Sunshine State News by Babara Clowdus
September 7, 2019
Dorian’s dark clouds over Florida are gone now, but the cloud hanging over environmental icon Maggy Hurchalla just grew darker.
The pithy Sept. 6 order by the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that Hurchalla is not entitled to a rehearing before all 12 judges in her quest to overturn a lower court’s $4.4 million award against her. (See the order in the “Download” attachment below the story.)
The judges denied her July 15 motion for en banc rehearing, denied acceptance of a myriad of amicus curiae “friend of the court” briefs offered by state environmental and free speech organizations, and rejected her attorney’s arguments that a “question of great public importance” could be settled only by the Florida Supreme Court.
Hurchalla still could seek to have her case heard by the state’s highest court without certification by the appeals court that the question of determining malice as it pertains to state and federal free-speech protections is warranted for their review.
Whether they will agree is left to speculation, although it seems unlikely based on other state supreme court decisions.
Hurchalla’s intent, according to her previous public statements, is to have her case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“I will appeal,” she told a small throng of supporters bearing chocolates, roses and balloons outside of the Martin County courthouse Feb. 14, 2018. They gathered immediately following a jury’s Valentine’s Day ruling that Hurchalla’s actions had harmed Lake Point Restoration, concluding a five-year civil case that charged her with tortious interference in Lake Point’s agreements with Martin County and the South Florida Water Management District.