Florida Trend Exclusive
Florida law: For the defense
The state's lawsuit vs. opioid manufacturers is anything but a slam dunk. One reason - Amy Furness, who's defending the maker of Percocet. For more than two decades, Furness has defended companies against wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits, often taking on complex cases with lots of money and reputations at stake. Her clients have included manufacturers of cigarettes, diet pills, surgical implants and — most recently — prescription opioids. [Source: Florida Trend]
Tropical system headed for the Gulf is looking stronger than expected
A low-pressure system from Georgia is looking certain to strengthen into a tropical storm by the end of the week, according to the National Hurricane Center. The disturbance is moving toward the south and should be over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday. If the weather system reaches tropical storm strength, it would be named Barry. There isn’t yet enough information to forecast an accurate track, however. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
How a sleepy Florida town became the horse riding capital of the world
From mid-December to late April, around 2,500 riders and 7,500 horses descend on Wellington to make the Winter Equestrian Festival the headquarters of the horse set. Some of the world’s wealthiest families congregate here for five or so months before dispersing to less concentrated events around the US and in Europe, where riding and jumping competitions are more popular and televised. [Source: Robb Report]
‘Serious disruption:’ SunPass breakdowns leave Florida airports fed up, new records show
Ever since New Jersey-based Conduent took over Florida’s tolling system last year, motorists around the state have complained of overbilling and long customer service wait times. State transportation officials say it has mostly been fixed. But problems at Florida airports indicate otherwise. Malfunctions and server outages still cause backups in parking garages. Customers are sometimes charged double or more. One Florida airport acknowledged losing money and Orlando’s airport said it is owed $1 million. The problems were so bad that Tampa International Airport recently considered shutting down SunPass lanes indefinitely. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]
Florida, the Sunshine State, Is Slow to Adopt Rooftop Solar Power
Florida calls itself the Sunshine State. But when it comes to the use of solar power, it trails 19 states, including not-so-sunny Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Maryland. Solar experts and environmentalists blame the state’s utilities. [Source: New Yorks Times]
ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:
› Nickel Ride suspends services across Southwest Florida [WBBH]
A free ride share service across Southwest Florida has suspended service to all of its locations. The Nickel Ride is going on an indefinite hiatus to revolutionize their business model, according to the CEO Judah Longgrear. Longgrear said he had to lay off more than a dozen drivers but hopes the business will make a comeback.
› JM Family expands from cars to home services [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
Deerfield Beach-based JM Family Enterprises on Monday announced a new turn for the 50-year-old automobile service company — the purchase of a home services company. JM Family, one of South Florida’s largest employers and parent to JM Lexus dealership and Southeast Toyota Distributors, has acquired Home Franchise Concepts.
› Fire breaks out at SpaceX’s Cocoa facility, causing up to $100,000 in damage [Orlando Sentinel]
A small fire broke out Monday at the SpaceX facility in Cocoa where the company is building a prototype of its Starship spacecraft. At about 12:19 p.m., the Cocoa Fire Department received reports of a fire inside a large rectangular storage container on the facility.
› Metaphysical commerce comes of age in Sarasota [Sarasota Herald-Tribune]
Like those cooler undercurrents you can feel as you wade offshore into the Gulf of Mexico from any Sarasota beach, there’s always been a quiet substratum of the local population that moves on a slightly different wavelength — seeing signs and portents that might escape the notice of the rest of us. While most new residents come for the warmth and the water, these people are definitely here for the vibes.
Go to page 2 for more stories ...
› No new jail in Jacksonville’s construction plans [Florida Times-Union]
Construction of two new fire stations, building improvements for the Florida Theatre, a second payment toward upgrades at UF Health Jacksonville, and money to create a plan for countering the “generational” impact of sea-level rise are among the spending items in a draft capital improvement program for Jacksonville. Here’s what’s not in the draft plan: construction of a new jail.
› Developer must decide about rebuilding after Plantation explosion [South Florida Sun-Sentinel]
The task of rebuilding the site of an explosion in Plantation will likely fall to shopping center operator EDENS of South Carolina, the landlord for a diversity of tenants including LA Fitness, Publix, a stock brokerage and a variety of restaurants. A national firm founded in South Carolina in the 1930′s, EDENS operates more than 120 retail centers nationwide and maintains regional headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, Washington, D.C. and Columbia, SC, according to its website.
› Disney Star Wars: 1,700 employees hired for new attraction [Orlando Sentinel]
The next few weeks are all about movie binge-watching for one of the 1,700 new hires at Disney World’s Galaxy’s Edge. If she’s got to explain what the heck Endorian Tip-Yip is on the menu, Jazmyn Matthews figured she should brush up on her Star Wars trivia.
› Interior designer relocates to Florida from NYC [Business Observer]
After 15 years of being based in New York City, Interior designer and industry blogger Sarah Baynes has relocated her business to Sarasota. The firm, Sarah Baynes Interiors, specializes in residential and commercial interiors, according to a statement. It focuses on creating environments with a fresh, sophisticated perspective, the release adds.