The Brazilian AH-2 Sabre Attack Helicopter Conducts Its First Target Practice

first_imgBy Dialogo October 11, 2011 The Brazilian Armed Forces’ only attack helicopter model is conducting its first target practice at the Brigadier Velloso Proving Ground in Para. The first aircraft operated by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB), the MI-35 Hind or AH-2 Sabre according to FAB nomenclature, represents a major step forward in terms of new combat resources. A 23-mm internal gun that can be individually aimed by the movements of the gunner’s or pilot’s head complements the wide variety of rockets, missiles, and other weapons used by the Sabre. A complex array of sensors, such as FLIR (forward looking infrared), laser telemetry, and terrain-following radar, in addition to an advanced suite of defensive countermeasures, give this helicopter the status of an armed “flying tank.” Its combat record includes actions in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Angola, Libya, and dozens of other military theaters. It has become so respected a weapon that examples captured by the Americans in Iraq are used for training in ‘anti-Hind’ tactics at U.S. Special Forces bases. Acquired as part of the plan implementing the National Defense Strategy, the 12 AH-2 Sabres ordered constitute one of the most effective weapons systems based in the Amazon region. The unit that operates the model, the Poti Squadron (2nd/8th GAV), was transferred to Porto Velho, the capital of the state of Rondonia, precisely in order to introduce the Sabre in this worrisome region along the country’s northern border. The Brigadier Velloso Proving Ground was chosen for the operational training test due to its excellent support infrastructure, which offers appropriate tactical scenarios for this purpose. The helicopter has been in Cachimbo since September 28, conducting its first live-fire air-to-surface target practice.last_img read more

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Armed Forces Initiate Operation Ágata 6 Brazilian Ministry of Defense

first_imgBy Dialogo October 11, 2012 On October 9, the Brazilian Ministry of Defense initiated a new military operation to combat border crimes. A headcount of 7,500 troops – equipped with fighter planes, combat helicopters, patrol boats, and armored vehicles – was deployed to patrol the area of 4,216 kilometers along the borders with Bolivia and Peru. Operation Ágata 6 is coordinated by the Joint Staff of the Armed Forces and should last for two weeks. According to the Joint Staff, military troops will be present in four states: Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Rondonia, and Acre. The area includes regions from the city of Corumba (Mato Grosso do Sul) to Mancio Lima (Acre). Before initiating the activities, the Brazilian government, through the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, informed the Bolivian and Peruvian governments about the mobilization in the region. “We also invited the neighboring countries to send observers”, stated Defense Minister Celso Amorim, who advocates more cooperation from South America in matters of defense. Amorim stated that the sixth edition of Operation Ágata concludes the large-scale border security activities for 2012. “We must execute three new mobilizations in 2013, aiming to bring the presence of the Brazilian State to the border area,” explained the defense minister. To cover the extensive area, the operation will mobilize a significant military apparatus. In total, they are using about four F-5 fighters, six A-29 aircraft, ten helicopters, two unmanned aerial vehicles , 14 Navy speed boats, 40 Army ships, seven patrol boats, two hospital ships, in addition to tanks and armored vehicles. Approximately 7,500 troops from the Military commands of Campo Grande and the Amazon, in Manaus, are part of the operation frontline. The logistical apparatus that supports these troops creates jobs for another 10,000 men in areas such as transport, health, and food industries. Parts of the troops are dedicated to performing civic and social activities, supporting underprivileged communities. Operation Ágata 6 will also be backed by 10 ministries and 20 governmental agencies that will elevate the total personnel count to approximately 8,000 professionals. State and municipal public sectors such as Military and Civil Police, and municipal guards, were also mobilized to take part in the operation. According to the chief of the Joint Staff, General José Carlos De Nardi, the Military apparatus increases the sense of safety among the population and inhibits illicit activities that may go beyond drugs, weapons and contraband. For each edition of Operation Ágata, there is an increase in the participating organisms, which contributes to bringing robust results for the operations. In all three editions last year, for instance, the seizures included 20 trucks, 59 motorcycles, 332 kilos of marijuana, 19.5 kilos of cocaine, and eight tons of explosives. In 2012 however, during Operation Ágata 5 alone, 268 inspections were performed in vessels and in 41,301 light vehicles. Approximately 880 kilos of marijuana and cocaine were seized, besides 11,730 kilos of explosives. According to Major General Ricardo Machado, chief of the Joint Staff Joint Operations, the Military presence along the border shows the criminal organizations that the government is alert to what happens in each region.last_img read more

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Costa Rica Boosts Drug Seizures With Help From U.S. Patrol Boats

first_imgBy Dialogo November 05, 2012 SAN JOSÉ – Costa Rica seized more than 6.6 tons of narcotics in the first half of 2012, through a combination of Costa Rican and U.S. Navy patrols. Two of the year’s largest coastal marijuana seizures were the result of coordinated efforts. In July, a U.S. Navy helicopter spotted a go-fast boat carrying 91 bales of marijuana. The Costa Rican Coast Guard apprehended the vessel and detained four suspects, while the crew of the USS Elrod collected the 4,900 pounds of marijuana aboard. The second seizure occurred in September, with the crew of USS Carr recovering 4,134 pounds of marijuana. The combined street value of the recovered drugs exceeds $8 million. Cocaine also continues to be found in high numbers up and down the coasts. October saw several large cocaine busts, including a seizure of nearly a ton of cocaine in the Osa Peninsula in the southern Pacific, and an additional 119 kilograms in balloons in the Caribbean port of Limón. In another team effort in September, the U.S. Navy and Costa Rican Coast Guard captured 1,532 pounds of cocaine off the coast of Barra del Colorado on the Pacific side. Costa Rican officials captured an additional 758 kilograms of cocaine along the coast throughout the month in solo efforts, according to the Security Ministry. Help from the U.S. Navy “The Coast Guard and Navy work closely with our partner nations everyday to interdict illegal narcotics trafficking the seas,” said Robert Landolfi, Tactical Law Enforcement Team South’s commanding officer, in a prepared statement. “Joint drug busts like this show that experience working together in action.” In addition, nearly 25 percent of Costa Rica is protected land, and large portions of that land are infrequently patrolled and difficult to access — making it ideal for smuggling drugs or stopping over to refuel during transit. In one of the largest drug busts in the country this year, police recovered nearly one ton of cocaine from a mangrove in Playa Seco National Park, spurring a surge of law enforcement and investigations to the area. Following a July inspection of Manuel Antonio National Park, officials found seven docking stations used for suspected drug boats, along with evidence of encampments used by drug traffickers. These mangroves were all inaccessible by land, making it incredibly easy for traffickers to refuel or stop for the night. “They come in small boats and park on the beach,” Security Vice Minister Celso Gamboa told the press following the Playa Seco bust. “They bury the drugs for several days and then take them out for local consumption, possibly taking small loads to other countries.” Yet the government is constrained by a lack of resources to fight traffickers. Only eight officers are available to patrol all 136,000 acres of Manuel Antonio Park, leaving much of the job to park rangers trained mainly in park conservation, not battling smugglers. Drug submarines on the rise While drug smugglers are getting sneakier, they’re also getting more innovative out in the open. In the past, cartels used speedboats or fishing vessels to either outrun or trick law enforcement, but now they’re more likely to bring drugs under the water. Submarines, built in workshops throughout Central and South America at the behest of drug cartels, are becoming the new fashionable vehicle for smuggling. Most of these vessels are able to surface only briefly at night, enabling them to make the journey from South America all the way to the Central American isthmus completely underwater. The first of these vehicles ever found for drug trafficking was apprehended in Costa Rican waters in 2006 carrying three tons of cocaine, and authorities have only seen the use of these vessels increase over time. The real threat with these subs lies not only in their stealth but also in their capacity, said officials. In 2008, another submarine was apprehended carrying more than seven tons of cocaine — nearly double what the average above-water vessel is able to transport. On Oct. 30, the U.S. Navy’s guided-missile frigate USS Carr seized more than 1,700 pounds of cocaine worth just over $15 million in the eastern Pacific, according to press reports. Since June, the Norfolk-based vessel alone has seized about 3,900 pounds of cocaine and 4,100 pounds of marijuana. New law beefs up coastal enforcement Meanwhile, Costa Rica has partnered with U.S. and European forces to help patrol its coasts. Thanks to a new law passed by the Costa Rican legislature this June, 46 U.S. Navy ships will be patrolling the coast through the end of the year with permission to dock in the nation’s Pacific and Caribbean ports. “Thanks to the National Assembly’s actions, we can now quickly transfer any suspects or evidence into the Costa Rica’s legal system,” said Patrick Kulakowski, commanding officer of the USS Carr. “During our discussions, we all agreed that we must work together to successfully counter transnational organized crime.” The USS Carr is just one of the many ships currently deployed in the Caribb ean as part of Operación Martillo, or hammer in Spanish. This transnational effort, covering 42 million square miles of ocean, seeks to stop up common drug trafficking routes by patrolling both the suspected launch and landing sites of most drug shipments. Costa Rica disbanded its army in 1948, leaving its relatively small Coast Guard with the entire responsibility of protecting the nation’s waters. At the moment, it has only two helicopters, six patrol boats and 11,000 police officers. “In reality this is a global problem, the drugs that come through our coasts go on to cause problems in other countries,” Mario Zamora, Costa Rica’s minister of public security, told the press in July. “We have to respect the fact that this is not just our problem.”last_img read more

