Kaplan Hecker & Fink Partners Roberta “Robbie” Kaplan and John Quinn received a shout out from The American Lawyer’s Litigation Daily for their work in reaching a historic settlement agreement with the Florida State Board of Education, Florida Department of Education, and school districts that resolves a facial challenge to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law brought by more than a dozen parents, students, and teachers throughout Florida, along with non-profit organizations Equality Florida and Family Equality. A copy of the settlement agreement can be found here.

Following a series of dismissals on standing grounds, and as the case progressed toward an Eleventh Circuit appeal, Robbie and John developed an innovative settlement strategy, to leverage narrowing concessions in the State’s briefs into concrete realities that would narrow the law, prevent abusive lawsuits under it, and provide much-needed clarity to students, teachers, and parents throughout Florida. After months of negotiations with the State lawyers, the settlement agreement was finalized on Monday, March 11, 2024.

The agreement effectively nullifies the most dangerous and discriminatory impacts of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay Law,” and makes clear that the law must be applied neutrally and is no license to discriminate against or erase LGBTQ+ families. The settlement restores the ability of students, teachers, and others in Florida schools to speak and write freely about sexual orientation and gender identity in class participation and schoolwork. It also restores safeguards against bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and reinstates Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs). Critically, the settlement also requires the State Board of Education to send the agreement to every school district, and to make clear that the settlement reflects the considered position of the State of Florida on the scope and meaning of this law.

Members of the KHF legal team include Kate Doniger, Joshua Matz, and Brandon Trice.

Read more here.