Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Litigation update: Palmetto Bay V. Miami-Dade County, case no.: 2019-031036-CA-01, filed 10/18/2019

Because you have the right to know and have indicated an interest in being kept in the loop:

Litigation update. The Village of Palmetto Bay filed the complaint for injunctive relief on October 18, 2019.  (CLICK HERE to access copies of the documents filed to date - the 6 page verified complaint and civil cover sheet). Here is where this lawsuit stands:

Local Case Number: 2019-031036-CA-01
Filing Date: 10/18/2019
State Case Number: 132019CA031036000001
Judicial Section: CA11 - Honorable Mavel Ruiz

This is a complaint for an injunction, an order of the court, that would prohibit the County from removing the 4 way stop signs.  Note that this lawsuit seeks to halt the removal of the additional stop signs on SW 87 Avenue, as there were previously stop signs for east/west traffic on SW 174th Street that are not at risk of being removed. 

The County has stated that if the Village did not approve the traffic circle at the October 17, 2019 meeting, that the additional Stop Signs must be removed by the close of business on October 18, 2019.  The Village Council voted down the traffic circle 5-0 at that Oct. 18, 2019, meeting.

The arguments raised in the suit for injunctive relief include the following:
  • Governmental action cannot be arbitrary and capricious.  
  • The County previously approved the Additional Stop Signs. 
  • Requiring the immediate removal of the Additional Stop Signs with no alternative traffic safety measure in place is arbitrary and capricious and a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the Village.  
  • All conditions precedent to the filing of this action have been met or otherwise waived.
What the lawsuit seeks (relief sought):

An injunction to prevent the removal of the Additional Stop Signs is in the public interest because it the Additional Stop Signs increase safety and protect the public health, safety and welfare at the Dangerous Intersection.  

The "prayer for relief" or what the Village asks for is plead as follows:
WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, the Village respectfully requests that this Court enter an injunction to prohibit the County from removing or requiring the removal of the Additional Stop Signs without the installation or provision of an alternate safety measure in place, and grant any other relief that this Court deems just and proper. 
I will keep you advised as to how this suit progresses. To date (as of this blog post) only the complaint and the civil cover sheet have been filed.
What is next? It is up to the defendant, Miami-Dade County. The Judge in this case may issue a preliminary injunction should Palmetto Bay demonstrate: 

(1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits; 
(2) that irreparable injury will be suffered unless the injunction issues; 
(3) the threatened injury to the movant outweighs whatever damage the proposed injunction may cause the opposing party; and 
(4) if issued, the injunction would not be adverse to the public interest. 

Intersection at issue 87/174
Note that both a preliminary (and permanent) injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy which is not granted unless the movant (here Palmetto Bay) establishes the burden of persuasion as to each of the four listed prerequisites.

PRIOR RELATED POST - please see the October 16, 2019, post: Try working with the County - Miami-Dade County paid for the other traffic circles under my administrations - the money is there, but it takes a partnership for additional information.

SPECIAL NOTE relating to public access and transparency: Palmetto Bay officials continue to neglect to update the “litigation page” online to include any information relating to this newly filed lawsuit seeking injunctive relief (or other recent actions) on the official village website (at least as of  1:00 PM, Wednesday, 10/23/2019). Posting would be for courtesy, as it is not required, but would aid in transparency. As pointed out previously, many of the documents from the prior administrations have been removed from public access online. 

After all, if DOAH and Miami-Dade Clerk of Courts can post these (and many other) documents online, why can’t Palmetto Bay? Don't buy the "ADA" argument. DOAH/the Courts are under the same ADA requirements as any other government entity. The ADA is an excuse or dodge as applied by Palmetto Bay.

Eugene Flinn

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