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Fourth DCA Affirms Denial of Writ of Mandamus in Public Records Request; Finds No Abuse of Discretion by Municipality

The Fourth District Court of Appeal recently released a decision that provides municipalities and law enforcement with significant firepower against public records requests for information obtained in criminal investigations. In Harvard v. Village of Palm Springs, 11-1192, the issue was whether the Village of Palm Springs (the "Village") properly withheld law enforcement records, including a juvenile offense report and copy of a videotaped interview. The Fourth District sided with the Village, holding that the release was discretionary under 985.04(3) and that the investigation fell within one of the exemptions set forth in 119.071(2)(h)(1)a-c.

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Categories: LitigationGovernment AffairsLocal Government
Tags: Public RecordsGovernmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida Litigators
Author(s): John J. Quick & Brooke P. Dolara

Citrus Canker: Appellate Victory for Homeowners in Appeal Before Third DCA

WSH Founding Member Joseph H. Serota and Grossman Roth P.A. attorney Robert Gilbert recently obtained an appellate victory before the Third District Court of Appeal on behalf of Miami-Dade homeowners whose trees were destroyed by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Citrus Canker Eradication Program (“CCEP”). In Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services v. Lopez-Brignoni, et al., 10-2024, the Department appealed the lower court’s certification of the plaintiff class on the basis that 1) the plaintiffs did not have a private cause of action for additional compensation under Florida law, nor a claim for inverse condemnation, and 2) the trial court applied an improper measure of damages for the destroyed trees. The majority opinion rejected these arguments and affirmed the lower court’s order granting the homeowner’s motion for class certification.  Since 2000, the firm, through Managing Director Jamie A. Cole, has been co-lead counsel with Robert Gilbert in multiple lawsuits against the State to obtain full and just compensation for the hundreds of thousands of healthy citrus trees that were destroyed by the state of Florida as part of the CCEP.

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Categories: LitigationGovernment AffairsAppellate Law & PracticeConstitutional Law
Tags: Governmental LitigationJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesClifford A. SchulmanJoseph H. SerotaFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation LawyersFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Environmental Law AttorneysMiami Environmental Law AttorneysSouth Florida Environmental Law Attorneys South Florida LitigatorsFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Environmental LawFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

The Red Light Camera Diaries: Sarasota County Denies Due Process Challenge Brought by Driver

Last week, we reported that a Polk County judge denied a Motion to Dismiss brought by 40 ticketed drivers challenging red light camera citiations on constitutional grounds.  In that case, the court rejected the drivers' argument that issuance of citations generated by red light camera violations violated the equal protection clausen. On August 29, a County Court judge in Sarasota County denied a Motion to Dismiss brought by a defendant driver who had been issued a red light camera citation. County Court Judge Kimberly Bonnner held that the defendant failed to prove that the issuance of a citation for red light camera violations did not constitute a violation of the due process clause.

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Categories: LitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentConstitutional Law
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentRed Light CamerasRule EnforcementMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaRichard Jay WeissLaura K. WendellDavid M. WolpinFlorida ConstitutionFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale Appellate Law AttorneysMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

WSH Attorneys Recognized as BestLawyers by National Publication

Each summer, BestLawyers compiles a list of the most reputable attorneys throughout the country. This year, WSH is thrilled to announce that several of its Members and Partners have been selected for "BestLawyers 2013."

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)Environmental/SustainabilityLitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentAppellate Law & PracticeAwards & RecognitionsLand Use & Zoning (Private)
Tags: Awards & RecognitionsEdward G. GuedesStephen J. HelfmanMichael S. PopokClifford A. SchulmanJoseph H. SerotaRichard Jay WeissFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation AttorneysSouth Florida Business Dispute Litigation LawyersFort Lauderdale Appellate Law AttorneysMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Environmental Law AttorneysMiami Environmental Law AttorneysSouth Florida Environmental Law Attorneys South Florida LitigatorsFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Environmental LawFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

Florida Courts Continue to Side with Municipalities in Red Light Camera Challenges

Throughout the past year, judges in both Broward and Miami-Dade County have heard challenges to the red light camera systems on constitutional and evidentiary grounds, and have ruled in the municipalities’ favor. This summer, Polk County entertained a similar challenge from more than 40 ticketed drivers, with similar results.

