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Florida Wildlife Fed'n v. State Dep't of Envtl. Regulation

Citation: 11 ELR 20169
No. No. 58135, 390 So. 2d 64/15 ERC 1282/(Fla., 11/06/1980)

Reversing the circuit court on direct appeal, the Florida Supreme Court holds that the state's Environmental Protection Act creates a new cause of action allowing private citizens of Florida to bring suit under the statute without a showing of special injury. Plaintiff environmental group sought to enjoin pollution of a canal. The lower court dismissed on the ground that the Florida act, pursuant to which the lawsuit was filed, abrogated the supreme court's rule of requiring allegation of a special injury for standing to sue and thus was not within the legislature's power to enact. The Supreme Court of Florida holds that the act creates a new cause of action giving citizens new substantive rights not previously possessed. Furthermore, by requiring a plaintiff to set out the manner in which he is affected and the facts upon which the injury is based, thus alleging a real and bona fide interest in the lawsuit, the statute ensures that the minimum requirements of standing — injury and an interest in redress — will be met. Moreover, the legislature did not intend for the special injury rule to apply to cases brought under the act. Finally, the court concludes that plaintiff nonprofit corporation is a "citizen" within the meaning of the act and thus a proper plaintiff.

Counsel for Appellant
Thomas E. Kingcade, Jack S. Cox
Levy, Plisco, Shapiro, Kneen, Kingcade & McCarthy
P.O. Box 2755, Palm Beach FL 33480
(305) 655-3751

Counsel for Appellees
William E. Deane, Randall E. Denker, Ass't General Counsels
Department of Environmental Regulation
Twin Towers, 2600 Blair Stone Rd., Tallahassee FL 32301
(904) 488-4807

Robert Grafton, Thomas J. Schwartz, Stephen A. Walker, Irene Kennedy Quincey
South Florida Water Management District
P.O. Box V, West Palm Beach FL 33402
(305) 686-8800

Counsel for Amici Curiae Florida Sugar Cane League, Inc. et al.
Philp S. Parsons
Macfarlane, Ferguson, Allison & Kelly
P.O. Box 1548, Tallahassee FL 32302
(904) 224-1215

Robert M. Rhodes
Messer, Rhodes, Vickers & Hart
P.O. Box 1876, Tallahassee FL 32302
(904) 222-0720

McDONALD, Justice, SUNDBERG, C.J., and ADKINS, BOYD, OVERTON, ENGLAND and ALDERMAN, JJ., concur.