On May 22, 2014, the Supreme Court of Florida reversed the Fifth District Court of Appeals in the case of South Florida Water Management District v. RLI Live Oak, LLC, No. SC 12-2336 (Fla. May 22, 2014), an appeal brought by the water management district over the applicable burden of proof when imposing civil penalties.  The Florida Supreme Court held that, when “the Legislature statutorily authorizes a state governmental agency to recover a ‘civil penalty’ in a ‘court of competent jurisdiction’ but does not specify the agency’s burden of proof, the agency is not required under Osborne [Department of Banking & Finance v. Osborne Stern & Co, 670 So. 2d 932 (Fla. 1996)] to prove the alleged violation by clear and convincing evidence, but rather by a preponderance of the evidence.”
Continue Reading Standard of Proof for Civil Penalties in Florida is “Preponderance” not “Clear and Convincing”