from the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit,
Palm Beach County; David E. French, Judge; L.T. Case No.
N. Hartsell, Sarah M. Hayter, Heidi M. Mehaffey and Shai
Ozery of Robert N. Hartsell, P.A., Pompano Beach, for
C. Hvizd, Senior Assistant County Attorney, Palm Beach County
Attorneys Office, West Palm Beach, for appellee.
S. Coffey of the Pinellas County Attorneys Office,
Clearwater, for Ken Burke, Pinellas County; Hampton C.
Peterson, West Palm Beach, for Sharon R. Bock, Clerk &
Comptroller, Palm Beach County; Michael J. Healy, Fort Myers,
for Linda Doggett, Lee County Clerk of Court and Comptroller
Office of the Inspector General; Carol J. Breece, Plantation,
for the Broward Office of the Inspector General; Dennis J.
Alfonso of McClain Alfonso, P.A., Dade City, for Paula S.
ONeil, Clerk & Comptroller, Pasco County; Marie Perikles,
Office of the Inspector General, Miami-Dade County, Miami;
and Cela D. Webster, Brooksville, for Doug Chorvat, Jr.,
Hernando County Clerk of Circuit Court and Comptroller, for
Amicus Curiae Appellee Palm Beach County Office of the
is an appeal of an order denying attorneys fees in a public
records request case. The appellant had requested that the
Palm Beach County Office of the Inspector General furnish him
with a copy of a complaint, which initiated an investigation
into alleged mismanagement and overpayment of contractors in
the Town of Loxahatchee Groves. The Inspector General refused
to furnish the complaint until the investigation was closed.
After the investigation closed, the complaint was furnished
to appellant. He then moved for attorneys fees, contending
that the initial complaint was not subject to an exemption
from disclosure and that he was entitled to his attorneys
fees incurred in obtaining the document. The trial court
disagreed and denied the fees. We affirm.
Section 112.3188(2)(b), Florida Statutes (2017) provides:
All information received by a local chief executive
officer or appropriate local official or information produced
or derived from fact-finding or investigations conducted
pursuant to the administrative procedure established by
ordinance by a local government as authorized by s.
112.3187(8)(b) is confidential and exempt from s. 119.07(1)
and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution, if the
information is being received or derived from allegations as
set forth in paragraph (1)(a) or paragraph (1)(b) and an
investigation is active.
(emphasis added). The type of allegations set forth in
section 112.3188 paragraph (1)(a) and (b) includes assertions
[A]n employee or agent of an agency or independent
(a) Has violated or is suspected of having violated any
federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation, thereby
creating and presenting a substantial and specific danger to
the publics health, safety, or welfare; or
(b) Has committed an act of gross mismanagement, malfeasance,
misfeasance, gross waste of public funds, or gross neglect of
to qualify for an exemption from a public records request,
the information received by a local official must involve
gross mismanagement, waste of public funds or neglect of
duty, and that the investigation is active. Since
section 119.07(1), Florida Statutes (2017), deals with the
obligation of the custodian of public records to produce
records upon request, the ...