Pensacola News Journal by Jim Little
October 7, 2019
Escambia County Commissioner Doug Underhill is facing another lawsuit over his activity on Facebook.
David Bear, vice president of The Lewis Bear Co., filed a lawsuit against Underhill on Friday alleging the commissioner has failed to fulfill several public records request related to his Facebook accounts.
Bear, who has publicly clashed with Underhill on Facebook on several occasions, made at least three public records requests related to Underhill’s two Facebook accounts.
The request encompassed information in regards to who Underhill is blocking, any comment on private message where Underhill mentioned a member of the Bear family, and finally any comment or message any way related to Underhill’s position as County Commissioner.
The lawsuit includes Escambia County as a defendant, alleging the county failed to respond to the second and third records request.
Bear filed the lawsuit in the First Judicial Circuit Court on Friday, the same day a libel lawsuit against Underhill was thrown out of court.
Underhill has a personal account and a public Facebook page, but has participated in public discussions on county policy from both his personal and public accounts. Bear’s lawsuit argues that Florida law considers public official’s social media pages to be subject to Florida open records law and public forums of discussion.