final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
of Original Jurisdiction - Prohibition. Lower Tribunal No.
Abigail Price-Williams, Miami-Dade County Attorney and Leona
N. McFarlane, Assistant County Attorney, for petitioner.
Davis Law, P.A., and Benedict P. Kuehne, and Michael T.
Davis, for respondent.
EMAS, C.J., and LINDSEY, and GORDO, JJ. 
County petitions this Court for a writ of prohibition,
alleging the circuit court is without jurisdiction to preside
over the underlying whistleblower action because Respondent
Lamar Harris failed to exhaust administrative remedies.
Harris has filed a cross-petition for writ of certiorari,
alleging the trial court erroneously denied his motion for
reinstatement. Because we conclude that Harris did not
exhaust his administrative remedies, we grant the
County's petition for writ of prohibition, and we dismiss
Harris's cross-petition for certiorari as moot.
April 2014, the County's Chief Supervisor of Rail
Transportation issued a memorandum to all Metrorail train
operators directing them to announce the train line and final
destination at each station. In May 2014, a disciplinary
action was filed against Harris, who had been employed as a
train operator for over nine years, for failing to make the
required announcements. Harris told his supervisor the
announcements were unsafe, and he a prepared a "Safety
Concerns" letter explaining that a train operator could
not safely make the required announcements while also
monitoring passengers and listening for radio communications.
August 2014, Harris was suspended for five days for failure
to make the announcements. The following month, Harris submitted
his Safety Concerns letter to the Florida Department of
Transportation ("FDOT"). FDOT conducted an
investigation and concluded that Harris's safety concerns
"do not represent an immediate, current safety hazard to
MDT passengers or employees."
February 2015, independent and unrelated to Harris's
failure to make the announcements, Harris was arrested and
charged with several crimes. As a result, Harris was
automatically suspended on March 31, 2015, and ultimately
dismissed from County service on July 17, 2015. Harris
appealed his dismissal on July 22, 2015, pursuant to section
2-47 of the Miami-Dade County Code of Ordinances
("County Code"), which governs appeals of adverse
personnel actions. Although Harris claims he asked his
representative to raise his whistleblower complaint at the
administrative hearing, he admits that the whistleblower
issue was never considered. On November 5, 2015, the hearing
examiner issued his recommendation, concluding that there was
just cause to dismiss Harris. On November 24, 2015,
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez sustained the decision
and confirmed Harris's dismissal. Harris did not appeal
the Mayor's decision.
January 25, 2016, Harris filed a whistleblower complaint with
the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics & Public Trust (the
"Ethics Commission"). In his complaint, Harris
alleged his suspension and dismissal were in retaliation for
his Safety Concerns letter. On June 30, 2016, the Ethics
Commission dismissed Harris's complaint, finding no
probable cause to sustain his whistleblower allegations.
October 11, 2016, Harris filed a two-count complaint below,
alleging (I) that the County violated Florida's
"Whistle-blower's Act" when it retaliated
against him by suspending him and dismissing him and (II)
that the County violated section 2-42(22) of the County
Code when it failed to reinstate him after he entered a
pre-trial intervention program. On March 31, 2017, Harris
filed a motion for temporary reinstatement pursuant to the
Whistle-blower's Act's temporary reinstatement
provision. See § 112.3187(9)(f), Fla. Stat.
(2018). The trial court denied Harris's motion, finding
the temporary reinstatement provision did not apply because
the County was a municipality. See id. ("This
paragraph does not apply to an employee of a
County filed a motion for summary judgment on July 5, 2017,
arguing that the trial court does not have jurisdiction over
Harris's whistleblower claim (Count I) because Harris
failed to exhaust administrative remedies and his claim was
untimely as a matter of law. The County also argued that
section 2-42(22) of the County Code does not provide a cause
of action for reinstatement (Count II). The trial court
denied the County's motion, and the County now seeks a
writ of prohibition to prevent the trial court from