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MINUSTAH’s Chile Battalion Wins the Peacekeeper Challenge in Haiti

first_img“On a military mission, time for recreation is necessary to strengthen the comprehensive development of all military personnel.” The Chilean Armed Forces have been performing well in Haiti since 2004, the year the UN launched MINUSTAH. During the ceremony known as the Medal Parade on December 10, MINUSTAH officials recognized the Chile Battalion, the Chilean-Ecuadorian Horizontal Construction Engineering Company and the Chilean Air Force Helicopter Group for their work on the peace keeping mission. In its role of providing security as part of the MINUSTAH mission, the Chile Battalion includes Soldiers from Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Honduras, but Ecuador did not participate in this competition. The Peacekeeper Challenge promotes cooperation and a sense of camaraderie among MINUSTAH troops from different countries. It was created in 2013 by the MINUSTAH Force Commander, Brazilian Army Lieutenant General Jose Luiz Jaborandi Jr., and Deputy Force Commander, Chilean Army Brigadier General Jorge Peña Leiva. He also emphasized the hard work of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen during the time Chile has been a part of MINUSTAH, saying that “it has earned them recognition around the world”. “I’d like to point out that all the duties that we have been assigned during our presence in the mission area have been performed with the greatest commitment, efficacy, efficiency, dedication and professionalism, all virtues that characterize a Soldier,” said the Commander of the 21st Chile Battalion and Head of the National Contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Muñoz de la Fuente.. Participating in the competition also helps MINUSTAH Soldiers relieve stress. In addition to keeping the peace, troops in the mission must deal with living far from their homes in a country with a different culture and climate than what they are accustomed to. Participating in the competition also helps MINUSTAH Soldiers relieve stress. In addition to keeping the peace, troops in the mission must deal with living far from their homes in a country with a different culture and climate than what they are accustomed to. “On a military mission, time for recreation is necessary to strengthen the comprehensive development of all military personnel.” “I’d like to point out that all the duties that we have been assigned during our presence in the mission area have been performed with the greatest commitment, efficacy, efficiency, dedication and professionalism, all virtues that characterize a Soldier,” said the Commander of the 21st Chile Battalion and Head of the National Contingent, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Muñoz de la Fuente.. Promoting cooperation and camaraderie During the ceremony known as the Medal Parade on December 10, MINUSTAH officials recognized the Chile Battalion, the Chilean-Ecuadorian Horizontal Construction Engineering Company and the Chilean Air Force Helicopter Group for their work on the peace keeping mission. The team won the competition by compiling 93 points in various events testing their military skills in late November. The Peacekeeper Challenge included team and individual events – among them shooting weapons, changing tires on military vehicles, and communicating with other UN teams. “You have to understand that they are forces from different countries and the military competition is a mechanism for socialization, which helps generate knowledge and mutual understanding, very important elements for the mission’s success in general,” said Miguel Navarro, a security analyst at the of Chilean Academy of Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE). Chilean peacekeeping efforts Soldiers from Chile and other countries kept the peace and provided humanitarian aid following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people and injured another 350,000 in January 2010. By Dialogo December 19, 2014 About two weeks after it won the Peacekeeper Challenge, the Chile Battalion was recognized for its service in MINUSTAH. About two weeks after it won the Peacekeeper Challenge, the Chile Battalion was recognized for its service in MINUSTAH. Soldiers from Chile and other countries kept the peace and provided humanitarian aid following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people and injured another 350,000 in January 2010. The Chilean Armed Forces have been performing well in Haiti since 2004, the year the UN launched MINUSTAH. Chilean peacekeeping efforts With regard to the mission, he said, “It has been an extraordinary professional experience in which our challenge is always to have trained and qualified personnel because therein lies the operability of our strength.” “A decade has passed since the Chilean government made the decision to deploy Army Troops to the Republic of Haiti, an event of special historical significance because of our national commitment to global security. It was a qualitative and quantitative leap for a tradition that dates back to 1935, when the institution began participating in missions on behalf of international peace and stability,” said the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Humberto Oviedo Arriagada. With regard to the mission, he said, “It has been an extraordinary professional experience in which our challenge is always to have trained and qualified personnel because therein lies the operability of our strength.” Dear Friends,I want to highlight and thank you for disseminating this important event, whose main objective is to demonstrate the ability of MINUSTAH (UN Stablization Mission in Haiti) troops and further encourage unity among its members.I take this opportunity to make an observation. Our Chilean Battalion (CHIBAT), as well as three other teams – Bolivian Company (BOLCOY), Brazilian Battalion (BRABAT) and Guatemalan Company (GUAMPCOY) – reached the score required for a GOLD classification. However, although it wasn’t our specific objective to name a winner, the team with the highest score was the one that represented our Bolivian Company.I want to clarify that I make this observation for the sake of justice only, and nothing dulls the brightness achieved BY ALL PARTICIPANTS in an activity that required a lot of preparation, expertise, personal effort and teamwork. We all won, even those who just cheered to support their representatives in their exceptional achievements.Here, in Haiti, in our Military Component, we wave many flags, but we are only one family!I want to thank all countries that have contributed troops for their efforts in maintaining professionals in MINUSTAH that are so dedicated and geared toward the tasks they’ve accepted to accomplish. They deserve our appreciation and admiration.Warm regards,Division Lieutenant General José Luiz JABORANDY JuniorMINUSTAH Force Commander The Peacekeeper Challenge promotes cooperation and a sense of camaraderie among MINUSTAH troops from different countries. It was created in 2013 by the MINUSTAH Force Commander, Brazilian Army Lieutenant General Jose Luiz Jaborandi Jr., and Deputy Force Commander, Chilean Army Brigadier General Jorge Peña Leiva. “The moment of triumph is a moment of joy, camaraderie, and it’s an important event for the winning team, like any other competition. Those who lose are the result from the rule of fair play; here, what’s more important over who wins is to compete.” In its role of providing security as part of the MINUSTAH mission, the Chile Battalion includes Soldiers from Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Honduras, but Ecuador did not participate in this competition. “A decade has passed since the Chilean government made the decision to deploy Army Troops to the Republic of Haiti, an event of special historical significance because of our national commitment to global security. It was a qualitative and quantitative leap for a tradition that dates back to 1935, when the institution began participating in missions on behalf of international peace and stability,” said the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, General Humberto Oviedo Arriagada. Chile Brigade recognized for MINUSTAH service “You have to understand that they are forces from different countries and the military competition is a mechanism for socialization, which helps generate knowledge and mutual understanding, very important elements for the mission’s success in general,” said Miguel Navarro, a security analyst at the of Chilean Academy of Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE). The Chile Battalion, a team of Soldiers from Chile, El Salvador and Honduras, recently won the gold medal in the second Peacekeeper Challenge, a competition between troops who are serving in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Promoting cooperation and camaraderie “The moment of triumph is a moment of joy, camaraderie, and it’s an important event for the winning team, like any other competition. Those who lose are the result from the rule of fair play; here, what’s more important over who wins is to compete.” Chile Brigade recognized for MINUSTAH service The Chile Battalion, a team of Soldiers from Chile, El Salvador and Honduras, recently won the gold medal in the second Peacekeeper Challenge, a competition between troops who are serving in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). To recount and analyze the country’s contribution to the peacekeeping effort, the Chilean Army organized a seminar titled, “Ten years of the Army’s participation in Haiti: Challenges and Projections,” in November. The team won the competition by compiling 93 points in various events testing their military skills in late November. The Peacekeeper Challenge included team and individual events – among them shooting weapons, changing tires on military vehicles, and communicating with other UN teams. To recount and analyze the country’s contribution to the peacekeeping effort, the Chilean Army organized a seminar titled, “Ten years of the Army’s participation in Haiti: Challenges and Projections,” in November. He also emphasized the hard work of Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen during the time Chile has been a part of MINUSTAH, saying that “it has earned them recognition around the world”. last_img read more

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Brazilian Army Helps Bring Internet to Western Amazon

