Attorney's Fees Database 1981 - 1989

DECEMBER 1989: Alachua County Circuit Judge Benjamin Tench nullified an action by the Gainesville Board of Adjustment in which the board had denied a building permit, adjourned, then reconvened six minutes later and reversed the denial. Tench awarded Darnell Rhea, a former board member who initiated the suit, $833 in legal fees.

OCTOBER 1989: The Orlando Sentinel received $4,500 in attorney’s fees in a case arising out of Sunshine Law violations by the City of Kissimmee. The city had refused access to meetings of a police board created to review use of deadly force by officers.

SEPTEMBER 1989: The Milton Press Gazette was awarded more than $1,300 in attorney’s fees in a suit to gain access to public records held by Pensacola Junior College. The Press Gazette was denied access to information about the college’s legal expenses in a labor dispute.

NOVEMBER 1988: The Orlando Sentinel received $6,750 in legal fees in a suit seeking access to records held by the Orlando chief of police. Orange County Circuit Judge Lawrence J. Kirkwood held that the newspaper was entitled to the records, which concerned internal investigations of officers.

OCTOBER 1988: The City of New Port Richey was ordered to pay the cost of its unsuccessful appeal of Pasco Circuit Judge W. Lowell Bray Jr.’s ruling that city officials violated the public records law. Those fees were in addition to $22,000 the city already owed a Tampa attorney who represented plaintiffs seeking access to documents in a civil rights suit brought against the city in 1985.

SEPTEMBER 1988: The Orlando Sentinel received $5,000 in fees from the city of Longwood in a suit in which the paper sought access to investigative records compiled by an independent contractor. The Seminole Circuit Court ruled that the records, concerning suspended police department employees, were public.

MAY 1988: An 11th Circuit judge ordered Dade County State Attorney Janet Reno to pay $5,000 in attorney’s fees to The Miami News. The newspaper filed suit to obtain eight categories of documents provided to the defense in a criminal case.

NOVEMBER 1986: The 4th District Court upheld a lower court’s ruling ordering the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office to pay The Miami Herald’s legal expenses in a public records case. The lower court had held that Sheriff Richard Wille violated the Public Records Law when he refused to release investigation records concerning an employee.

SEPTEMBER 1986: A Broward Circuit judge ordered the Port Everglades Authority to pay more than $3,000 in fees in a suit filed by the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. The newspaper had requested documents concerning Port Everglade’s attempt to bring U.S. Lines ships to the port.

JUNE 1986: A Broward Circuit judge ordered the Florida Alliance to pay $1,000 in legal fees to the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. The newspaper sought documents concerning Florida Alliance’s relationship with Port Everglades.

JUNE 1986: Lee Circuit Judge James R. Thompson ruled that the City of Fort Myers violated the Sunshine Law during bargaining sessions in December 1985 between a police union and city representatives. Thompson ordered the city to pay the Fort Myers News-Press’ attorney’s fees.

MAY 1986: Circuit Judge R. William Rutter ordered State Attorney David Bludworth to pay $48,097 in legal fees incurred by four news organizations in a lawsuit to gain access to information in the 1984 drug overdose death of David Kennedy. The media organizations, the Palm Beach Newspapers, the Miami Herald Publishing Co., the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel Company and Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company, donated the fees to the Florida First Amendment Foundation.

MAY 1985: A circuit judge ordered the Polk County State Attorney’s Office to pay $2,568.50 in attorney’s fees and court costs to The Ledger (Lakeland). The Ledger won the suit in 1985 after then-State Attorney Quillian Yancey refused to release records involving investigations completed by his office.

FEBRUARY 1984: The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled that Thomas R. Julin and Terri Wood, who as University of Florida law students sued in 1980 to open the selection process of a law school dean, were entitled to $37,500 in attorney’s fees from the university. The Florida Supreme Court had remanded the question of fees to the 1st District in 1983, after ruling that the activities of a search committee should have been open to the public. Total fees in the case eventually came to $70,000. Julin, Wood, and Gainesville attorney Sandra Bieber-Allan contributed $50,000 from the award to the FOI Clearinghouse at the University of Florida (now the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information).

MAY 1981: The Miami Herald and The Miami News were awarded attorney’s fees totaling more than $70,000 in a public records lawsuit filed against the Metro-Dade Police Department. The Herald, which was awarded $53,330.30, filed the suit after Public Safety Director E. Wilson Purdy refused to release certain internal police records. The News, which later joined the suit, was awarded $20,229.92.