In the summer of 2004, during Hurricane Frances, an industrial facility released approximately 65 million gallons of process water into Tampa Bay. A group of commercial fishermen promptly filed a
Continue Reading Florida Appellate Court Reverses Class Certification in Commercial Fishing Action Arising From a 65-Million-Gallon Process Water Release Into Tampa Bay

In response to the widespread impacts of Hurricane Irma in Florida (all coastlines and virtually every community), Speaker Corcoran of the Florida House of Representatives has created a new Committee
Continue Reading Lessons of Hurricane Irma — State of Florida Focus on Hurricane Preparedness and Infrastructure

On Sept. 26, 2016, Governor Scott ordered the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to immediately issue an emergency rule requiring immediate notification of pollution spills to the general public, FDEP,
Continue Reading New Emergency Rule in Florida Requires Responsible Parties to Quickly Notify Public of Pollution Spills

The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (Florida FWC) is taking comment until January 20, 2016, on changes proposed by the agency on its approach to endangered and threatened species
Continue Reading Public Comment Deadline Nears on Florida’s Imperiled Species Management Plan in Contemplation of April 2016 Vote

We wrote here previously about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the “takings” case of Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District in 2013, which was an appeal by a property owner from an adverse ruling of the Florida Supreme Court with respect to permit conditions requiring off-site mitigation work.    The U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion in Koontz expanded and clarified the unconstitutional conditions doctrine.     House Bill 383, which was signed into law by Governor Scott on June 11, 2015,   creates a statutory cause of action for injunctive relief and damages  for extortionate exactions by local and state governmental bodies, codifying the decision in Koontz and eliminating any uncertainty under Florida law on the availability of monetary damages.   The new statute defines a “prohibited exaction” to include “any condition imposed by a governmental entity on a property owner’s proposed use of real property that lacks an essential nexus to a legitimate public purpose and is not roughly proportionate to the impacts of the proposed use that the governmental entity seeks to avoid, minimize, or mitigate.”  The governmental entity must prove that the exaction is not prohibited and the property owner must prove its damages resulted from the exaction.   Pre-suit written notice to the governmental body is required, providing the government with the opportunity to cure or explain the alleged exaction before litigation commences.  The prevailing party is entitled to recovery of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs.
Continue Reading New Florida Statute Codifies U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Koontz and Provides Relief Against ‘Extortionate’ Exactions