overall votes.

Judge Nash was appointed to the Judicial Bench in June 2013 by Governor Rick Scott.  Due to the timing of his appointment, however, Judge Nash must seek election and is being opposed by attorney Norman Cannella, Jr.  In his campaign, Judge Nash has procured the endorsements of almost all of the major Tampa Bay organizations that weigh in on such races, including but not limited to, David Gee, Hillsborough County Sheriff and Julianne M. Holt, Public Defender of Hillsborough County, along with many Public Safety and Labor Organizations including Tampa Fire Fighters Union and West Central Florida Federation of Labor. What is perhaps most impressive, however, is the approval rating he garners from those in the profession and practicing before him.

Hillsborough County Bar Association (HCBA) Judicial Poll

See Complete Poll Results

Judge Nash garnered 426 votes of Approval, with 333 for “Highly Approve” and only 4 for “Do not approve,” the highest and lowest in each respective category of all candidates.  "I am excited to have the support and confidence of so many members of the Hillsborough County Bar," said Judge Nash when questioned about the polling results. "I hope to keep up this momentum through Election Day on August 26th." 

Judge Nash's opponent, attorney Cannella, finished 11th out of the 12 judicial candidates evaluated by the HCBA, and received more votes disapproving of his efforts than approving.  The election is August 26, 2014.  Judge Nash appreciates all Hillsborough County voters support on Election Day.  Please contribute to Judge Nash's campaign efforts at www.ChrisNashforJudge.com  

Big Business Vows Battle Against Consumer-Protection Laws

American Tort Reform AssociationOn Wednesday, April 23, 2014, the American Tort Reform Association (“ATRA”) announced a “multiyear, multistate campaign” to reform state consumer-protection laws.  However, by “reform,” the ATRA really means to scale back, water down, and weaken such laws.  

The effect on consumers could be devastating, as such “reforms” could directly impact consumers’ ability to file lawsuits over misleading food labels, defective cars, and unlawful debt collection practices.  Reform proponents, who openly represent big business and corporate interests, argue that the abuse of consumer-protection laws has actually harmed consumers by increasing product and service costs while inundating courts with frivolous claims.  On the other hand, Peter Holland, a Maryland-based consumer lawyer who is an expert on the debt buying industry, warned that the corporate lobbyists are “basically creating a race to the bottom” and stated that such “reforms” would leave consumers vulnerable to hazardous products and sleazy marketing.  

As a consumer protection firm that fights against big business and corporations every day, LeavenLaw is against any so-called “reform” that weakens consumer-protection rights.  Some of the state laws that ATRA plans to attack are the very laws that LeavenLaw use to enforce our clients’ rights.  For example, the ATRA plans to battle laws that require defendants to pay the consumer’s attorneys’ fees in the event that the consumer prevails in litigation against creditors and debt collectors.  Such fee-shifting statutes allow consumer attorneys to file lawsuits against big corporations and banks in circumstances where the consumer obviously does not have thousands of dollars to fight big business and their corporate attorneys.  If these laws are changed, including the FCCPA and FDCPA, then consumer-protection attorneys will no longer be empowered as private attorneys general to fight for the rights of ordinary consumers and citizens.  

To that end, Ian Leavengood and Aaron Swift of LeavenLaw recently served on a committee that was instrumental in thwarting efforts that would have gutted the protections of the FCCPA for Florida consumers.  Specifically, they helped shape the arguments as to why the FCCPA should not be amended to only apply to debt collectors.  Now, as a result, the amendment will not include this change, and the FCCPA will continue to proscribe abusive and harassing conduct on the part of first-party creditors.  

For more information about the ATRA’s efforts to weaken consumer-protection laws, or to learn more about LeavenLaw’s efforts to fight these so-called reforms, please visit www.leavenlaw.com or call (727) 327-3328.