News & Resources

The Risk of Public Statements about Someone’s Behavior

With apologies to my academic friends: it is sometimes said that arguments in academia are especially vehement because the stakes are so low. However, from the perspective of Florida community college professor Isabel Del Pino-Allen, the stakes in her defamation lawsuit against a fellow professor are very high: her employment and reputation. Del Pino-Allen sued Juan Santelises for slander after the fellow professor allegedly made numerous false, malicious, and defamatory claims to the administration of […]

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Does Florida’s Journalist Privilege Apply to Unsolicited Information? How Can It Not?

On December 1, 2014, Travel Weekly published a glowing article about former Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Colin Veitch, calling him a “visionary” and maybe “the most influential and creative cruise CEO of the past decade”. Veitch’s successor as CEO, Kevin Sheehan, took issue with that characterization and wrote an email to Travel Weekly’s publisher and editor-in-chief. As a result, the publication removed the article from its website a few days later. Colin Veitch then sued […]

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HB 459: Will Your Trade Secrets Become Public Records?

If you do business with the state of Florida, you may no longer be able to rely on a trade secrets exemption to hide related contracts or financial data from the public. Currently, certain public records can be kept private if they contain trade secrets. In 2016, the House Speaker sought to make public the terms of rapper Pitbull’s spokesman contract with the public agency Visit Florida. Pitbull argued that the trade secret exemption protected […]

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Court Rules 50-Mile Drive Not an ‘Unreasonable Delay’

Florida is well-known throughout the country for its Sunshine Law, which is intended to ensure public access without unreasonable delay to public records received or created by our government. A recent Florida case looked at whether having to drive 50 miles was an unreasonable delay in obtaining some public records. It was an appeal of a 2011 case that looked at one of Florida’s 20 state attorneys’ policy of making people travel to his Live […]

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Open Government and the Importance of Lobbyists’ Transparency

Open government is the best government, and we are fortunate that Florida has some of the strongest open records laws and policies in the country. Though not perfect, they do a good job of promoting a more transparent and accountable government. One such policy began in 2016 when Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, implemented new House rules. The new rules require lobbyists to register and publicly disclose who they’re lobbying for and what […]

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Marks Gray Attorney Ed Birk’s TV Interview with News4Jax

On January 31, 2018, Marks Gray news media and First Amendment attorney Edward Birk was interviewed outside the Duval County courthouse by New4Jax. Birk represents Graham Media Group/News4Jax in a dispute about what evidence will be made public in the high-profile case involving the 1998 kidnapping of Kamiyah Mobley as a newborn. News4Jax and a coalition of news organizations filed a public records request to the State Attorney’s Office about the case, but defendant Gloria Williams’ […]

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