News Roundup

Afternoon Briefs: Top Florida court hears case over ticket app; lawyer sentenced for involvement in prostitution

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Florida Supreme Court to decide whether ticket app poses legal risk to customers

After a yearslong dispute, the Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in the Florida Bar’s lawsuit against ticket-fighting startup TIKD. Attorneys complained to the Florida Bar that TIKD and its founder Christopher Riley were practicing law without a license after the 2016 launch of its app, which allows drivers who receive tickets to upload them, pay a fixed price, and receive information about a lawyer who can defend their tickets. Florida Circuit Judge Teresa Pooler, who was appointed to be a referee in the case, contested the claims, writing in a report that “the fact that TIKD, rather than the customer, pays the attorney does not convert TIKD’s services into the practice of law.” (Bloomberg Law)

San Diego attorney gets prison sentence for prostitution charge

San Diego attorney William David Turley was sentenced Monday to nearly four years in prison after he admitted to paying for travel and sex with a woman he met on a “sugar daddy” dating site. In his decision, Judge Anthony Battaglia of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California also ordered Turley to pay $50,000 into a trust for another minor victim. Turley, whose law license was suspended in February, pleaded guilty in October 2019 to a charge of enticing a female to engage in prostitution. A sex trafficking charge relating to an accusation involving the minor was dropped, and Turley was not required to register as a sex offender. (The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Times of San Diego, March 2 news release)

After announcing restructuring, legal startup Atrium shuts down

Legal software and law firm startup Atrium said Tuesday that it had laid off all its employees and would shut down. CEO Justin Kan also told TechCrunch that the startup would return to investors some of its $75.5 million in funding. “I’m really grateful to the customers and the team members who came along with me and our investors,” Kan said. “It’s unfortunate that this wasn’t the outcome that we wanted but we’re thankful to everyone that came with us on the journey.” Atrium, which launched in 2017, announced in January that it would lay off its legal staff in a restructuring and focus on building a professional services network that supported the founders of startups. (TechCrunch, the Silicon Valley Business Journal, Business Insider)

New law makes Virginia first southern state to prohibit conversion therapy on minors

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed a bill Monday making his state the first in the South to ban the use of conversion therapy—a controversial practice aimed at changing an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity—on minors. “This discriminatory practice has been widely discredited in studies and can have lasting effects on our youth, putting them at a greater risk of depression and suicide,” Northam said in a news release. “No one should be made to feel they are not okay the way they are—especially not a child.” Under the new law, it is illegal for licensed professionals to practice conversion therapy on youths who are younger than age 18 and also prohibits state funds from being used. (The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, March 3 news release)

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