Florida government agencies that lose lawsuits filed by people seeking access to public records will have to pay plaintiffs’ attorney fees, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a Jacksonville-based case.
And it doesn’t matter if the agency didn’t know it was breaking Florida’s public records laws when it denied or limited access to records, the court ruled.
“This is really important,” said Barbara Petersen, president of the open government watchdog group First Amendment Foundation. “It’s not a penalty. They don’t pay damages or anything. They simply have to pay our attorneys’ fees if we have to sue them and take them to court for violating our rights.” Continue…