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attorney fees

Lawmakers approve attorney fee tweak to public record law

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Lawmakers on Thursday unanimously passed a compromise measure on winners of public records lawsuits collecting attorney fees, sending the bill to Gov. Rick Scott. The House passed the Senate bill (SB 80) on a 115-0 vote. The legislation requires judges to award attorney fees if they find an agency broke the public records law and a “requestor” gave five days’ notice before filing suit. Most importantly, a judge must determine if a request was for an “improper purpose,” such as intentionally forcing…

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Public records bill barely gets out of first committee

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A bill that would give judges discretion to award attorney fees in public records lawsuits squeaked out of its first review panel Tuesday. The Senate’s Governmental Oversight and Accountability cleared the bill (SB 80) by a 4-3 vote. It goes next to the Community Affairs Committee. The measure changes the word “shall” to “may” regarding courts awarding legal fees when an “agency (has) unlawfully refused to permit a public record … to be inspected or copied.” It would also require a “complainant (to) provide…

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House bill would affect public records lawsuits

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A House bill would require judges to make specific findings before they can award attorney fees in public records lawsuits. State Rep. Danny Burgess, a Zephyrhills Republican and lawyer, filed the measure (HB 163) on Wednesday. It would require a judge to determine that a public agency “unlawfully refused to permit a public record to be inspected or copied” and that the complainant “provided written notice identifying the public record request to the agency’s custodian … at least five business days before…

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Bill again targets attorney fees in public records cases

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A bill that would give judges the discretion to award attorney fees in public records lawsuits was refiled Wednesday in the Florida Legislature. New state Sen. Greg Steube, a Sarasota Republican and lawyer, is again behind the legislation (SB 80). He backed a version of the bill last session as a state representative. It passed the Senate unanimously but died in the House. The measure changes the word “shall” to “may” regarding courts awarding legal fees when an “agency (has) unlawfully…

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Corrine Brown won’t be ordered to pay redistricting plaintiffs

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A federal judge has shut down a request from the winners of the congressional redistricting case for U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown to pay their attorney and expert witness bills of nearly $250,000. U.S. District Judge Mark Walker also denied a request to levy sanctions against Brown, saying her case “was meritless” but not “frivolous.” His order was entered late last month. Brown, a 23-year Democratic congresswoman from north Florida, lost her primary against challenger Al Lawson in the wake of her indictment on charges that she and her chief…

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