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Federal Court Holds Condo Association Went Beyond Reasonable Inquiry into Owner's Disability

A Florida federal court recently held against a condominium association for violating federal and State law when it refused to grant an accommodation for an owner with an emotional support animal. The Association is a condominium association located in Altamonte Springs, Florida. The Association rules and regulations limit all pets to a maximum weight of 25 pounds. Owner Bhogaita acquired a dog weighing more than 25 pounds. The Association sent Bhogaita a notice demanding that Bhogaita remove the dog. Bhogaita responded by sending a note from his doctor, which stated that Bhogaita suffered from chronic anxiety brought on by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that the doctor had prescribed an emotional support animal to help Bhogaita cope with his anxiety. The Association subsequently sent written requests for additional information pertaining to Bhogaita’s mental impairment and treatment he had received, and demanded that the dog be removed. Bhogaita sued the Association, claiming it violated the Fair Housing Act and corresponding State law by denying his requested accommodation.

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Categories: LitigationCondominium AssociationsHomeowners' Associations
Tags: Condos and HOAsJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesJoshua D. KrutMichael S. PopokFort Lauderdale Condominium Association AttorneysMiami Condominium Association AttorneysSouth Florida Condominium Association AttorneysFort Lauderdale Homeowners' Association AttorneysMiami Homeowners' Association AttorneysSouth Florida Homeowners' Association AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Community Association LawFlorida Condo Association LawFlorida Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney

Fourth DCA Takes Firm Stance Against Party Seeking Appellate Attorneys' Fees

On December 19, the Fourth District Court of Appeal (the “Court”) determined that a request for attorneys’ fees in an original appellate proceeding must be included in a party’s petition, response or reply, or it will be considered untimely.

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Categories: LitigationAppellate Law & Practice
Tags: Jamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaLaura K. WendellFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale Appellate Law AttorneysMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Commercial Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Edward G. Guedes

Florida Supreme Court Holds State Noise Law Unconstitutional

In an opinion issued on Thursday, December 13, 2012, the Florida Supreme Court declared Section 316.3045, Florida Statutes (2007), to be invalid. The law prohibits motorist from playing music or amplified sound at a volume that is “plainly audible” to someone 25 feet away.

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Categories: LitigationLocal GovernmentConstitutional Law
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentFlorida Supreme CourtMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaRichard Jay WeissLaura K. WendellJames E. WhiteDavid M. WolpinFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysSouth Florida Municipal AttorneysFort 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 AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): James E. White

WSH Member Michael S. Popok Addresses La Ley Lawsuit with Miami Herald

For more than seven months, the City of Homestead has been defending itself in a lawsuit brought by La Ley Sports, the operator of the Homestead baseball stadium over La Ley’s $162,000.00 delinquency to the city for unpaid insurance and utility bills. Since La Ley began operating the stadium in 2011, the arrearage has crept up. In October, a circuit court judge dismissed the lawsuit and gave the operator an opportunity to re-file the complaint. After La Ley filed its amended complaint, the City asked a judge to dismiss the case. The Miami Herald recently contacted WSH Member and Partner-in-Charge of the Miami office, Michael S. Popok, for his thoughts on the lawsuit. Michael stated that the City’s position is that the operator owes the City of Homestead approximately $100,000.00.

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Categories: Litigation
Tags: Jamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph 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 LawyersMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

WSH Achieves Dismissal of High-Profile Case for City of Homestead

Last week, WSH Founding Member Joseph H. Serota and Partner Matthew H. Mandel achieved a significant victory for the City of Homestead in a high-profile case brought by a former city employee. Circuit Court Judge Jorge E. Cueto dismissed former city administrator Johanna Faddis’ lawsuit against the city and its elected officials finding that Faddis lied under oath multiple times and thereby forfeited her right to seek relief from the court.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationTorts
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersGovernmental LitigationSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Matthew H. Mandel & Brooke P. Dolara

Public Employees Alleging Sovereign Immunity Do Not Have To Wait for Lawsuits to Be Resolved to Appeal Non-Final Orders

On November 15, the Florida Supreme Court (the “Court”) unanimously ruled in Keck v. Eminisor, 2012 WL 5516053 (Fla. Nov. 15, 2012) that public employees do not have to wait until lawsuits are resolved to appeal non-final orders denying summary judgment based on claims of sovereign immunity.

