We are glad that Mr. Jones and his family finally get a ruling after eight months of Marley being held by Animal Control. We are pleased that Judge Welch agreed with our position that Marley should not be put down, but are disappointed with the decision to declare him dangerous. That designation creates signifigant obstacles to bringing Marley home. We will be evaluating the ruling and options in the coming days with the family.
Thank you to everyone that supported Marley and his family in this fight, but the fight is not over. #MarleyLives
Jason T. Johnson, Esq.
Don A. Dennis, Esq.
Ford Motor Company is recalling almost 400,000 Ford Ranger pickup trucks due to problems with the vehicles' Takata Corp.-made airbags. The recall comes after a death in South Carolina last month was linked to the airbags, which are already blamed for more than 100 injuries and at least 10 fatalities.
Ford will be recalling Rangers from 2004-06. You can see if your vehicle is among those being recalled by going to www.ford.com and clicking on safety recalls at the bottom of the page and entering your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). For more (here)
The real battle in the Toyota/Toy Yoda case.
Long before FOX News came to Panama City to report on Spring Break, the world's most beautiful beaches were making news and national headlines with cases like the Toy Yoda case. Jay Leno even had a comment on it in his opening monologue on the Tonight Show. The case made the USA Today and the BBC news.
The plaintiff, Jodee Berry, a waitress, filed suit against her former employer, Hooters, claiming that they fraudulently mislead the servers into believing they were participating in a contest where the grand prize was a Toyota Vehicle. For the full story click (here)
Key Supreme Court Decision on Prayer
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that a town in upstate New York did not violate the Constitution by leading off its public meetings with a prayer. The meetings featured a “chaplain of the month” who would start the city’s meeting with a prayer or invocation. This is similar to how many municipalities in Bay County start their meetings. Agenda meetings for the City of Panama City, Panama City Beach, Lynn Haven and Callaway all show an invocation or prayer to start meetings. This ruling lets those cities know that such practices do not run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, provided some guidelines are met.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 majority, said the prayers were merely ceremonial. “Ceremonial prayer,” he wrote, “is but a recognition that, since this nation was founded and until the present day, many Americans deem that their own existence must be understood by precepts far beyond that authority of government to alter or define.”
Greece v. Galloway
The case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, began in 2007, in the town of nearly 100,000 people outside Rochester, New York. Susan Galloway and Linda Stephens, a Jew and an atheist, took the city to federal court and won by contending that its prayers aligned the town with one religion and violated the Establishment Clause. At the core of their argument was the assertion that the prayers were sectarian in nature and violated earlier case law with regards to what type of prayers are acceptable for a legislative body.
Over thirty years ago in Marsh v. Chambers, the Supreme Court upheld the Nebraska Legislature's funding of a chaplain who delivered daily prayers. That decision ruled that such prayers were "part of the fabric of our society." The decision prohibited only those prayers that take sides by advancing or disparaging a particular religion.
Importance of the Ruling
The reason this most recent case is important is that it clarifies that sectarian prayers do not run afoul of the Marsh decision. Part of the argument being made by those bringing the suit against the town was that the prayers were almost all Christian and had specific references to Jesus Christ and the Resurrection. The argument being that such sectarian prayers were disparaging and favored one religion over another. The majority disagreed.
The majority (Justice Kennedy, Chief Justice Roberts, and Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito) ruled that prayers before legislative bodies are permissible even when they refer to theological ideas and specific doctrines. The minority seem to prefer and require a more non-sectarian requirement for prayer.
This does not mean that government bodies do not have any guidelines or that all types of prayers are permissible. The majority stressed the lack of discriminatory purpose behind the practice, along with the town’s inclusionary practices. The town invited non-Christian prayer givers and did not preclude anyone from giving an invocation. To what degree and extent a body has to include other faiths was not addressed. But an attempt to reach out to a diverse group of faiths is clearly favored by the decision.
What this Means in the Panhandle
For municipalities in the panhandle this decision means that they can continue the tradition of starting off their meetings with a prayer or invocation. To the extent there was a concern that a given speaker must limit or restrain the prayer this decision removes those worries. A city can still ask prayer givers to be respectful of other religious views and take a nonsectarian approach, but failing to do so does not violate the law. The municipalities would be wise to ask a variety of speakers from various faiths to give an invocation, as such practices evidence the lack of discriminatory purpose and make for a more inclusive environment.
If you would like more information on this case or to discuss its impact Mr. Don Dennis can be reached at (850) 763-3999 or via email at
firstname.lastname@example.org; Mr. Dennis is a partner with Jones Gaglio & Dennis, P.A., 901 Grace Ave., Panama City, Florida 32401
Changes Mean Motorists Have Shorter Time to Seek Treatment for Inuries
As the Panhandle and the rest of the South are in the midst of the “Snowpocalypse” please take extra care and precaution on the roadways. While the snow and sleet may have made their way through the area there are still very dangerous conditions on the roadways and they will remain that way for a few days. These conditions might mean fun snow days for children but it can mean treacherous roads and accidents for those that take to the roads.