first_img“Underwater fiber optic transmission technology is already in use in the maritime environment, but the dynamic in river environments is less well known,” he said. The project, carried out April 7-8, is part of Amazônia Conectada (Connected Amazon), which seeks to bring the Internet to regions where this technology is rare or even nonexistent, installing five new information highways along the beds of the Negro, Solimões, Purus, Juruá and Madeira rivers. It will benefit 4 million people living in 52 municipalities, according to the head of the Amazônia Conectada Program and head of the of the Army Integrated Telematics Center (CITEx), Major General Decílio de Medeiros Sales. Nearly 40 percent of the cocaine and crack that comes across the border into Brazil is from Peru, according to the 2013 UNODC World Drug Report. In addition, Brazil is an important transit point for cocaine trafficking mainly to Europe and West Africa. The minimum annual cost of the violence associated with drug trafficking in Brazil is 54.2 billion reals ($17.7 million), according to the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) and the Brazilian Ministry of Justice. “The intention is to cover the entire Western Amazon region over a span of 7,800 kilometers, where more than 90% of the population lives on the banks of rivers. The Army will only use one-thousandth of the installed fiber optic transmission capacity. This small amount is enough to meet the needs of the military in the region.” The five information highways planned under the program are expected to be completed by the end of 2017. Municipalities such as São Gabriel da Cachoeira, located 852 kilometers from Manaus on the border with Colombia and Venezuela, and Benjamin Constant, bordering Peru and more than 1,600 kilometers from Manaus via river transport, will become connected to the World Wide Web. The budget for the program is approximately 1 billion Brazilian reals ($330 million). The initial infrastructure construction phase, which is underway, received a 15 million reals ($ 4.88 million) investment from the Brazilian Army, through Sisfron. The financing necessary for ongoing work is expected to come from the federal and Amazonas State governments, as well as public and private organizations interested in using the infrastructure installed by the program. After the initial phase is complete, probably by December, the program will begin its pilot project, which will cover a much greater distance of approximately 220 kilometers, passing through the Solimões River and connecting the cities of Coari and Tefé. The location was chosen because it allows for a continuation of the fiber optic infrastructure already in place between Manaus and the municipality of Coari. The five information highways planned under the program are expected to be completed by the end of 2017. Governance and sustainability model brings together various partners By Dialogo April 20, 2015 The installation of the first fiber optic cable on the bed of the Rio Negro, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, is a first step towards internet connectivity in the country’s Western Amazon. Program brings benefits for national defense and for the local population For the riverside communities, meanwhile, the arrival of broadband Internet connection will provide major benefits. With this technology, many services that now require a trip to the state capital will be able to be handled from the locality itself or from cities that are closer than Manaus. Combatting drug trafficking along the border The budget for the program is approximately 1 billion Brazilian reals ($330 million). The initial infrastructure construction phase, which is underway, received a 15 million reals ($ 4.88 million) investment from the Brazilian Army, through Sisfron. The financing necessary for ongoing work is expected to come from the federal and Amazonas State governments, as well as public and private organizations interested in using the infrastructure installed by the program. In addition, the Amazon is the only environment of its kind in the world, and each river has its own characteristics and behaves in certain ways. The Rio Negro, for example, has very dark waters and its bed has a complex relief. Therefore, the exploration and discovery phase is essential to ensuring that the infrastructure is installed in the safest and most effective manner. The infrastructure is intended to remain in place for 25 years. Initial stage studies underwater river environment for better cable installation The installation of the first fiber optic cable on the bed of the Rio Negro, in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, is a first step towards internet connectivity in the country’s Western Amazon. The project, carried out April 7-8, is part of Amazônia Conectada (Connected Amazon), which seeks to bring the Internet to regions where this technology is rare or even nonexistent, installing five new information highways along the beds of the Negro, Solimões, Purus, Juruá and Madeira rivers. It will benefit 4 million people living in 52 municipalities, according to the head of the Amazônia Conectada Program and head of the of the Army Integrated Telematics Center (CITEx), Major General Decílio de Medeiros Sales. Municipalities such as São Gabriel da Cachoeira, located 852 kilometers from Manaus on the border with Colombia and Venezuela, and Benjamin Constant, bordering Peru and more than 1,600 kilometers from Manaus via river transport, will become connected to the World Wide Web. “The intention is to cover the entire Western Amazon region over a span of 7,800 kilometers, where more than 90% of the population lives on the banks of rivers. The Army will only use one-thousandth of the installed fiber optic transmission capacity. This small amount is enough to meet the needs of the military in the region.” The telecommunications infrastructure will serve the interests both of the Brazilian Army in its efforts to monitor the border through the Integrated Border Monitoring System (Sisfron), as well as that of the Amazonas State government, which will be able to bring systems managing the state’s public policies into the state’s interior. The section where the cable was installed connects the Brazilian Army’s 4th Area Telematics Center (CTA) with its 4th Survey Division (DL). From April 8-22, in close partnership with other participating program institutions, the Military ground force has been monitoring the installed structure and the performance of the electronic transmission, and making any necessary adjustments for its optimal operation. Program brings benefits for national defense and for the local populationcenter_img After the initial phase is complete, probably by December, the program will begin its pilot project, which will cover a much greater distance of approximately 220 kilometers, passing through the Solimões River and connecting the cities of Coari and Tefé. The location was chosen because it allows for a continuation of the fiber optic infrastructure already in place between Manaus and the municipality of Coari. Governance and sustainability model brings together various partners The section where the cable was installed connects the Brazilian Army’s 4th Area Telematics Center (CTA) with its 4th Survey Division (DL). From April 8-22, in close partnership with other participating program institutions, the Military ground force has been monitoring the installed structure and the performance of the electronic transmission, and making any necessary adjustments for its optimal operation. High-speed Internet also will invigorate the economy and the tourist trade. Maj. Gen. Sales cited the example of banks, which will be able to use the Internet to better provide their services to residents of the Amazon and tourists who visit the region. The telecommunications infrastructure will serve the interests both of the Brazilian Army in its efforts to monitor the border through the Integrated Border Monitoring System (Sisfron), as well as that of the Amazonas State government, which will be able to bring systems managing the state’s public policies into the state’s interior. For the riverside communities, meanwhile, the arrival of broadband Internet connection will provide major benefits. With this technology, many services that now require a trip to the state capital will be able to be handled from the locality itself or from cities that are closer than Manaus. The program’s initial phase – which corresponds with the installation of cable along a portion of the Rio Negro between the 4th CTA and the 4th DL – is being referred to as a “technology demonstrator.” The cable spans 7.5 kilometers in the river and approximately 2.5 additional kilometers over land. Maj. Gen. Sales explained that this stage is essential because it provides an opportunity to study an appropriate solution for managing the operational infrastructure. Combatting drug trafficking along the border High-speed Internet also will invigorate the economy and the tourist trade. Maj. Gen. Sales cited the example of banks, which will be able to use the Internet to better provide their services to residents of the Amazon and tourists who visit the region. The program’s initial phase – which corresponds with the installation of cable along a portion of the Rio Negro between the 4th CTA and the 4th DL – is being referred to as a “technology demonstrator.” The cable spans 7.5 kilometers in the river and approximately 2.5 additional kilometers over land. Maj. Gen. Sales explained that this stage is essential because it provides an opportunity to study an appropriate solution for managing the operational infrastructure. “The Army is responsible for the installation of the fiber optic infrastructure in the rivers, but the provision of the services through the new technology will be handled by the agencies that operate the country’s communications system,” Maj. Gen. Sales explained. “The Army is responsible for the installation of the fiber optic infrastructure in the rivers, but the provision of the services through the new technology will be handled by the agencies that operate the country’s communications system,” Maj. Gen. Sales explained. Initial stage studies underwater river environment for better cable installation The investment of 1 billion reals ($330 million) for the Amazônia Conectada Program represents less than 2 percent of this cost, and the area benefiting from the arrival of the technology that will allow for closer monitoring of the border is located near the countries responsible for more than 80 percent of the world’s coca production (Peru and Colombia), the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said. Amazônia Conectada is an initiative of the Brazilian Army in partnership with the government of Amazonas State, the National Education and Research Network (RNP), the Amazonas Data Processing Company (PRODAM), and the Amazonas Environmental Protection Institute (IPAAM). Public and private companies are also taking part. This institutional arrangement seeks to ensure that the program has both governance and sustainability models. In addition, the Amazon is the only environment of its kind in the world, and each river has its own characteristics and behaves in certain ways. The Rio Negro, for example, has very dark waters and its bed has a complex relief. Therefore, the exploration and discovery phase is essential to ensuring that the infrastructure is installed in the safest and most effective manner. The infrastructure is intended to remain in place for 25 years. The investment of 1 billion reals ($330 million) for the Amazônia Conectada Program represents less than 2 percent of this cost, and the area benefiting from the arrival of the technology that will allow for closer monitoring of the border is located near the countries responsible for more than 80 percent of the world’s coca production (Peru and Colombia), the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said. The minimum annual cost of the violence associated with drug trafficking in Brazil is 54.2 billion reals ($17.7 million), according to the Institute for Applied Economic Research (IPEA) and the Brazilian Ministry of Justice. The arrival of the telecommunications infrastructure to the triple border shared with Colombia and Peru will also allow for greater control over the entry of illicit goods into Brazil by improving the functionality of Sisfron. That Army project, which will install sensors at points along the border and use radar and aerial vehicles to monitor the region, relies mainly on the Internet to transmit information from its equipment. The arrival of the telecommunications infrastructure to the triple border shared with Colombia and Peru will also allow for greater control over the entry of illicit goods into Brazil by improving the functionality of Sisfron. That Army project, which will install sensors at points along the border and use radar and aerial vehicles to monitor the region, relies mainly on the Internet to transmit information from its equipment. “Underwater fiber optic transmission technology is already in use in the maritime environment, but the dynamic in river environments is less well known,” he said. Amazônia Conectada is an initiative of the Brazilian Army in partnership with the government of Amazonas State, the National Education and Research Network (RNP), the Amazonas Data Processing Company (PRODAM), and the Amazonas Environmental Protection Institute (IPAAM). Public and private companies are also taking part. This institutional arrangement seeks to ensure that the program has both governance and sustainability models. Nearly 40 percent of the cocaine and crack that comes across the border into Brazil is from Peru, according to the 2013 UNODC World Drug Report. In addition, Brazil is an important transit point for cocaine trafficking mainly to Europe and West Africa. THE BRAZILIAN “FAA” IS THE SALVATION OF OUR COUNTRY!last_img read more

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Chilean Navy Supports First Chiloé 2015 Acrux Medical Operation

first_img“I am so thankful for this opportunity given to my son,” said Cristina Alvarado, whose son waited two years to have his tonsils and adenoids removed. “It is going to improve his quality of life, given that he has been sick for a very long time.” The next event is scheduled for December 4-8 on Juan Fernández Island in northern Chile, when the Naval ship Piloto Pardo is expected to participate in a stop where physicians plan on satisfying more than 1,000 appointments. Surgeries aboard the Sergeant Aldea The Chiloé 2015 Acrux Medical Operation was part of an ongoing collaboration between the Chilean Navy and the Acrux Foundation, which relies on volunteer physicians to conduct six major health-based events throughout the country annually. “We wanted to help improve access to healthcare for the local population,” Rear Admiral Guillermo Lüttges Mathieu, head of the operation and Chief Commander of the Fifth Naval Zone, said of the operation that reduced the waiting list for medical services by 40 percent. “It’s one of the areas of the country that has the greatest dearth of specialists. A large number of patients wait for consults or outpatient surgeries that local hospitals simply cannot provide.” “With this exercise, Chiloé residents were able to receive timely and quality care without having to leave the island,” Chonchi Mayor Pedro Andrade said. By Dialogo November 20, 2015 Such pride to have a branch of our armed forces whose objectives are so noble and so professional In its quest to improve the quality of life for Chiloé Island residents and improve healthcare nationwide, Chilean’s Navy and the non-profit Acrux Foundation conducted the First Chiloé 2015 Acrux Medical Operation from October 9-12 with support from the Ministry of Health. A mobile medical centercenter_img Physicians on Chiloé Island provided much of the medical care aboard the Sergeant Aldea, which has 500 square meters of floor space, 51 beds, two operating rooms, a dental clinic, two X-ray rooms, a bio-analysis lab, and a burn unit. Additional medical care was administered on the Navy patrol boat PMD-74 Surgeon Videla, which participated in this type of operation for the first time. The vessel traveled between 32 and 76 nautical miles while providing geriatric, pediatric, neurological, and gynecological care to patients on the islands of Laitec, Alao, and Mechueque that are within the Chiloé Island archipelago. Eighty-one physicians, who were supported by nurses, medical technicians and 467 sailors on the Navy’s Sergeant Aldea LSDH-91 Multipurpose Vessel, provided 5,106 medical services, including traumatology, internal medicine, surgery, cardiology, endocrinology, ophthalmology, gynecology, gastroenterology, pediatrics, geriatrics, dermatology, and neurology. “Logistical support from the Navy allowed us to reach seven Chiloé cities during this operation,” ACRUX Foundation Executive Director Roberto Levín said. “Had their support not been there, this would not have been possible.” Chiloé Island – an archipelago in southern Chile – is 1,186 kilometers from the Chilean capital of Santiago and 96 kilometers from the mainland. Since it’s most easily accessed by a ferry that operates periodically, some patients must wait two years to see a doctor. The Navy also used two Defender and two Archangel motorboats to transport patients from the most remote areas to treatment centers on land and on the ships, with a Dauphin helicopter used in case of emergencies. Additionally, the health team treated patients in hospitals in the island communities of Ancud, Castro, and Quellón, and at the Family Health Center in Chonchi. Typically, medical centers on the island refer patients requiring special care to hospitals elsewhere in Chile, such as in Puerto Montt, Osorno, or Concepción, or to medical centers in Santiago. Navy personnel supported a wide range of surgeries aboard the Sergeant Aldea, including 235 endoscopic procedures, 272 abdominal ultrasounds, 48 tonsillectomies, and 30 ophthalmological surgeries; medical personnel also provided ophthalmological and cardiological consultations. last_img read more

