Florida Phoneix by Lucy Morgen
September 21, 2020
Lawyers for Martin County environmental activist Maggy Hurchalla have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a $4.4-million judgment in a South Florida lawsuit.
Hurchalla, the sister of former Miami Dade State Attorney and U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno contends the judgement endangers the rights of the public to raise questions about environmental issues.
Hurchalla raised questions about a rock mining company seeking permits from the Martin County Commission and suggested it would seriously damage the environment.
She was sued by the owners of the mining company, Lake Point Development, after Martin County Commissioners made decisions adverse to the developer. The award for damages has been upheld by the 4th District Court of Appeal and left standing when the Florida Supreme Court refused to consider her appeal in April.
Now, attorneys Virginia P. Sherlock and Howard K. Heims of Stuart; Enrique D. Arana and Rachel Oostendorp of Miami and Jamie Gorelick of Washington, D.C. have asked the nation’s highest court to review the verdict and uphold the free speech rights of citizens to speak out against actions being taken by public officials.