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Categories: LitigationAppellate Law & PracticeTorts
Tags: Public EmployeesPublic EmployersGovernmental LitigationSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaLaura K. WendellMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale Appellate Law AttorneysMiami Appellate Law AttorneysSouth Florida Appellate Law AttorneysFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

WSH Obtains Appellate Victory For Town of Manalapan

On November 14, the Fourth District Court of Appeal issued a per curiam affirmance of the trial victory obtained by WSH Partner Daniel L. Abbott in a long-lasting battle between a homeowner and the Town of Manalapan over a zoning issue.

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)LitigationLocal Government
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentRule EnforcementDaniel L. AbbottMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaSusan L. TrevarthenRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation Attorneys
Author(s): Daniel L. Abbott

The Red Light Camera Diaries: Florida Supreme Court to Determine Whether Programs Preempted by State Law

The Florida Supreme Court will hear cases from the Third and Fifth District Court of Appeal to determine the legality of red light camera ordinances in Aventura and Orlando. The Third and Fifth Districts issued conflicting opinions on whether the red light cameras circumvented Florida’s Uniform Traffic Control Law. In Aventura v. Masone, the Third District ruled that the City of Aventura’s red-light camera program was a valid and enforceable program that was not preempted by state law. Specifically, the Court found that Aventura properly invoked its broad home rule and police powers to regulate red light camera violations on its own roads through the use of red light camera powers, and to issue citations and collect fines under its code enforcement powers. The Court further found that Chapter 316 did not expressly preempt the City’s police powers in this area of traffic regulation. In City of Orlando v. Udowychenko, the Fifth District held that the city’s red light camera ordinance expressly and impliedly conflicted with state law because it enforced conduct specifically prescribed by state law.

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Categories: LitigationConstitutional Law
Tags: Red Light CamerasRule EnforcementFlorida Supreme CourtJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaFlorida LegislatureMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Commercial Litigation LawyerSouth Florida Commercial Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Commercial Litigation LawyerFort 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 AttorneysFort Lauderdale Environmental Law AttorneysSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Commercial Litigation LawyerFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney

District Court Judge Green-Lights Whistleblower Suit Brought Under Dodd-Frank Act

On September 26, a federal district court denied a Motion to Dismiss in a whistleblower case under the Dodd-Frank Act Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (the “Dodd-Frank Act”), holding that the plaintiff could establish a prima facie violation of the Dodd-Frank Act based on the allegations contained in the complaint. The decision in Kramer v. Trans-Lux Corp., 3v11cv1424 (SRU) is significant because the Dodd-Frank Act, which was signed into federal law in 2010, provides greater protection against whistleblower retaliation than past legislation aimed at financial reform.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigation
Tags: Jamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaFort Lauderdale Business Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Business Litigation LawyersMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Employment Law AttorneysMiami Employment Law AttorneysSouth Florida Employment Law AttorneysProtected ActivityFlorida Employment AttorneysFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

The Right of Private Individuals to Video and Photograph Public Employees

In the era of ubiquitous cell phone cameras and social media usage, public employees need to be mindful of the law as it pertains to the rights of citizens to monitor public employees at work. Private individuals have a right to record public employees, including police officers, in the public discharge of their duties. The First Amendment provides private individuals a constitutionally protected right to photograph or video record public employees. This right, however, is not completely unqualified and may be subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions. In Gilk v. Cunniffe, 655 F.3d 78, (1st Cir. 2011), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit addressed the issue of whether there exists a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties in public. The First Circuit answered this question in the affirmative, holding, “Basic First Amendment principles, along with case law from this and other circuits, unambiguously establish that private individuals possess a constitutionally protected right to videotape police carrying out their duties.” Id. at 82. Recording governmental officers engaged in public duties is a form of speech through which private individuals may gather and disseminate information of public concern, including the conduct of law enforcement officers. Id. In Gilk, arrestee Simon Gilk was arrested for using his cell phone’s digital video camera to film several police officers arresting a young man on the Boston Common. The Charges against Gilk, which included violations of Massachusetts’s wiretap statute, were subsequently judged baseless and dismissed. Gilk then brought suit under §1983, claiming that his arrest for filming police officers arresting a young man constituted a violation of his rights under the First and Fourth Amendments. The First Circuit held that the officers were not entitled to qualified immunity on the First and Fourth Amendment claims and Gilk was awarded $170,000.

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Categories: LitigationConstitutional Law
Tags: Public EmployeesGovernmental LitigationSara E. AulisioJamie A. ColeEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsFort Lauderdale Constitutional Law AttorneysMiami Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida Constitutional Law AttorneysSouth Florida LitigatorsProtected ActivityFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Sara E. Aulisio