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Relentless: Paraguay Confronts Organized Crime

first_imgBy Geraldine Cook/Diálogo July 16, 2018 Security threats spreading through the country keep Admiral Hugo Milciades Scolari Pagliaro, commander of the Paraguayan Military Forces, on permanent alert. Crimes from the self-proclaimed Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP, in Spanish), located to the north, and illicit activities in the Tri-border area to the south, compel the Military Forces to be relentless. New combat tactics and greater support to the population, together with border patrols and international cooperation agreements, are part of Adm. Scolari’s strategies to combat criminal organizations. Adm. Scolari met with Diálogo during a visit to Asunción to discuss these issues. The officer also spoke about the importance of international collaboration and interagency work to fight threats that undermine security. Diálogo: What is the main challenge to Paraguayan security? Admiral Hugo Milciades Scolari Pagliaro, commander of the Paraguayan Military Forces: We face several challenges in this global world. The Armed Forces should always be one of the pillars of democracy and citizens’ freedom. In addition to traditional threats, the main challenges are emerging threats, such as illicit activities of armed groups linked to the drug mafia, money laundering, and human trafficking, which threatens the security, investments, and activities that drive production and employment in Paraguay. Diálogo: When you took over in August 2017 you said your main concern was fighting the self-proclaimed EPP. What new combat strategies against EPP were cemented? Adm. Scolari: We made progress in the fight against EPP. We are updating our strategic actions and improving our combat tactics and relations with the community. We carried out civil actions with the population in the north, where EPP operates, such as refurbishing roads, schools, and providing medical attention. The population has basic needs, so our presence helps us be seen as a friendly force. The situation in this area is fairly complex, because in addition to confronting EEP, we conduct anti-drug operations and actions against cattle theft. Our operations are conducted with utmost respect for human rights and with the participation of the Office of the Attorney General, so as not to have a negative influence on the population. Our actions also aim to strengthen the morale of military personnel. Among strategies, Law 1337 on Domestic Defense and Security and Law 5036 were modified, allowing for the use of the Armed Forces for internal defense, without having to declare a state of emergency, and bestowing the Joint Task Force (JTF) its own budget. In addition, a domestic defense zone (ZDI, in Spanish) was defined to assign special units, such as the Special Forces Joint Battalion, the Army Special Troops Command, the Navy Command, and the Amphibious Commando Battalion, among others. We also adopted an intelligence system based on the experiences of Colombia and Peru, which improved joint efforts with other public security institutions. Diálogo: As part of your commitment to strengthen the fight against narcotrafficking, you reaffirmed the importance of boosting JTF. What are JTF’s results in the fight against this scourge? Adm. Scolari: The institution directly responsible for the fight against narcotrafficking is the National Anti-Drug Secretariat (SENAD, in Spanish). The Armed Forces strongly support SENAD with military personnel, means, and intelligence. About 70 percent of SENAD’s personnel is military. We support their actions tactically and in the field. Although JTF strengthened in accordance with its specific mission to pacify the ZDI, this bolstered its capabilities and increased comprehensive actions where narcotrafficking operates (plantations, laboratories, transits, people involved, etc.) However, one of the challenges consists of the transformation the Armed Forces need to gain direct action by law in the fight against narcotrafficking, since we don’t currently have this legal instrument. As such, we are working to submit military law projects to the new government, such as the inclusion of the Armed Forces in the fight against narcotrafficking, without overshadowing SENAD or the National Police, and continue with joint work. A law empowering us to combat narcotrafficking head-on will strengthen SENAD. The anti-drug fight will be more effective with work coordinated by law. Diálogo: You signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Foreign Relations’ National Boundary Lines Commission (CNDL, in Spanish) to conduct joint actions to defend national sovereignty. What kind of coordinated and joint work do you conduct with the commission to protect borders? Adm. Scolari: The Military Forces collaborate with border protection to inspect boundary lines. We work with CNDL through a memorandum of understanding. CNDL has members in neighboring countries and conducts an annual geographical border tour to determine whether borders have changed. For example, they check that demarcations of the Paraná river haven’t changed—by way of erosion or flooding—which might affect its course. These inspections are very important to maintain precise borders, and an audit is essential to determine whether demarcations are respected. Diálogo: In March, Colombia and Paraguay reaffirmed their cooperation in defense matters for national security. What kind of combined operations do you conduct in the fight against crime? Adm. Scolari: Colombia supports us and especially the National Police for many years with counterterrorist training. Colombia increased its aid to our Armed Forces with intelligence experts and operations focused on the fight against EPP. The information and intelligence exchange are beneficial to our operations, as the Colombian experience is invaluable. We have Colombian police and service members working along with our police officers and military. As for cooperation, we carry out combined exercises, academic exchange, shared experiences of military operations, and common research programs, among others. Colombia’s contribution has been very valuable. Diálogo: What joint and combined cooperation efforts do the Tri-border countries (Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay) carry out to neutralize narcotrafficking and reduce organized and common criminal activities? Adm. Scolari: Our concern is transnational crime which might occur in the area, such as drug and weapons trafficking, kidnapping, and terrorism. These threats are a growing problem: at times you win, tie, or lose. And although that’s our reality, we are ready to combat them continuously and fulfill our mission. Therefore, joint and combined efforts are conducted in the Tri-border area. SENAD, the National Police, and their partners from Brazil and Argentina conduct most of the actions to neutralize narcotrafficking and reduce operations of organized and common crime. The Military Forces deployed in the Tri-border area count with established provisions with border partners to support the requirements of responsible elements. As such, controls and permanent patrols are conducted in critical areas and compulsory routes, while intelligence operations—shared with national security agencies and institutions of neighboring countries to establish prevention mechanisms or the corresponding response—are carried out. The Paraguayan Navy is acquiring speedboats and the Air Force is conducting several exercises with radar and aircraft along with their Brazilian and Argentinian counterparts. It’s important to point out that we are working on a legal framework against illegal aircraft flying within our territory that will be submitted to the government. Diálogo: What kind of combined and joint exchanges do you conduct as part of military cooperation with the United States? Adm. Scolari: The exchanges are very broad. We conduct periodic exchanges with members of the U.S. Special Operations Command South through land, air, and riverine training exercises. We receive intelligence, combat medic, sniper, and general combat courses. We also participate in multinational exercises such as PANAMAX, UNITAS, and Fuerzas Comando, which our country hosted in 2002 and 2017. Diálogo: What does Paraguay bring to the regional fight against transnational organized crime? Adm. Scolari: We have defense agreements with Brazil and Argentina and very good relations with the region in general. We have an open channel for cooperation and defense with the police and armed forces of neighboring countries concerning firearms. We have agreements for information exchange—the most effective way to combat transnational crime—with regional countries. As we get closer regionally, the fight against crime will be more effective and will help our countries grow and be safe. I believe that regional cooperation in security matters is necessary, since it’s key to defeating transregional and transnational organizations.last_img read more

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Court to review amendment to limit fees

first_img April 1, 2004 Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Regular News Court to review amendment to limit fees Court to review amendment to limit fees Contingency fees in medical malpractice cases are at issue Senior Editor A constitutional amendment that would limit attorneys’ fees in medical malpractice cases has gone to the Florida Supreme Court for review to ensure it encompasses only one issue and its ballot summary and title are accurate.The Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers is filing comments on the amendment, and the Bar’s Trial Lawyers Section is seeking permission from the Bar’s Executive Committee to file. The academy, through a political committee, also is preparing three amendments that would tighten regulation of doctors, open up medical records to patients, and mandate that doctors charge all patients the same rates for identical services.The court set a deadline of March 31 for comments, of April 20 for reply briefs, and it will hear oral arguments on June 8 on the contingency fee amendment. Under the Florida Constitution, the court is charged with reviewing proposed initiative constitutional amendments to ensure that they do not contain more than one subject, and that the ballot title and summary accurately reflect the content of the amendment.Proposed amendments are forwarded to the court by the attorney general when backers get 10 percent of more than 488,000 verified signatures they need to get on the November general election ballot.The amendment is being pushed by Citizens for a Fair Share, a political committee created by the Florida Medical Association. The amendment provides that in any medical liability case, the client must get no less than 70 percent of the first $250,000 awarded, not counting costs and expenses. Above $250,000, the client would get 90percent of any award, after costs and expenses.Plaintiff’s lawyers have said that will make it impossible for lawyers to take many medical malpractice cases and injured patients will bear the brunt of coping with their ailments.Lisette Mariner, a spokeswoman for the FMA, said the association is confident the amendment will pass Supreme Court scrutiny, and that Citizens for a Fair Share will be able to collect the necessary signatures to get on the ballot.“We wouldn’t be going through this if we didn’t think we could get the signatures,” she said. “It’s an issue that the people of Florida are looking to resolve.”Paul Jess of the AFTA said the academy is confident it can successfully challenge the amendment both on the single issue and the accuracy of the ballot title and summary grounds.“We have hired a team of lawyers who are writing, drafting our comments to the Florida Supreme Court,” Jess said. “We think that their amendment is fatally flawed and we are confident that the Florida Supreme Court will strike it down, both as violating the single subject rule and because the ballot title and summary are misleading.”Jacobs sent a letter to Attorney General Charlie Crist, before he forwarded the amendment to the court, outlining problems the section saw with the amendment.Those included that the amendment title, “Claimant’s Right to Fair Compensation,” is misleading. (The ballot title is different: “The Medical Liability Claimant’s Compensation Amendment.”) “It is an attempt to limit contingent legal fees to 30 percent of the first $250,000 and 10 percent of everything in excess of $250,000,” Jacobs wrote. “The obvious hope of the petitioners is to prevent patients from suing doctors. Note there is no limit on the fees doctors may pay for their defense.”Other problems, he said, include that the summary uses the term “injured claimant” while the text of the amendment refers only to a “claimant” and several terms in the amendment are not defined, including that only “reasonable and customary costs” would be paid.“The very nature of this proposal is at best disingenuous,” Jacobs wrote. “If adopted it would place an extraordinary burden on the courts of this state to interpret its many ambiguities. Its worst feature remains, however, the deception attempted to be put forward to the citizens of this state.”Aside from the FMA amendment, the academy is working on its three amendments, being sponsored by its political committee Floridians for Patient Protection. Jess said 175,000 signatures have been collected on each, and as soon as enough of those are verified by local supervisors of election, they will be submitted to the court.One amendment would revoke the license of any doctor who loses three malpractice judgments; the second would give patients access to confidential peer reviews and adverse incident reports (which now are immune even from subpoenas); and the third would require doctors to charge the same rate for the same services for all patients. Doctors now frequently negotiate contracts with HMOs and insurance companies to offer reduced rates to those patients covered by those plans.To get on the ballot, the amendments will need around 600,000 signatures in order to get the 488,000 valid voter signatures.“We anticipate no problem in getting that number of signatures prior to the certification deadline,” Jess said.The FMA’s Mariner said her association takes a dim view of the academy amendments. “We see it as retaliation,” she said.To get on the November general election ballot, the verified signatures must be submitted to the secretary of state by August 31.As proposed, the contingency fee amendment would create Section 26 to Article I of the constitution, which would be called, “Claimant’s right to fair compensation.” The amendment reads: “In any medical liability claim involving a contingency fee, the claimant is entitled to receive no less than 70 percent of the first $250,000.00 in all damages received by the claimant, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs, whether received by judgment, settlement, or otherwise, and regardless of the number of defendants. The claimant is entitled to 90 percent of all damages in excess of $250,000.00, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs and regardless of the number of defendants. This provision is self-executing and does not require implementing legislation.” Additional language provides the amendment becomes effective the day after it is passed by voters.The ballot title, if the amendment does get to the November election, is “The Medical Liability Claimant’s Compensation Amendment.” The summary reads, “Proposes to amend the State Constitution to provide that an injured claimant who enters into a contingency fee agreement with an attorney in a claim for medical liability is entitled to no less than 70 percent of the first $250,000.00 in all damages received by the claimant, and 90 percent of the damages in excess of $250,000.00, exclusive of reasonable and customary costs and regardless of the number of defendants. This amendment is intended to be self-executing.”In a related development, identical constitutional amendments were filed in the House and Senate. If passed by the legislature, they would automatically go to the ballot without the need for getting signatures or for the Supreme Court’s review.The House version was tentatively set to go to the Judiciary Committee on March 18, but was pulled from the agenda after three Republican members of the committee, including Chair Jeff Kottkamp, R-Coral Gables, said they opposed the measure.House Speaker Johnnie Byrd, quoted in the St. Petersburg Times, said it was unlikely the amendment would be taken up and passed in the House.As of Bar News deadline, the Senate version of the bill had not been referred to any committees.last_img read more

