Pensacola News Journal by Jim Little
January 7, 2020
Escambia County Commissioners are not happy with the decision to hire a Tallahassee-based law firm to defend the county in two pending lawsuits over records requests involving Commissioner Doug Underhill’s Facebook accounts.
Commission Chairman Steven Barry and Commissioner Lumon May voiced opposition to hiring an out-of-town law firm during the board’s agenda conference Tuesday morning.
County Attorney Alison Rogers had hired the firm of Nabors Giblin and Nickerson to represent the county in two lawsuits brought by David Bear, vice president of The Lewis Bear Co.
Rogers said the case had the potential to raise ethical conflicts within the county as the best defense for Underhill may be different than the best defense for the county as a whole.
“The possibility is ripe here for all the parties to blame each other, and that then sets up a problem ethically with the Florida Bar,” Rogers told the News Journal last week. “You can’t represent multiple sides of the same dispute.”
Nabors Giblin and Nickerson currently does work for the county in bond issues, and Rogers said she went with the law firm because they specialize in handling local government legal issues.