PB: Understanding Palmetto Bay’s Win

by SDM

Palmetto Bay taxpayers dodged a small bullet when the Third District Court of Appeals reversed itself yesterday on the question of whether the village had to pay Palmer Trinity School’s legal fees incurred in defending the village’s appeal.

The last part of the sentence above is important because SDM readers should not get the wrong impression about what this narrow victory means.

First and foremost, village taxpayers will not pay Palmer’s lawyers for the appeal, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, taxpayers will pay (probably have already paid) for the village’s lawyers and their costs. SDM does not know how much the village paid its attorneys for the village’s failed appeal.

It is also important to understand that the Third DCA agreed with the Palmer and ruled against the village on the merits. But because the village’s appeal was legally sufficient and not frivolous, Palmer was not entitled to reimbursement of its legal fees and costs incurred in this particular appeal.

Second and more worrying, however, is that the village and Palmer have one or two ongoing lawsuits that have not been resolved. In these suits, Palmer sued the village for relief. So far, every important issue decided on the merits in these suits has gone Palmer’s way.

Therefore, SDM understands that the trial court and, perhaps, the Eleventh Judicial Circuit’s Appeals Panel may still order the village to pay Palmer’s legal fees and costs incurred when Palmer appealed the village’s development approval.

In addition, Palmer continues to prosecute a suit reportedly for $13 million in damages. SDM does not know either the status of this case or the chances Palmer could win. Vice Mayor Brian Pariser seems convinced Palmer will lose, but SDM has demanded a legal opinion.

SDM Says: Tonight’s COW meeting presents an excellent opportunity to tell SDM where this post is wrong.

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