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Lawyer ad rules streamlined for greater clarity

first_img Lawyer ad rules streamlined for greater clarity Disciplinary fees also increased by the Supreme Court’s action Lawyer ad rules streamlined for greater clarity June 15, 2004 Regular News Lawyers who advertise have more freedom about images and pictures they can show in their ads, and attorneys who are disciplined face higher administrative costs — although not as high as The Florida Bar wanted — under rule amendments approved by the Supreme Court.The court on May 20 acted on the amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar filed by the Bar early last year. Amendment to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, case no. SC03-705.“The large number of proposals in the instant petition demonstrates that the Bar has expended a great deal of time, thought, and effort in reviewing these rules and determining where the rules needed to be clarified, reorganized, or changed,” the court said in the unanimous per curiam opinion. “We thank the Bar for its dedicated and diligent efforts in this undertaking.”The entire opinion, along with all of the approved rule amendments, can be found on the court’s Web site at www.flcourts.org. A summary of the approved rule amendments also has been posted on the sunEthics Web site, which covers Florida-related and other ethical issues, at www.sunethics.com/news_item_14.htm.“The advertising rules are very important because they expand and clarify what is permissible in advertisements, particularly television,” said Bar Counsel Tony Boggs of the rule amendments. “Most changes are to better organize and clarify the rules.”Other amendments affect the use of parol (word of mouth) evidence in discipline cases, the timing of payment of disciplinary costs and restitution, when suspended or disbarred attorneys can work for lawyers they used to supervise, and provide guidance on setting costs for clients.The advertising amendments, proposed by the Standing Committee on Advertising and the Board of Governors, represented an attempt by the Bar to streamline and simplify the regulations, making them easier for Bar members to follow. Their court approval comes as the advertising rules are again becoming a high profile issue.President-elect Kelly Overstreet Johnson has appointed a special committee to review the advertising rules. And the Florida House passed a bill this year banning advertisements that would solicit a potential client to file a lawsuit. Although not taken up in the Senate, the bill sponsor, Rep. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, has promised to reintroduce it next year and Senate leaders have said they would favor a bill restricting lawyer ads.The court-approved amendments delete, in Rules 4-7.2(b)(4) and 4-7.2(c)(1), the requirement that visual and verbal portrayals and illustrations be directly related and objectively relevant to the viewers’ need for an attorney or need for legal services.Changes to Rule 4-7.5 bring regulations on electronic ads more in to line with the restrictions on other types of ads. They allow more visual images in TV ads, and allow nonlawyer speakers, as long as they are not recognizable celebrities and are identified as nonlawyers.Another change expanded the requirement that the hiring disclosure in a print or billboard ad be at least one-quarter the size of the largest type in the ad and made it apply to all required information in the ad. That language was also moved to Rule 4-7.2(c)(11) and eliminated in Rule 4-7.3(b).Rule 4-7.11 was changed to require lawyer referral services to provide the Bar with quarterly reports of the persons authorized to act for the service, to respond within 15 days to any official Bar inquiry, and mandate that services use their actual legal or registered fictitious names in all communications with the public.On the nonadvertising rules, the court approved a change to Rule 1-7.3 on delinquency costs and restitution related to discipline cases. Currently imposed costs and restitution is due within 45 days, but nonpaying attorneys are not considered delinquent until the delinquency date of the next annual dues cycle, which can be several months.Under the amendment, nonpaying members will be considered delinquent after 45 days. Delinquent members, under the rules, cannot practice in Florida. Costs under the rule include the expense of attending the diversionary ethics school if the lawyer agreed to do that as part of a grievance complaint dismissal.The amount of grievance costs will also be higher. Since 1994, the lowest cost that could be assessed has been $750. The Bar had asked the court to impose a sliding scale, from $1,000 to $5,000 depending how far a case had proceeded through the grievance system before it was either settled or decided.The court rejected that, saying it would penalize lawyers for pursuing their legitimate rights in the process. But justices agreed that the cost was too low, noting Bar expenditures for the grievance system have increased about 80 percent since the $750 minimum was set. The court approved adding $500, bringing the minimum fee to $1,250. (Additional costs are regularly added to this minimum.)On parol evidence, the court noted it had asked the Bar in The Florida Bar v. Frederick, 756 So. 2d 29 (Fla. 2000) to address an apparent inequity. While that decision said parol evidence could be used in a grievance, the court said there was a potential problem in a fee dispute. In such a case, the client could seek restitution through the grievance process, where parol evidence would be allowed, while the lawyer would be limited to pursuing a civil action, where parol evidence is not allowed.The court rejected the Bar’s proposed language and substituted this: “Evidence other than that contained in a written attorney-client contract may not be used in proceedings conducted under the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar to vary the terms of that contract, except competent evidence other than that contained in a written fee contract may be used only if necessary to resolve issues of excessive fees or excessive costs.”The court added that language to Rule 3-7.6, Proceedings Before a Referee.The Bar recommended and the court approved changes to Rule 4-8.4(i) to add specific examples of when sex is prohibited between an attorney and client, “including but not limited to a duly authorized constituent of” a corporate or other nonperson client. The rule also provides that a lawyer is in violation if a sexual relationship with a client causes the lawyer to render incompetent services.On suspended lawyers working for former subordinates, the court approved a new subsection (c) to Rule 3-6.1 prohibiting lawyers who have been disbarred, suspended, or taken a disciplinary resignation from working for a former subordinate for three years or until the suspended attorney is reinstated. The Bar had asked for a straight three year prohibition, but the court said that would be unfair to attorneys with shorter suspensions.In Rule 4-8.6, the court declined to adopt a proposed Bar amendment to subsection (e). The change would have removed a current provision that lawyers who are the sole shareholders, proprietors, members, or partners of a business entity practicing law and who are suspended for less than 91 days do not have to sever all contacts with that entity and close it down, reopening it when the suspension is over.“We decline to adopt a rule that would impose such severe consequences on an attorney receiving a short-term suspension and that attorney’s employees,” the court said.The court also approved changes to Rule 4-1.5 which clarify that an attorney’s costs as well as fees must be reasonable, and that the lawyer should communicate those costs to the client. The rule also provides a safe harbor provision when costs are provided in writing to the client.Among other changes approved by the court:• Changing Rule 6-3.1 by adding a subsection that the Board of Legal Education and Specialization is responsible for setting policies, procedures, and appropriate fees to evaluate and accredit lawyer-certifying organizations and programs.• Creating in Subchapter 6-24 the new category of Board Certified Construction Law Lawyer.• Changing in Rule 10-4.1 the terms of circuit Unlicensed Practice of Law committee members from one year to three years and providing that members can serve a maximum of two terms. A former member may return to the committee after one year, instead of the previous three-year requirement.• Amending Rule 10-7.1 to allow a referee in a UPL case to recommend, or the respondent to agree to, restitution to victims. Rule 10-7.2 was also amended to allow indirect criminal contempt proceedings when a respondent fails to pay restitution.• Merging the grievance mediation and fee arbitration programs into Chapter 14 of the rules, to provide a common administrative process.All of the rule amendments are effective immediately.Justice Barbara Pariente, joined by Justice Raoul Cantero, wrote a concurring opinion to address the increase in the administrative fee in grievance cases and on the sex-with-clients rule.On the fee, Pariente said she agreed with raising the fee to $1,250, but would also have allowed it to rise to $2,500 in cases where the respondent appeals a referee’s recommended discipline to the court, and the court does not reduce the penalty.“Thus, the $1,250 fee would not be increased in cases in which the Bar appeals or in cases in which this court reduced the referee’s recommended discipline,” Pariente wrote.On the sex-with-clients rule, the justice noted in a concurring opinion in a 2002 case she called for a complete ban in the rule on all attorney-client sexual relationships.“Although the Bar did not propose a ban on sexual relationships between attorneys and clients, I commend the Bar for strengthening the rule,” she said. “I further request that this rule be assessed periodically to ensure that it operates to guarantee that the attorney-client relationship is not compromised in any regard as a result of an ongoing sexual relationship.”last_img read more

