Thursday, January 6, 2011

Court ruling punishes citizens for appealing development cases--from the St. Pete Times

By Howard Troxler, Times Columnist
In Print: Thursday, January 6, 2011

We're always fighting in Florida over who should be allowed to build what.

And sometimes, if citizens don't like what their local government is allowing, they go to court.

But that kind of fight just suffered a big setback.

A Florida court has declared that citizens who try to appeal such cases, but lose the fight over their legal "standing" to sue, can be punished for trying in the first place.

It's a ruling straight out of Kafka: If you lose, you should have known you were going to lose, and therefore your case was frivolous when you filed it, and you will be punished.

In the case in question from Martin County, the losing citizens must pay not only the government's legal bills and expenses — but also the expenses of those developers and corporations that jumped into the case, potentially tens of thousands of dollars.


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