final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
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
Attorney's Office, West Palm Beach, for appellee.
S. Coffey of the Pinellas County Attorney's 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.
O'Neil, 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
an appeal of an order denying attorney's 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 attorney's fees,
contending that the initial complaint was not subject to an
exemption from disclosure and that he was entitled to his
attorney's fees incurred in obtaining the document. The
trial court disagreed and denied the fees. We affirm.
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 public's 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 plain meaning of the statute