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July 15, 2004 Notices

first_imgJuly 15, 2004 Notices Pursuant to Rule 3-7.10, Seymour Friedman, formerly of New York, NY, and Los Angeles, CA, has petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for Bar reinstatement.Pursuant to an order of the Florida Supreme Court dated December 1, 1993, Friedman was suspended indefinitely in Florida based upon a five-year suspension of his license to practice law in New York for counseling a client to testify falsely, commingling his funds with client funds, and improper maintenance of escrow accounts. He has since been reinstated to practice in New York and California.Anyone having knowledge bearing upon Friedman’s fitness or qualifications to resume the practice of law should contact Edward Iturralde, bar counsel, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-0200, phone number (850) 561-5845.Proposed ethics advisory opinions Bar Examiner opening available Florida Board of Bar Examiners Vacancy: Lawyer applicants are being sought to fill one vacancy on the Florida Board of Bar Examiners.The Board of Governors will be selecting three nominees for one lawyer vacancy at its August 13 meeting. The nominations will then be forwarded to the Supreme Court to fill the remainder of a five-year term commencing immediately and expiring on October 31, 2008.Attorney members must have been a member of The Florida Bar for at least five years. They must be practicing lawyers with scholarly attainments and have an affirmative interest in legal education and requirements for admission to the Bar. Appointment or election to the bench at any level of the court system will disqualify any applicant. Law professors or trustees are ineligible.Board members of the Bar Examiners must be able to attend approximately 10 meetings a year in various Florida locations. Members volunteer 300 or more hours per year on board business depending on committee assignments. Actual travel expenses connected with the meetings and examinations are reimbursed.Persons interested in applying for this vacancy may download the application from the Bar’s Web site, www.flabar.org, or should contact The Florida Bar at 850/561-5600, ext. 5757, to obtain the proper application form. Applications may also be obtained by writing the Executive Director, The Florida Bar, 651 East Jefferson Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-2300. Completed applications must be received no later than the close of business Friday, July 16, 2004. Resumes will not be accepted in lieu of the required application. The Board of Governors will review all applications and may request telephone or personal interviews.Friedman petitions for reinstatement July 15, 2004 LAWS Regular Newscenter_img The Professional Ethics Committee has issued Proposed Advisory Opinions 04-1 and 04-2, reprinted in their entirety below. Pursuant to Rule 4(c) and (d) of The Florida Bar Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics, comments from Florida Bar members are solicited on the proposed opinions. The committee will consider any comments received at a meeting tentatively scheduled to be held on Friday, September 10, 2004 in conjunction with The Florida Bar’s General Meeting in Tampa. Comments must contain the proposed advisory opinion number and clearly state the issues for the committee to consider. A written argument may be included explaining why the Florida Bar member believes the committee’s opinion is either correct or incorrect and may contain citations to relevant authorities. Comments should be submitted to Elizabeth Clark Tarbert, Ethics Counsel, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300, and must be postmarked no later than August 16. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR PROPOSED ADVISORY OPINION 04-1 (June 25, 2004) A member of The Florida Bar has inquired about the appropriate course of conduct in the representation of a client who has stated his intent to commit perjury at his upcoming criminal trial. The client has repeatedly expressed the client’s intent to commit perjury and, despite the lawyer’s repeated warnings, insists upon testifying falsely. The client has been warned that the lawyer must and will advise the court if a fraud is made upon the court. The lawyer has questioned the lawyer’s ethical obligations under this scenario. This inquiry addresses the circumstances when a lawyer definitely knows that the client intends to commit perjury. This is distinct from the many other situations where the lawyer may suspect but does not know that the client intends to commit perjury. This opinion only addresses this specific inquiry.Many ethics rules relate to this inquiry. Rule 4-1.2(d), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, prohibits a lawyer from assisting a client in conduct the lawyer knows or reasonably should know is criminal or fraudulent. Rule 4-1.6, the confidentiality rule, which is very broad, applies “to all information relating to the representation, whatever its source.” Comment, Rule 4-1.6. However, there are exceptions to the confidentiality rule. Rule 4-1.6(b)(1) requires a lawyer to reveal information necessary to prevent a client from committing a crime. While interpretation of statutes is beyond the scope of an ethics opinion, it appears that it is a crime for a lawyer to permit or assist a client or other witness to testify falsely. See Florida Statutes §§ 837.02 and 777.011.The “Candor Towards the Tribunal” rule, Rule 4-3.3, provides in pertinent part: (a) False Evidence; Duty to Disclose. A lawyer shall not knowingly : (1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a tribunal; (2) fail to disclose a material fact to a tribunal when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by the client; * * * (4) permit any witness, including a criminal defendant, to offer testimony or other evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. A lawyer may not offer testimony that the lawyer knows to be false in the form of a narrative unless so ordered by the tribunal. If a lawyer has offered material evidence and thereafter comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures. (b) Extent of Lawyer’s Duties. The duties stated in paragraph (a) continue beyond the conclusion of the proceeding and apply even if compliance requires disclosure of information otherwise protected by rule 4-1.6 [concerning lawyer-client confidentiality]. [Emphasis added.]A lawyer’s obligation to make disclosures under Rule 4-3.3 is triggered when the lawyer knows that a client or a witness for the client will make material false statements to a tribunal. Under the facts presented, the lawyer knows the client will make a misrepresentation to the court because the client has repeatedly expressed his intent to commit perjury. The comment to Rule 4-3.3 provides the following guidance: If a lawyer knows that the client intends to commit perjury, the lawyer’s first duty is to attempt to persuade the client to testify truthfully. If the client still insists on committing perjury, the lawyer must threaten to disclose the client’s intent to commit perjury to the judge. If the threat of disclosure does not successfully persuade the client to testify truthfully, the lawyer must disclose the fact that the client intends to lie to the tribunal and, per 4-1.6, information sufficient to prevent the commission of the crime of perjury.A lawyer is required to reveal information that is necessary to prevent a client from committing a crime, including the crime of perjury. Rule 4-1.6(b)(1), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. The comment to Rule 4-1.6 provides: It is admittedly difficult for a lawyer to ‘know’ when the criminal intent will actually be carried out, for the client may have a change of mind. * * * Where practical the lawyer should seek to persuade the client to take suitable action. In any case, a disclosure adverse to the client’s interest should be no greater than the lawyer reasonably believes necessary to the purpose.If the lawyer knows that the client will testify falsely, withdrawal does not fulfill the lawyer’s ethical obligations, because withdrawal alone does not prevent the client from committing perjury. Rather, a lawyer must disclose to the court a client’s intention to commit perjury. This disclosure causes a conflict of interest between the lawyer’s ethical obligation to disclose and the client’s interest. Rule 4-1.7, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Due to the conflict, the lawyer must move to withdraw. Rule 4-1.16(a), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Notwithstanding good cause to withdraw, if the court requires the lawyer to continue the representation, the lawyer must comply with the court’s order. Rule 4-1.16(c), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. A lawyer may offer the client’s testimony in the narrative only if the court orders the lawyer to do so. Rule 4-3.3(a)(4), Rules Regulating The Florida Bar.In the event that the client does not give advance notice to the lawyer prior to testifying falsely, Rule 4-3.3(a)(2) and the comment require the lawyer to take reasonable remedial measures to rectify the fraud. The comment to Rule 4-3.3 states:When false evidence is offered by the client, however, a conflict may arise between the lawyer’s duty to keep the client’s revelations confidential and the duty of candor to the court. Upon ascertaining that material evidence is false, the lawyer should seek to persuade the client that the evidence should not be offered or, if it has been offered, that its false character should immediately be disclosed. If the persuasion is ineffective, the lawyer must take reasonable remedial measures. * * * If perjured testimony or false evidence has been offered, the advocate’s proper course ordinarily is to remonstrate with the client confidentially. If that fails, the advocate should seek to withdraw if that will remedy the situation….[I]f withdrawal will not remedy the situation or is impossible and the advocate determines that disclosure is the only measure that will avert a fraud on the court, the advocate should make disclosure to the court. It is for the court then to determine what should be done-making a statement about the matter to the trier of fact, ordering a mistrial, or perhaps nothing.In conclusion, when a lawyer is representing a criminal client who has stated an intention to commit perjury, the lawyer is obligated, pursuant to Rules 4-1.2(d), 4-1.6(b)(1) and 4-3.3(a)(4), to disclose the client’s intent to the court. If the lawyer is not given advance notice of the client’s intent to lie, and the client offers false testimony, then the lawyer must convince the client to agree to disclosure and remediation of the false testimony; failing that, the lawyer must disclose to the court anyway. Absent client consent, the lawyer’s disclosure of the client’s false testimony or intent to offer false testimony will create a conflict between the lawyer and the client requiring the lawyer to move to withdraw from representation pursuant to Rule 4-1.16(a). If the court requires the lawyer to remain in the case, despite good cause for withdrawal, the lawyer must do so. Rule 4-1.16(c). It is then up to the court to determine what should be done with the information. This opinion is limited to the situation presented when a lawyer knows that his or her client is going to commit perjury. This opinion does not address the situation when a lawyer merely suspects but does not know that the client intends to commit perjury. PROFESSIONAL ETHICS OF THE FLORIDA BAR PROPOSED ADVISORY OPINION 04-2 (June 25, 2004) A member of The Florida Bar has requested an advisory opinion regarding a provision that the opposing party in securities litigation wants to include in a settlement agreement. The provision at issue states: Other than discussions between the parties, their immediate families, their respective attorneys, accountants, government officials, and self-regulatory bodies such as the NASD, all parties and their attorneys and agents agree, acknowledge and consent that they shall not in any method or manner discuss, publish, or disseminate any information concerning the settlement or the terms of this Release with any other party not specifically authorized by this Release to receive such information. Further, the Claimant and their attorneys and agents agree not to include or involve the Respondent’s claims, accounts, or investments in any other claim, dispute, action, negotiation, or proceeding against Respondent, its respective present or former parties and affiliates, and each of their officers, directors, servants, agents, employees, or registered representatives, including but not limited to…..The inquiring attorney states that he often represents several clients who are pursuing the same broker-dealer. The inquiring attorney is concerned that this provision impacts his ability to effectively represent other current or future clients. Thus, the inquiring attorney asks whether he may ethically enter into an agreement containing this provision.Rule 4-5.6(b) of the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibits clauses in settlement agreements that restrict the lawyer’s right to practice. Specifically, the rule states:A lawyer shall not participate in offering or making: (b) an agreement in which a restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice is part of the settlement of a controversy between private parties.The comment regarding this portion of the rule states “[s]ubdivision (b) prohibits a lawyer from agreeing not to represent other persons in connection with settling a claim on behalf of a client.”ABA Model Rule 5.6(b) is identical to Rule 4-5.6(b). In Formal Opinion 93-371, the ABA Ethics Committee stated the three public policy provisions behind the rule: The rationale of Model Rule 5.6 is clear. First, permitting such agreements restricts the access of the public to lawyers who, by virtue of their background and experience, might be the very best available talent to represent these individuals. Second, the use of such agreements may provide clients with rewards that bear less relationship to the merits of their claims than they do to the desire of the defendant to “buy off” plaintiff’s counsel. Third, the offering of such restrictive agreements places the plaintiff’s lawyer in a situation where there is conflict between the interests of present clients and those of potential future clients. While the Model Rules generally require that the client’s interests be put first, forcing a lawyer to give up future representations may be asking too much, particularly in light of the strong countervailing policy