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Categories: LitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentConstitutional Law
Tags: Red Light CamerasRule EnforcementJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaSamuel I. ZeskindFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

House Bill 937: Give Me a Break! (At Least a Little One on Advertising Costs)

Section 50.061, Florida Statutes regulates the amount a publisher of a newspaper can charge local governments for the publishing of any and all official public notices or legal advertisements. The cost of advertisements can vary in price from a couple hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for a comprehensive plan amendment and certain government initiated zoning ordinances. Over the last couple of years, the Florida Legislature has considered several different bills that would help to reduce the cost of publishing legal advertisements. On May 4, 2012, the Governor signed House Bill 937 (the “Bill”), which may provide some relief to local governments when publishing an advertisement that requires multiple publications.

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)Government Affairs
Tags: Chad S. FriedmanSusan L. TrevarthenFlorida LegislatureFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs Attorneys
Author(s): Chad S. Friedman

SEC Asks Congress for Greater Control Over Municipal Bond Market

The Securities and Exchange Commission("SEC") recently released a report on the municipal bond market which requests Congressional approval for authority to regulate municipal bond issuers and the required content of disclosure documents provided to investors. Under current law, municipal issuers are required to comply with the broad antifraud provisions of federal and state securities laws, but are not directly regulated by the SEC. The SEC currently has authority to regulate broker-dealers and municipal securities dealers, which has an indirect impact on the municipal marketplace. The requested authority would provide the SEC, for the first time, with direct authority over municipal bond issuers.

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Categories: Government AffairsLocal GovernmentFederal Law
Tags: Jeffrey DeCarloFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Private Transactions AttorneysSouth Florida Private Transactions LawyersFort Lauderdale Private Transactions AttorneysMiami Private Transactions AttorneysSouth Florida Public Transactions LawFort Lauderdale Public Transactions LawMiami Public Transactions Law Public FinanceSecurities and Exchange CommissionMunicipal Bonds
Author(s): Jeffrey DeCarlo

Fourth DCA Holds State Traffic Statute Does Not Violate Equal Protection Clause, Red Light Camera Violators Not Similary Situated

On July 25, the Fourth District Court of Appeal handed down a decision holding that section 316.075 of the Florida Statutes, which governs traffic control signal devices, is constitutional and does not violate the Equal Protection Clause of either the United States or Florida Constitutions. The Fourth District reversed the trial court’s decision, which had found that the statute violated the Equal Protection Clause on the basis that the law unlawfully differentiated between individuals who were observed running red lights by law enforcement officers, and individuals caught running red lights by red light cameras. Under the Florida Statutes, red light violations that are observed by law enforcement officers are punishable by fines and points assessed against the driver’s license. However, red light violations that are captured via a red-light camera are cited and fined, but no points are assessed.

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Categories: LitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentFederal LawConstitutional Law
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Edward G. Guedes

Eleventh Circuit Upholds County's Nude Dancing Ban, Despite Strip Club's Unsavory Allegations Against Lower Court Judge

The Eleventh Circuit recently upheld a Spaulding County, Georgia ordinance banning nude dancing in places where alcohol is sold. In holding for the County, the Court also upheld the Order of Summary Judgment by the District Court Jack Camp, a judge who was all-too familiar with the subject matter of after-hours entertainment.

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)LitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentFederal LawFederal Courts
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokSusan L. TrevarthenFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale Appellate Law AttorneysMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsEleventh Circuit Court of AppealsFlorida Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

Former Broward Teachers’ Union President Arrested for Numerous Offenses Against Union

On Tuesday, former Broward Teachers’ Union (“BTU”) President Pat Santeramo surrendered to authorities after he was charged with racketeering, grand theft, campaign contribution violations and money laundering. The arrest warrant alleges that Mr. Santeramo charged union credit cards for personal expenses, fraudulently obtained compensation for sick and vacation leave that he was not entitled to, and orchestrated an illegal campaign contribution scheme under which BTU members would be reimbursed with union funds after writing checks to political candidates. Mr. Santeramo is also charged with receiving numerous kickbacks from South Florida vendors while billing the union for the incurred expenses.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentCriminal Law
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersMunicipal GovernmentEthicsSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanAlan L. GabrielBrett J. SchneiderRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort Lauderdale Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale Labor Law AttorneysMiami Labor Law AttorneysSouth Florida Labor Law AttorneysFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Labor LawyersFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneySouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Michael S. Popok & Brooke P. Dolara