Legal Updates

FLORIDA- GEORGIA WATER WAR With the battle over Apalachicola River water between Florida and Georgia shifting back to the U.S. Supreme Court, both states continue to file briefs with the Court. Florida continues to allege Georgia’s diversion of water resources have decimated the oyster industry. Georgia has responded that Florida has greatly overestimated the water diversion and such use has not harmed the industry. There is still no timetable for a final decision.

FELON VOTER RIGHTS In an unexpected move by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, the full court has voted to stay the ruling of a district court judge which would have allowed felons to register to vote regardless of outstanding restitution or court costs. The Court set a hearing for August 11th, but there is no guarantee of a quick ruling.

DISNEY FAST PASS A mother with an autistic child lost her lawsuit against Walt Disney World when a U. S. district court judge ruled that her child was not automatically guaranteed immediate access to the Fast Pass system. Disney countered that individuals had been hiring the disabled in order to move to the front of the line for multiple rides.

GOVERNOR EMERGENCY ORDERS The Florida Supreme Court has approved the Governor’s social distancing orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. A former  attorney brought a legal challenge to the order, but the Court found that a pandemic qualifies as a “natural emergency” within the State Emergency Management Act.

LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION In 2014, Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment which required a portion of documentary taxes from real estate transactions to be used for land and water conservation purposes. Environmental groups sued after the Legislature included all recurring funding in the total. The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the Legislature and the Florida Supreme Court has refused to hear the case, leaving the decision intact.