A Tampa attorney is suing Hillsborough County over the stay-at-home order arguing it violates the Florida and U.S. constitutions and Florida’s Sunshine Law.
Kurt Davis, a commercial litigation and real estate law attorney, later included Gov. Ron DeSantis in his challenge.
In his original filing March 30, Davis argued the county did not give adequate notice of its public meetings and failed to provide opportunity for public comment, a violation of Florida’s robust open government laws. At one point, the lawsuit alleges, a meeting was noticed just 23 hours before it was scheduled to begin.
Davis claims in his suit he tried multiple times to offer public testimony.
“The County indicated that the meetings were being attended by invitation only and then refused to provide Plaintiff with any ability to participate in them,” the complaint reads.
An amended complaint on April 8 included DeSantis’ state order, as well as several other executive orders issued in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, arguing the restrictions violated constitutional freedoms.
Those orders include not only the statewide stay-at-home order, but orders closing gyms and fitness centers, requiring travelers from hotspots in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to quarantine for two weeks, blocking non-medically necessary medical and dental procedures, blocking evictions of tenants past due on rent and banning vacation rentals.
Davis argued the restrictions blocked him from necessary activities by forcing him to leave stagnant a gym membership he paid for and taking action against a tenant on one of his properties delinquent on rent, among other inconveniences.
Davis’ lawsuit calls for a judge to declare the orders unlawful and, therefore, unenforceable and seeks recovery for attorney’s fees and “any other relief as is just and/or equitable.”
It’s unclear whether Davis’ lawsuit will go anywhere. DeSantis is expected to roll back statewide restrictions on May 1 and the county Emergency Policy Group is expected to begin conversations about its own integrated reopening Thursday.
Courts are currently operating on limited dockets.
The case has been assigned to Judge Richard Nielsen, Division F of Hillsborough County courts.
The county does not comment on pending litigation.
April 22, 2020 at 9:27 am
Too many attorneys in Florida, can cause too many frivolous lawsuits it seems. While one attorney is suing the Governor for too much action in closing things down, another attorney is suing the Governor for not closing everything down fast enough.
Neither of these suits is going anywhere, but I guess this is a good time to take advantage of a crisis and get one’s name in the media.
April 22, 2020 at 1:36 pm
This attorney is probably upset because he didn’t get a stimulus check… This is truly bogus as I feel and I can’t speak for others but I love my family and friends and if staying home due to a pandemic like this saves their lives and other lives then wasting the courts time is no shock. Davis is just a Scrooge apparently and only thinking about himself and not others….I haven’t seen people suffering to much and they still do their walking and bike riding for exercise… So I would say to Davis to take a chill pill….
April 22, 2020 at 5:36 pm
This guy needs to lose his license to practice. He is an idiot.
April 24, 2020 at 9:47 pm
He and his clients want to evict the tenants from their house. The only way to do that is removing the stay at home order.
The State and County may not subject an individual to isolation or quarantine inside a home without ordering them to be tested. See Florida Statutes 381.00315(1)(c)(4)
The State and County has not order mandatory testing of all individuals. Evict those squatters. There is a squatter in Miami who took over a vacant home which the owner had listed for sale.
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