Administrative, Civil and Appellate Litigation
When litigation is necessary, we won’t hesitate to go to court. But escalating emotions doesn’t help anyone. We see things differently. We focus on the result. We have extensive experience before all levels of state and federal trial and appellate courts and administrative tribunals. Our representation often involves challenges to, or defense of regulatory and environmental permits, land use and zoning decisions, licenses, and state procurement contracts and purchasing decisions. Our team also handles commercial litigation, including commercial and construction contracts, non-compete agreements, foreclosures, and real property disputes.
Our litigators have extensive experience in state and federal appellate courts, including federal Courts of Appeals around the country and the United States Supreme Court.
While we litigate when necessary, we recognize opportunities to resolve client disputes in other creative ways, including through arbitration or other alternative dispute resolution procedures. Many of us serve as mediators in complex litigation matters. Several of us are certified mediators and have served as special masters on local government enforcement matters.
For more information contact Kevin S. Hennessy, Chair – Administrative, Civil and Appellate Litigation Law.
Trial Court Decisions
Federal Environmental Permitting, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species and NEPA
- Friends of Warm Mineral Springs, Inc. vs. Gina McCarthy – Friends of Warm Mineral Springs sue three officials at the Florida Department of State and the City of North Port, Florida. Under the “citizen suits” section of the Clean Water Act, the plaintiffs argued that the defendants violate the Clean Water Act by allowing “offsite” sand, drums, and plastic sheeting to remain in Warm Mineral Springs. Judgment was in favor of the defendant, Kevin S. Hennessy.
- Conservancy of Southwest Florida, Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Counsel of Civic Associations vs. Seminole Tribe of Florida – Decision by U.S. Fish & Wildlife to designate 3-million acres of land in South Florida as critical habitat for the Florida Panther could not be challenged by environmental groups, Andrew J. Baumann.
- National Audubon Society, Collier County Society, Florida Wildlife Federation, Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Franklin Adams vs. South Florida Water Management District and I.M. Collier, J.V. – 1,700- acre development satisfied state environmental permitting requirement for wetlands, water quality and endangered species impacts, Andrew J. Baumann.
Land Use and Zoning Approvals
- Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Hendry County, The Administrative Law Judge held that Amendments to Hendry County’s Comprehensive Plan allowing large scale industrial and commercial uses in rural agricultural areas were not supported by adequate data and analysis and violated Florida’s Community Planning Act by creating urban sprawl and failing to contain adequate criteria to guide future development, Andrew J. Baumann and Tara W. Duhy.
- APA Emerson @ Indrio, LLC vs. St. Lucie County and Department of Community Affairs – County comprehensive plan creating “Towns, Villages, and Countrysides” overlay, compiled with the Growth Management Act, Andrew J. Baumann.
- Seminole Tribe of Florida v. Hendry County and Florida Power & Light Co., The Circuit Court ruled that the County’s rezoning of agricultural land to permit the construction of a regional natural gas power plant next to the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation was inconsistent with the Hendry County Comprehensive Plan and was void and unenforceable, Andrew J. Baumann and Tara W. Duhy.
- Martin County Conservation Alliance, Donna Melzer and Eliza Ackerly, Individuals and Grove Holdings, Groves 12, and Groves 14 vs. Martin County and Department of Community Affairs – County comprehensive plan did not comply with Growth Management Act because it did not allocate enough land for development, Andrew J. Baumann and Tara W. Duhy.
- Barbara Turcotte vs. City of Coconut Creek – Amendment to Development of Regional Impact (“DRI”) met requirements of law for amending DRI orders, Andrew J. Baumann.
- Marc Ripps vs. City of Coconut Creek and the Seminole Tribe of Florida – Rezoning for hotel/entertainment complex met criteria for rezoning and compiled with state law regarding development of regional impacts (“DRI”), Andrew J. Baumann and Tara W. Duhy.
Docks, Marinas and Riparian Rights
- Benjamin K. Sharfi, Trustee for Benjamin Sharfi 2002 Trust and the Buccaneer Condominium of Palm Beach Shores, Inc and BUCC18, LLC vs. Great American Life Insurance Company, Department of Environmental Protection and the Board of Trustees for the Internal Improvement Trust Fund – Condominium owners did not possess a “riparian right” to depend upon the water area inside a neighboring marina’s submerged land lease boundary for navigation access to the condominium’s dock, and neighboring marina did not create a navigation hazard where a variety of vessels up to 50 feet could continue to use the condominium dock and only very large vessels would have difficulty accessing docks, Andrew J. Baumann.
- Gary Pirtle vs. Roy D. Voss and Department of Environmental Protection – Installation of dock mooring pilings interfered with riparian rights and navigation to neighboring dock, Andrew J. Baumann.
- St. Lucie Inlet Harbor Dock Owners Association vs. James P. Leonhardt and Mary L. Leonhardt – Waterfront owners retained riparian rights over area dedicated to community docks in subdivision, Andrew J. Baumann.
Bid Protests and Public Procurement
- St. Lucie Inlet Harbor Dock Owners Association vs. James P. Leonhardt and Mary L. Leonhardt – Confidential documents submitted by bidder for county contract contained trade secrets exempt from disclosure under Florida’s Public Records Act, Tara W. Duhy.
- Close Construction, Inc vs. South Florida Water Management District – Competitive bid was wrongfully rejected as non-responsive due to immaterial, noncompetitive defect, Andrew J. Baumann.
Employment and Public Pension Law
- General Employees Retirement Committee vs. City of North Miami Beach – Employee referendum requirement in public pension ordinance violates collective bargaining rights, and city’s home rule powers authorize city to repeal referendum requirement created by city ordinance through adoption of a new ordinance, Andrew J. Baumann.
Public Records Law
- Michael Trout vs. Susan Bucher in capacity as Supervisor of Elections – Advance deposit and costs, including the Supervisor’s time, associated with the production of original ballots was reasonable, Jennifer R. Cowan.
- Citizens for Sunshine, Inc. vs. School Board of Martin County – The school board adequately cured its violation of the Sunshine Law, Jennifer R. Cowan.
- Town of Kenneth City vs. Lealman Special Fire Control District – Overturning an annexation that failed to comply with proper notice requirements, Jennifer R. Cowan and Kevin S. Hennessy.
If you have any question about any of the court opinions listed or would like additional information about other cases handled by our Administrative, Civil and Appellate Litigation Team, please contact Kevin S. Hennessy, Chair – Administrative, Civil and Appellate Litigation Practice Area.