Litigation Update

Currently I am serving as the plaintiff in a number of cases, some old and some new.  Here’s the breakdown:

Joel Chandler, et al v Stephanie Kopelousos, Secretary of Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

In early February oral arguments were presented to the 11th Federal Circuit in Atlanta.  The defendants (FDOT and Faneuil, Inc.) were appealing a federal judge’s ruling in Tampa which rejected their motion to dismiss our lawsuit on the grounds that they, the defendants, where entitled to sovereign immunity.

Prior to the defendant’s appeal we had been engaged in court ordered mediations.  Those meetings are strictly confidential so I cannot disclose any details.

The basic facts of this case are that we (my co-plaintiffs and I) have sued FDOT and Faneuil for what we believe was an unlawful policy whereby the defendants violated the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.  The policy required Faneuil employees to detain motorists on Florida’s Turnpike system when the motorists attempted to pay a toll with currency greater than $10.  The policy was well established and in place for more than a decade.

Since our litigation began the policy has been suspended and the gate arms at toll plazas have been removed.

Joel Chandler v City of Lakeland Police Department

This case has been moving very slowly forward.  Both sides have engaged in discovery and I believe we will see some resolution to this case soon.  The basic facts are that I sued the LPD for charging a flat rate of $23.50 for a single page public records that, by law, should have cost only $.15.

Joel Chandler and Robert Chandler v Corrections Corporation of America

This case went to trial in Moore haven Florida last month.  The judge ruled in our favor and concluded that in fact CCA had unlawfully denied our access to non-exempt public records.  We are waiting to see in CCA appeals that verdict.

The basic facts of this case were that my brother Robert and I visited the Moore haven Correctional Facility, a privately operated state prison for the purpose of making a public records request.  We were denied access and detained inside the prison for about an hour.

Joel Chandler and Robert Chandler v the Town of Southwest Ranches and the City of Pembroke Pines

At this point the defendants have filed “57-105’s”, a feeble attempt to intimidate us by threatening to counter-sue.  They are claiming our lawsuit is frivolous and therefore they will seek monetary damages from us. This has happened many times before and never worked.  First, the law and the facts are on our side; second, I’m not scared; third, these have always been dismissed because I don’t file frivolous lawsuits.

The basic facts are that Robert and I attempted to attend a publicly noticed meeting hosted by the Town Council of Southwest Ranches and the City Council of Pembroke Pines. These municipalities demanded, as a condition of entry, that we (and everyone else standing in line) fill out a form with our personal information and a written disclosure of our political affiliations.  We refused, the police and sheriff’s deputies physically removed us and we sued.

Joel Chandler v the Village of Key Biscayne

We have filed a petition for a writ of mandamus that would force the Village to comply with Florida’s Public Records Act.  I made a simple public records request and they responded by demanding that I provide personal information and prove that I am a human being and a citizen of Florida.  I know, but I can’t make this stuff up.

There are numerous other cases that I am consulting on.  Due to attorney-client privilege I cannot comment on those cases, however, as they settle I will post the facts and outcome of each case.

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4 Responses to Litigation Update

  1. Pecker Poliakov Piker says:

    I like you better than Joe Friday.

  2. kathy faye says:

    You remind me of Ross Burnaman, a Tallahassee attorney who won a Sunshine lawsuit against FL Turnpike for holding “secret” meetings on the Suncoast Parkway 2. It’s men like you that give me hope. Thanks, Mr. Chandler. I really enjoyed the litigation update.

    • Kathy,

      Thanks for your kind words of encouragement.

      • Toni says:

        Hello Joel, My name is Toni and I am from Broward County Florida. I have been trying to do something about sunpass for years. From reading a few things here and there about you and your experiences, I realize that you are just the person to help with this. I have been overcharged by sunpass for many years day after day and the issue has not been resolved. I am not talking about once a month but daily and mostly at the same plazas. From looking into this online it appears it has been going on for a long time for many people. Most people do not realize they can check their accounts for overages. I would like to know if there is any way you can get back to me with information on how to get some help for those of us who know they are being overcharged and those who have no idea. It is just not right, especially since there is no other option but SUNPASS!!!! Thank you for taking the time to listen… Toni

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