favoring the public’s unfettered choice of counsel.The Professional Ethics Committee has not previously addressed subsection (b) of Rule 4-5.6 or its predecessor in the prior Code of Professional Responsibility, DR 2-108(B) 1. The only Florida state court case where the rule is discussed in any substance is Lee v. Florida Department of Insurance, 586 So. 2d 1185 (Fla. 1st DCA 1991). However, the issue in Lee was whether a settlement agreement that was allegedly in violation of the rule was enforceable. As to rule 4-5.6(b) the court remarked To use rule 4-5.6 as the basis for invalidating a private contractual provision is manifestly beyond the stated scope of the Rules and their intended legal effect. Until paragraph 8 of the settlement agreement has been voided, canceled, or nullified by a court of competent jurisdiction, it must be treated as valid and binding on all parties legally affected by its terms. Whether attorney Bateman acted unethically in violation of the Rules by participating in the negotiation of a settlement agreement that included the provisions in paragraph 8 and should be disciplined therefor is not the issue in this proceeding. (Emphasis added; footnote deleted) 586 So. 2d at 1188-1189.Another case discussing Florida Rule 4-5.6 and also discussing the Lee case is an unreported case from the Southern District of Florida, Adams v. Bellsouth Telecommunications, Inc., 2001 WL 34032759 (S.D. Fla. Jan. 29, 2001).In connection with the settlement of the case, lawyers for the plaintiffs entered into an agreement with Bellsouth to provide “consulting” services to the telecommunications company. The Bellsouth attorneys argued to the District Court that their conduct did not violate Rule 4-5.6(b) because it only involved a “limited” restriction on the right of the plaintiff lawyers to practice which was allowed under the Lee decision. The federal court disagreed, observing: For several reasons, this Court therefore does not believe that Lee condones the practice restriction negotiated and agreed to in this case. First, there is no evidence that the practice restriction was designed in any way or constructed in any limited fashion to prevent the disclosure of confidential information. No party has revealed to this Court any serious argument along these lines. Rather, it is clear from the record and the testimony of the lawyers that BellSouth sought a practice restriction on Plaintiffs’ counsel to prevent Plaintiffs’ counsel from bringing future similar cases against BellSouth with the same kind of terrorist tactics used against BellSouth in this case. In short, the practice restriction was a payoff to Plaintiffs’ counsel to make them go away and never come back. As I explain infra, this type of arrangement is a violation of Rule 4-5.6 for well-grounded public policy reasons. Second, the practice restriction was not written to protect the clients of Plaintiffs’ counsel but rather to protect the opposing party, BellSouth. In fact, the evidence in this case makes clear that Plaintiffs never were informed of the existence, terms, or content of the practice restriction agreement by any of the lawyers. The Lee exception is designed to safeguard a client’s confidential disclosures to her lawyer and avoid a potential violation of conflict of interest rules through a lawyer’s subsequent representation of a different client in a related case. Here, the practice agreement was constructed for the benefit of the opposing party (without the knowledge of Plaintiffs’ clients) in a manner that placed Plaintiffs’ counsel in a direct conflict of interest with their clients a scenario inconsistent with the reasoning of Lee and the spirit of the bar rules. I therefore find the Lee dicta inapposite. Further, I also believe that had BellSouth’s lawyers engaged in the appropriate level of research into the issue, it would have been clear to them (if it already was not clear on its face) that the negotiated consulting arrangement was unethical. 2001 WL 34032759 at pp. 5-6 (emphasis in original; footnotes omitted).While Florida has no ethics opinions as to Rule 4-5.6(b), other jurisdictions do have opinions as to their version of the rule. These opinions include a number of opinions dealing with settlement agreements directly restricting lawyers from bringing claims against the other party again. See, ABA Formal Opinion 93-371, North Carolina Opinion RPC 179 (1994), California Formal Opinion 1988-104; Oregon Opinion 1991-47, and Michigan Bar, Opinion CI-1165. All of these opinions found such provisions to be a violation of their respective rules.Other states have dealt with provisions that seek to impose indirect restrictions on an attorney, rather than explicitly forbidding an attorney from representing others against a certain party. For example, in Texas Opinion 505 (1995), the Texas Committee determined that a settlement provision barring an attorney from soliciting people to bring suit against the opposing party and from sharing fees with other lawyers in the future in cases against the opposing party to be a violation of its version of the rule. Similarly, the New York City bar determined that its version of the rule was violated by a settlement provision barring an attorney from encouraging others to bring claims and from assisting or cooperating with other attorneys bring claims against the opposing party. Association of the Bar of the City of New York, Opinion 1999-3.The Colorado Bar in its Opinion 92 (1993) discussed a variety of indirect restrictions that could run afoul of its rule 5.6(b), including “barring a lawyer representing a settling claimant from subpoenaing certain records or fact witnesses in future actions against the defending party, preventing the settling claimants lawyer from using a certain expert witness in future cases, and imposing forum or venue limitations in future cases brought on behalf of non-settling claimants.” The committee formulated a test to use to help determine whether a given provision in a settlement provision improperly restricted a lawyer’s right to practice. As stated by the committee, “the test of the propriety of a settlement provision under Rule 5.6(b) is whether it would restrain a lawyer’s exercise of independent judgment on behalf of other clients to an extent greater than that of an independent attorney not subject to such a limitation.”The ABA issued an opinion determining that a ban on the use of information learned from a representation violates Model Rule 5.6(b) because it effectively prevents a lawyer from representing future clients because the lawyer’s inability to use the information would create a non-waivable conflict with the future clients under Model Rule 1.7(b), but a ban on disclosure of information learned from the representation of a client does not violate Model Rule 5.6. ABA Formal Opinion 00-417 (2000). Other states have address restrictions on the use or disclosure of information that are made as part of a settlement agreement. The Tennessee Ethics Committee determined in Opinion 97-F-141 that a provision restricting both a plaintiff and the plaintiff’s attorney from assisting others by using case information violated Tennessee Rule DR 1-208(B). Additionally, the New York State Bar Association, in its Opinion 730 (2000) determined that an attorney could not agree to confidentiality provisions in a settlement agreement where the terms of the agreement were broader than the attorney’s duty of confidentiality. The committee stated: . . . terms of a settlement agreement may violate DR 2-108(B) if their practical effect is to restrict the lawyer from undertaking future representations and if they involve conditions or restrictions on the lawyer’s future practice that the lawyer’s own client would not be entitled to impose.The New Mexico Bar issued an opinion, Advisory Opinion 1985-5 dealing with certain provisions in a settlement agreement. The first was a confidentiality provision as to the amount and terms of the settlement which the New Mexico Bar stated was permissible. The second provision required the plaintiff’s attorney to give her entire case file to the defense attorney to be sealed. The third provision required the plaintiff’s attorney to agree not to represent any more cases arising out of the same situation (a prison riot). The opinion concludes that the third provision violates New Mexico Rule 2-108(B) which prohibits a lawyer from entering into an agreement restricting his right to practice law in connection with the settlement of a controversy or lawsuit. As to the second provision, the opinion notes that under New Mexico law, the case file is the property of the client 2 H owever, the committee noted the file also contained the attorney’s work product which remained the attorney’s property and to which opposing counsel normally had no access. The committee determined that by making the provision include the entire file, it necessarily included the attorney work product, and as a result was a violation of Rule 2-1.08(b) because this may inhibit her ability to represent clients in the future and would allow defense counsel to “accomplish indirectly what they cannot accomplish by directly precluding the attorney from representing other plaintiffs with similar claims.”It should also be stated that the rule prohibiting settlement agreements restricting a lawyer’s right to practice applies to both the attorney making the offer and the attorney accepting it. See e.g., ABA Formal Opinion 93-371, Michigan Opinion CI-1165, New Mexico Opinion 1985-5, Colorado Formal Opinion 92, New York State Opinion 730, North Carolina Opinion RPC 179, and California Formal Opinion 1988-104. Additionally, any residual doubt about whether the prohibition applies to both sides of an agreement is resolved by Rule 4-8.4(a) which prohibits an attorney from violating the rules through the acts of another. Therefore, an attorney who “induces” another attorney to violate an ethics rule would be guilty of violating the ethics rules as well.While the above discussed authorities from other jurisdictions are not binding on the Professional Ethics Committee they provide guidance to the Committee in interpreting Florida Rule 4-5.6 and the provision presented by the inquiring attorney. If the Committee were faced with a provision that directly stated that one of the attorneys could not represent any other clients before the opposing party, we would find such a direct restriction to be an obvious violation of Rule 4-5.6. However, that is not the sort of provision the Committee is reviewing. If the provision is prohibited by Rule 4-5.6 it would be as an indirect restriction on the inquiring attorney’s ability to practice.In making such a determination, the provision must be examined carefully. The tests formulated by other jurisdictions are useful in this analysis. Does the provision, under the test formulated by the New York State Bar Association in its Opinion 730, seek to impose restrictions or conditions on the inquiring attorney’s future practice that the inquiring attorney’s own client would not be entitled to insist upon? Further, as stated by Colorado Opinion 92, does the provision restrain the inquiring attorney’s exercise of independent judgment on behalf of his clients to an extent greater than that of an attorney not subject to the provision? Additionally, as noted in New Mexico Opinion 1985-5, does the provision allow the opposing party to indirectly accomplish what it cannot accomplish directly, namely prevent the inquiring attorney from representing other clients against it in the future? Consideration should also be given, as the court did in the Lee case to whether the clause benefits the inquiring attorney’s client or whether it benefits the opposing party instead. Another consideration that should be made is whether the provision furthers or hinders the public policy reasons Rule 4-5.6(b) seeks to protect.While these tests are worded differently, they all boil down to one essential question: how does a particular settlement provision affect an attorney’s ability to represent another client in a matter involving the same or a related opposing party? If the provision has no effect on a lawyer’s ability to represent such a client, the provision will not run afoul of Rule 4-5.6(b). On the other hand, if a provision does affect a lawyer’s ability to represent another client and that effect is a negative affect, the provision is impermissible under Rule 4-5.6.Keeping this in mind, the Committee turns now to examine in detail the provision submitted by the inquiring attorney. The first clause of the settlement provision submitted by the inquiring attorney states: Other than discussions between the parties, their immediate families, their respective attorneys, accountants, government officials, and self-regulatory bodies such as the NASD, all parties and their attorneys and agents agree, acknowledge and consent that they shall not in any method or manner discuss, publish, or disseminate any information concerning the settlement or the terms of this Release with any other party not specifically authorized by this Release to receive such information.To the extent this clause is merely a confidentiality agreement as to the terms of the settlement it does not pose an ethical problem, provide there is no legal prohibition against confidentiality of a particular settlement. 