June 22, 2016 – Daily Business Review
A federal appeals court rejected a class action lawsuit filed by an affluent Palm Beach County town that alleges it has been inundated with public-records requests as part of a scheme to generate attorney fees and legal settlements.
Gulf Stream, one of the nation’s richest communities by per capita income, and a contractor, Wantman Group Inc., contended the defendants in the case were involved in racketeering by using Florida’s public-records law to “extort” money from local governments, according to court documents. The issue is rooted in part of the law that allows people to collect attorney fees if they successfully sue government agencies for failing to properly provide public records.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit appeared to express sympathy Tuesday for the small Palm Beach County town but upheld a lower court decision dismissing the case, which was brought under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO. [READ MORE]