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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

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

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

WSH Partner Ed Guedes Wins Appeal Before Third District Court of Appeal for Miami-Dade School Board

WSH was recently retained by the Miami-Dade School Board to take the lead in a difficult, ongoing appeal before the Third District Court of Appeal of a decision by the State Board of Education. The ruling had overturned the School Board’s politically sensitive decision to terminate the charter of an existing charter school, which the School Board had determined was performing poorly and jeopardizing the students’ education. After the School Board’s decision to revoke the charter, the school appealed the decision to the State Board of Education in Tallahassee. Despite a recommendation from the Charter School Appeal Commission favorable to the School Board, the State Board of Education rejected the recommendation and upheld the school’s appeal, directing the School Board to reinstate the school’s charter.

The School Board appealed the decision to the Third District Court of Appeal, and WSH, led by Appellate Practice Group Chair Edward G. Guedes, stepped in to complete the briefing for the School Board and handle the oral argument. In The School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida v. Rise Academy of South Dade Charter School, The Third District reversed the State Board’s decision, finding that the decision was erroneous under “any standard of review,” and remanded the matter to the State Board with directions to deny the charter school’s appeal, thus upholding the School Board’s original decision.

To read a copy of the Opinion, please click here.

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Categories: LitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentAppellate Law & PracticeFederal Law
Tags: Governmental LitigationSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaRichard Jay WeissLaura K. WendellDavid M. WolpinFort 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 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): Edward G. Guedes

City of Baltimore Sues Major Banks, Alleging Antitrust Violations

In 2011, the city of Baltimore and the New Britain Firefighters' Benefit Fund sued more than a dozen major U.S. banks, alleging that the banks engaged in antitrust violations that resulted in injured investment returns for the plaintiffs.  Specifically, the plaintiffs allege that the banks manipulated the Libor, a key metric that sets interest rates using data computed daily from domestic and international banks.  The plaintiffs claim that by "suppressing" the Libor, the banks concealed their level of risk during the financial crisis.  The allegations of wrongdoing carry serious weight: last week, the British banking behemoth Barclays Plc agreed to pay U.S. and British regulators $455 million in fines for manipulating the Libor.

The case is being litigated in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.  Most recently, the banks filed a Motion to Dismiss , arguing that the evidence does not support the existence of a conspiracy to manipulate rates.  

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Categories: LitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentFederal Courts
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokJoseph H. SerotaRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinMiami 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 AttorneysMatthew H. MandelFort Lauderdale LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Commercial Litigation AttorneysMiami Commercial Litigation AttorneyMiami Litigation Attorney
Author(s): Michael S. Popok

Miami Dade County Commissioners Vote to End Moratorium on New Cities

On Tuesday, Miami-Dade commissioners unanimously voted to lift the County moratorium on city incorporations.

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Categories: Local Government
Tags: Municipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentFlorida League of CitiesFlorida City Government WeekMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort 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 Attorneys
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

U.S. Supreme Court Slaps Down EPA for "Strong Arming" and Denial of Due Process to Citizens It Regulates in a Decision Under the Clean Water Act

Michael and Chantell Sackett were the victims of EPA’s “strong arming” according to Justice Scalia’s scathing opinion in the case of Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency, 566 U.S._______ (2012)(Supreme Court Case No. 10-162). All the Sacketts wanted to do was build a home near, but not adjacent, to a lake. Their 2/3 acre lot is located in Bonner County, Idaho, and others had already built structures closer to the lake. Having received their local building approval, they began to fill part of their lot with dirt and rock. Then the EPA hammer descended.

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)Environmental/SustainabilityLitigationGovernment AffairsAppellate Law & PracticeFederal LawLand Use & Zoning (Private)Federal CourtsConstitutional LawAdministrative Law
Tags: Governmental LitigationSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokClifford A. SchulmanJoseph H. SerotaSusan L. TrevarthenRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort Lauderdale Governmental Affairs AttorneysMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs 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 AttorneysFort Lauderdale Environmental Law AttorneysMiami Environmental Law AttorneysSouth Florida Environmental Law Attorneys South Florida LitigatorsUnited States CongressUnited States SenateFlorida Environmental LawFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Civil Litigation Attorneys
Author(s): Clifford A. Schulman

WSH Member Susan Trevarthen Presents at APA's 2012 National Planning Conference

WSH Member Susan L. Trevarthen will be speaking at the American Planning Association's 2012 National Planning Conference.  In "Bridging the Attorney-Planner Gap," Susan will join Kimberley Mickelson and Edward J. Koconis to discuss effective working relationships between attorneys and planners.  The conference will be held in Los Angeles from April 14-17. 

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)Government AffairsLocal GovernmentAwards & Recognitions
Tags: Florida Growth Management ActMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentAwards & RecognitionsMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanSusan L. TrevarthenRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort 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 AttorneysUrban Development Boundary
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara

WSH Associate Estrellita Sibila Speaking at "Smart Planning for a Green Future"

Associate Estrellita S. Sibila will be speaking at the Smart Planning for a Green Future 2012 Virtual Conference & Expo taking place on April 4 – 6, 2012. On April 5, 2012, Estrellita will speaking as part of a six member panel of state and national environmental leaders offering discussions and insights on Smart Planning for a Green Future. The program is hosted by the Future Is Now Foundation and 1000 Friends of Florida (@floridafriends) and will showcase timely topics on energy and environment including clean energy needs and options, green infrastructure, economic development and Florida jobs.

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Categories: Land Use & Zoning (Public)Environmental/SustainabilityLitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentAwards & RecognitionsLand Use & Zoning (Private)
Tags: Governmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentAwards & RecognitionsMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanGilberto PastorizaClifford A. SchulmanEstrellita S. SibilaSusan L. TrevarthenRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinFort Lauderdale Local Government LawMiami Local Government LawSouth Florida Local Government LawMiami Governmental Affairs AttorneysSouth Florida Governmental Affairs AttorneysFort Lauderdale Municipal AttorneysMiami Municipal AttorneysFort Lauderdale Environmental Law AttorneysMiami Environmental Law AttorneysSouth Florida Environmental Law Attorneys Urban Development BoundaryFlorida Environmental Law
Author(s): Estrellita S. Sibila

Founding Member Richard Jay Weiss to Speak at Good Government Initiative

On March 22, Founding Member Richard Jay Weiss will be speaking at the Good Government Initiative as part of a four member panel discussing “The Tension over Pensions: Good Public Policy or Obsolete Extravagance?” The Good Government Initiative is a program that provides early-career elected and appointed officials with leadership training and community conversations with the public to consider issues important to governance in the community. The Good Government Initiative was founded by former Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, who will serve as the moderator for the upcoming panel.

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Categories: Labor and EmploymentLitigationGovernment AffairsLocal GovernmentContracts
Tags: Public EmployeesEmployment AgreementsPublic EmployersCollective BargainingSunshine LawGovernmental LitigationMunicipal GovernmentEthicsSpecial Counsel to Local GovernmentAwards & RecognitionsMitchell A. BiermanJamie A. ColeChad S. FriedmanEdward G. GuedesMichael S. PopokBrett J. SchneiderJoseph H. SerotaRichard Jay WeissDavid M. WolpinUnemployment CompensationEmployee MisconductNational Labor Relations BoardFort 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 LitigatorsMiami LitigatorsSouth Florida LitigatorsFort 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 LawyersFlorida Litigation AttorneysFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerFort Lauderdale Employment LawyerMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Employment AttorneyMiami Labor LawyerMiami Litigation AttorneySouth Florida Employment Lawyers
Author(s): Brooke P. Dolara