3 T he clause at issue makes only the terms of the settlement and release itself confidential. Such confidentiality clauses have typically been determined not to violate ethics rules. See e.g, New Mexico Opinion 730 and Colorado Opinion 92. Also, the provision does not prohibit the inquiring attorney from using information about the case itself. Therefore, it differs from the provisions found to be problematic in ABA Formal Opinion 00-417, Tennessee Opinion 97-F-141 and New York State Bar Association Opinion 730.The only other possible problem with the clause is the confidentiality provision as to the terms of the release itself. The Florida Supreme Court has held that agreements seeking to prevent someone from filing a bar grievance are unenforceable and unethical. See, The Florida Bar v. Fitzgerald, 541 So.2d 602 (Fla. 1989) and The Florida Bar v. Frederick, 756 So.2d 79 (Fla. 2000). However, the clause does allow information to be given to “self-regulating bodies” and The Florida Bar is a self-regulating body for attorneys. Presumably then this sentence does not impose a restriction on any of the signatories ability to file a bar grievance against any of the attorneys involved in the case. The second clause of the provision is more problematic. It states: Further, the Claimant and their attorneys and agents agree not to include or involve the Respondent’s claims, accounts, or investments in any other claim, dispute, action, negotiation, or proceeding against Respondent, its respective present or former parties and affiliates, and each of their officers, directors, servants, agents, employees, or registered representatives, including but not limited to…..It does not appear that the provision is intended to be a general release of liability as to the defendants and affiliated parties as the provision refers to “ Respondent’s claims, accounts or investments” rather than those of the Claimant. If the provision were merely to release the respondent and the other people listed from future claims by the Claimant the provision would be worded differently.Thus, the Committee must examine how this provision will affect the inquiring attorney’s ability to represent other clients. The clause would prohibit the inquiring attorney from including or involving the “Respondent’s claims, accounts or investments in any other claim, dispute, action, negotiation or proceeding” against the Respondent and the named affiliates and people. The Respondent is a brokerage so while it is unclear what its “claims” may be, it is clear that “accounts or investments” will cover almost any type of matter that could be brought against the brokerage. This would be a broader restriction on the inquiring attorney that the client would be entitled to impose under Rule 4-1.9, the conflict of interest rule regarding former clients. If the inquiring attorney could not bring claims involving the brokerage’s “claims, accounts or investments” against the brokerage and its named affiliates, the attorney’s independent professional judgment on behalf of clients who may have claims against the brokerage would be limited as the attorney would be unable to bring such claims on the clients’ behalf. It is not clear how this provision would benefit the inquiring attorney’s current client. On the other hand, it certainly would benefit the opposing party to prevent the inquiring attorney from representing others against it and its affiliates. Further, the provision hinders, rather than advances the public policy reasons behind Rule 4-5.6. In sum, the second clause of the settlement provision submitted by the inquiring attorney runs afoul of Rule 4-5.6. Accordingly, the inquiring attorney may not ethically enter into a settlement containing this clause.In summary, Rule 4-5.6(b) prohibits Florida attorneys from proposing or agreeing to a restriction on an attorney’s right to practice in connection with a settlement of a matter between private parties. The prohibition applies both to direct and indirect restrictions. In determining whether a particular provision violates the rule, the effect of the provision on the attorney’s ability to represent other clients must be examined. This determination should include consideration of whether the provision imposes restrictions on the attorney broader than the attorney’s own client would be able to insist upon, whether the provision would limit the attorney’s independent professional judgment in the representation of other clients, whether the provision allows an opposing party to indirectly achieve a restriction on the lawyer’s right to practice, whether the provision benefits the client or the opposing party and whether the provision furthers or hinders the public policy reasons Rule 4-5.6 was founded upon. This list of considerations is not intended to be all-inclusive as different circumstances may call for different considerations. Nor is it intended that the considerations listed above form a rote checklist that must be followed before a provision can be found to be ethically impermissible. This is because, fundamentally, all of the considerations listed above are different ways of asking the same basic question: what is the effect of the provision on a lawyer’s ability to represent other clients? If the provision negatively affects the lawyer’s ability to represent other clients, the provision cannot be permissible under Rule 4-5.6. Taking all of this into consideration in examining the provision before the Committee, the Committee finds that the second clause of the provision is impermissible under Rule 4-5.6(b) because it negatively affects the inquiring attorney’s ability to represent other clients. 1 D R 2-108(B) stated “[i]n connection with the settlement of a controversy or suit, a lawyer shall not enter into an agreement that restricts his right to practice law.” 2 F lorida law is different. Under Florida law the case file is considered to be the attorney’s property. See, Ethics Opinion 88-11(rec). However, due to the resolution of the issue in the New Mexico opinion, this difference in the law does not mean the reasoning of the New Mexico opinion is not relevant. 3 See, e.g.; Fla. Stat. § 69.081 (“Sunshine in Litigation Act” which prohibits judgments, agreements and contracts that have the effect of concealing a public hazard). Whether a provision outside the ethics rules prohibits a confidentiality clause in any given case, is a question of law that is beyond the scope of an advisory ethics opinion. Draft Proposed Advisory Opinion The Professional Ethics Committee will consider adopting Proposed Advisory Opinion 00-2 (Reconsideration) based on its review of existing formal committee opinions at a meeting to be held on Friday, September 10, 2004, in conjunction with The Florida Bar’s General Meeting in Tampa. A draft appears in its entirety below. Pursuant to Procedures 4(c) and (d) of The Florida Bar Procedures for Ruling on Questions of Ethics, comments from Florida Bar members are solicited on the issues presented. Comments must contain the draft proposed advisory opinion number, must clearly state the issues for the committee to consider, and may include a proposed conclusion. Comments should be submitted to Elizabeth Clark Tarbert, Ethics Counsel, The Florida Bar, 651 E. Jefferson Street, Tallahassee 32399-2300, and must be postmarked no later than August 16, 2004. DRAFT PROPOSED OPINION 00-2 (Reconsideration) The Committee has reconsidered Opinion 00-2 which discourages lawyers from being involved in settlement agreements in which an insurance company places funds directly into an account in a client’s name instead of sending the lawyer a check which is then deposited into the lawyer’s trust account.Opinion 00-2 concludes that this type of arrangement, sometimes known as a “Safe Haven Account” or “FUNDaccount,” prevents a lawyer from fulfilling his or her ethical obligations to third parties. See Rule 5-1.1 and Rule 5-1.2, Comment, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. Additionally, the Committee was concerned about “reducing available funds that otherwise would be used to assist in the administration of justice through participation in the Supreme Court approved IOTA program.”The Committee is concerned that Opinion 00-2 might be interpreted as mandating limitations on the client’s ability to direct payments of the client’s share of settlement funds into specific financial accounts or to designated third party recipients without having those funds placed first in a lawyer’s trust account. The client has wide discretion in directing the manner in which the monies owed to the client are distributed provided, however, that the client may not direct payment of funds in a manner intended to avoid the client’s legal obligation to pay the client’s lawyers or to pay debts owed to third parties. The Committee believes that the concerns expressed in Opinion 00-2 can be avoided in a settlement where the only funds going directly from the insurance company into a client’s financial account or to another recipient designated by the client are monies owed to the client and the insurance company issues a separate check to the attorney for the remaining balance, including attorney’s fees, any applicable costs, and amounts owed to third parties. The attorney would then deposit these funds into his or her attorney trust account and distribute the funds in accordance with the attorney’s ethical obligations.This agreement gives a lawyer control over that portion of settlement proceeds covering fees, costs, and amounts to which third parties may have valid legal claims. This permits the lawyer to fulfill his or her ethical duties under Rule 5-1.1 and Rule 5-1.2, Comment, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar. It also allows for the collection of interest on these funds, through placement in an IOTA account when required by Rule 5-1.1(e).In conclusion, a lawyer may participate in an arrangement where an insurance company pays only that portion of the settlement proceeds owed directly to the client into a client’s financial account or to another recipient designated by the client. As stated in Opinion 00-2, however, a lawyer should not participate in a settlement if the funds deposited into the client’s account include the attorney’s fees, costs and funds to which a third party may have a claim.Proposed board actions Pursuant to Standing Board Policy 1.60, the Board of Governors of The Florida Bar hereby publishes this notice of intent to consider or take final action at its August 13, 2004 meeting on the following items. These matters are additionally governed by Rule 1-12.1, Rules Regulating The Florida Bar, where applicable.Most amendments to the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar that are finally acted upon by the board must still be formally presented to the Supreme Court of Florida, with further notice and opportunity to be heard, before they are officially approved and become effective.To receive a full copy of the text of any of these proposed amendments call (850)561-5751 — reference any requested proposal by its title or item number and date of this publication. RULES REGULATING THE FLORIDA BAR Chapter 3 Rules of Discipline Subchapter 3-7 Procedures 1. Rule 3-7.2 Procedures Upon Criminal or Professional Misconduct; Discipline Upon Determination or Judgment of Guilt of Criminal MisconductSummary: Within subdivisions (b) and (c) extends conclusive proof provisions from felony cases to all criminal cases and requires a member of the bar who is arrested to give notice of the arrest to the executive director; also within subdivision (f), adds language stating that a petition to modify or terminate a suspension due to criminal conviction may only challenge the jurisdiction of the criminal court proceeding or the validity of the criminal proceedings due to a denial or lack of due process; amends subdivision titles accordingly. Chapter 4 Rules of Professional Conduct Subchapter 4-1 Client-Lawyer Relationship 2. Rule 4-1.8 Conflicts of Interest; Prohibited and Other Transactions; Limiting Liability for MalpracticeSummary: Within subdivision (h), prohibits lawyers from making arrangements that prospectively limit liability for malpractice, without first advising the affected person in writing of the opportunities of independent representation. Chapter 9 Legal Services Plans Subchapter 9-2 Requirements 3. Rule 9-2.2 Form and Content of Plan ApplicationSummary: Within subdivision (e), increases the prepaid legal services plan application fee from $50 to $125. 4. ABA MODEL RULESSummary: Chapters 4 and 5 of the Rules Regulating The Florida Bar revised throughout based on the final report of the Special Committee to Review the ABA Model Rules 2002. The proposed changes conform to the recommendations of the ABA Ethics 2000 Commission report. The full report including proposed changes in legislative format can be found on the Bar’s Web site (www.flabar.org) under Organization – Committees – Special Subchapter 4-1 4-1.1 4-1.2 4-1.3 4-1.4 4-1.5 4-1.6 4-1.7 4-1.8 4-1.9 4-1.10 4-1.11 4-1.12 4-1.13 4-1.14 4-1.15 4-1.16 4-1.17 4-1.18 Subchapter 4-2 4-2.1 4-2.2 4-2.3 4-2.4 Subchapter 4-3 4-3.1 4-3.2 4-3.3 4-3.4 4-3.5 4-3.6 4-3.7 4-3.8 4-3.9 Subchapter 4-4 4-4.1 4-4.2 4-4.3 4-4.4 4-5.1 4-5.2 4-5.3 4-5.4 4-5.5 4-5.6 4-5.7 Subchapter 4-6 4-6.1 4-6.2 4-6.3 4-6.4 4-6.5 Subchapter 4-7 4-7.1 4-7.2 4-7.3 4-7.4 4-7.5 4-7.6 4-7.7 4-7.8 4-7.9 4-7.10 4-7.11 Subchapter 4-8 4-8.1 4-8.2 4-8.3 4-8.4 4-8.5 4-8.6 Chapter 5 Subchapter 5-1 5-1.1 5-1.2 STANDING BOARD POLICIES Section 15.00 Lawyer Regulation Policies 5. Standing Board Policy 15.55 Deferral of Disciplinary Investigation During Civil or Criminal ProceedingsSummary: Clarifies that the chief branch discipline counsel, rather than staff counsel, may approve deferrals; clarifies that bar counsel can determine appropriate proceedings if it becomes apparent that civil authority will not address the misconduct; requires that notice of deferral be given to the designated reviewer. BOARD OF LEGAL SPECIALIZATION AND EDUCATION POLICIES 200 Series Florida Certification Plan 6. BLSE Policy 2.04 Certification Annual FeeSummary: Within subdivisions (c) and (f), adds new policy to assess $50 late fee for annual fee payments more than 45 days late and increases the annual fee and recertification file extension fees from $100, to $125. 7. BLSE Policy 2.11 Exam Preparation and AdministrationSummary: Within subdivision (e), replaces “approved” with “eligible” to describe certification candidates found to have satisfied the application criteria sufficient to sit for examination. 600 Series Florida Continuing Legal Education Education Requirements 8. BLSE Policy 6.03 Calculation and Allowance of Educational CreditSummary: Within subdivision (c), updates policy language to include reference to “mental illness awareness” component of CLER. 700 Series Basic Skills Course RequirementSummary: Re-write of BSCR policies to conform to current practice and to reflect corrections consistent with existing rules; removes duplicative rule 6-12 language; adds references to the specific rules, to eliminate the necessity for further policy revisions upon changes to any related rule; eliminates annual reporting of deferral entitlement; eliminates hearing procedures for noncompliance; adjusts delinquency reinstatement fee consistent with rule 1-3.7(b); adds reinstatement provisions consistent with rule 1-3.7(c) through (e); and, eliminates reference to the rules of procedure and burden of proof required in proceedings before BLSE. 9. Policy 7.01 Administration 10. Policy 7.02 Deferment 11. Policy 7.03 Exemption 12. Policy 7.05 Procedures on Noncompliance and Appeal 13. Policy 7.06 Reinstatement 14. Policy 7.08 Rules of Procedure and Burden of Proof BYLAWS 15. Labor & Employment Law SectionSummary: Within Article V (Terms of Officers and Executive Council Members, etc) adds requirements for those seeking the offices of chair of both the CLE Committee and CLE Subcommittee.last_img read more

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