When driving down highway 98 along the beach the last thing you would think you would have to worry about is ice patches but that is exactly what many unexpecting motorists are encountering. Take extra precaution between large buildings such as condominiums or on bridges. The sections of the road next to those buildings can have “black ice” and have already caused a few accidents.
The simplest trip to the store can turn into an accident in such cold weather conditions. Remember to deal with these fender-benders calmly and responsibly. It is important to exchange insurance information, checking for injuries, and recording damage to both cars. Use your smartphone camera to help document the incident. If you get into a high-speed collision, remember that you can still be held at fault for driving at the posted speed limit when icy road conditions are present.
Also, while you may not immediately feel injured or hurt it is important to seek medical treatment if you exhibit any signs of an injury. Florida is a no-fault state and requires all drivers to carry the basic PIP insurance with limits of $10,000.00
Recent changes to Florida’s insurance laws relating to motor vehicles makes this especially important. As part of the changes, individuals injured in car accidents will have only 14 days to seek initial treatment as opposed to the previous policy that placed no time limit on treatments. If treatment is sought after two weeks, nothing will be reimbursed by the insurance company. Due to this change, it is absolutely critical for those injured in auto accidents to seek medical treatment immediately.
If you have any questions about your rights feel free to contact our office at 850-763-3999. We are located at 901 Grace Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32401. Don A. Dennis, Esq. Mr. Dennis can be reached at email@example.com
Homeowner association managers squabble with Florida Bar over duties
In Bay County, and all along the Emerald Coast, a pending decision by the Florida Supreme Court could have a profound impact on the area. Almost all of the condominiums and communities that dot the North Florida coastline employ community association managers, or CAMs. They routinely prepare budgets, hire contractors and often prepare contracts and other legal papers. The Florida Bar, the entity that oversees and regulates lawyers and the legal profession, has determined that some of those activities constitute the practice of law and can only be performed by a licensed attorney.
Representatives of various homeowner and condominium associations are fighting this interpretation. If the Bar's interpretation is upheld then associations will have to employ attorneys to conduct those specific activities that are considered the practice of law. For larger associations this might not be a big deal, as most already employ an attorney. However, for smaller associations, that rely more heavily on their CAM, this could be an additional expense.
For the full story:
Nancy Jones Gaglio
Attorney at Law
A practicing attorney for 26 years, with what others might consider a disability, Nancy Jones Gaglio proves again and again that you can’t stop this good and influential woman.
Her practice includes bankruptcy, family law, real estate, probate and guardianship, personal injury, and criminal law. She says she particularly enjoys criminal law, “protecting people’s rights.” She’s taught Family Law and Wills, Trusts, and Probate at the local community college, and she holds Mediation Certification in Dependency Law.
Nancy’s a member of the Bay County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the Florida Justice Association. Although she served as president of the local Exchange Club and has been on the boards of a variety of programs, her volunteer work now focuses on BASIC, the local organization that serves those at risk of contracting HIV and AIDS and those dealing with the virus.
Her work with BASIC began in the early ‘90s and continues to the president. She’s served two separate terms as its president. Her commitment to BASIC came as a result of her brother, who died of AIDS. “I believe it’s such a wonderful organization that does so much good for our community. It’s such a horrible illness, so dreaded, a topic that’s it’s not nice to discuss, because of the stigma. But I loved my brother and was very proud of him.”
Because you may see her on her Segway—a green machine with a two-wheeled self-propelled platform— travelling to the Courthouse, don’t even imagine she has a disability. “I’ve never considered myself to have a disability,” she notes. “And only in the last three years have I had any pain.” Nancy was shot by a .22 bullet when she was 12, and bone fragments entered her spinal cord. However, she suspects her pain in the last few years might have come from a snow skiing injury or from age. She says her Segway is fun to ride. “Period.” .
Nancy’s never considered herself a role model for people with disabilities, although that’s what some may think when they see her on her Segway. In addition to snow skiing, she swims, has windsurfed, gone scuba diving, uses a wave runner, and enjoys biking. Because she has gait difficulties from time to time as a result of being shot, she does intensive gait training.
And she loves music. “It a huge part of my life,” she says. And although she plays the guitar, what she truly loves is voice accompaniment, for any type of music. Nancy Jones Gaglio lives a balanced life, working with her husband Frank to help others through her practice, playing water sports, and making music.
This article was written by Carol Lapensohn and appeared in the July-August 2011 edition of Panama City Living (www.panamacityliving.com)