Sunday, October 21, 2012

Third Quarter 2012: Recent Florida Environmental and Land Use Case Law

The Florida Bar's Environmental and Land Use Law Section has posted its column on the environmental and land use cases in Florida that you need to know about for the third quarter of 2012. It's a relatively small bunch this time:
  • Southern Union Co. v. United States, - S. Ct. -, 2012 WL 2344465 (2012), determined that the Sixth Amendment protection requiring that juries determine any fact, other than a prior conviction, that increases a criminal defendant’s maximum potential sentence applies to the sentencing of criminal environmental fines. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the $18 million penalty assessed against Southern Union and sent the case back to the appeals court for further consideration.
  • FT Investments, Inc. v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, - So.3d -, 2012 WL 2138110 (Fla. 1st DCa 2012), holding that a third party defense to strict liability for petroleum contamination only applies if the purchaser of the contaminated property had no knowledge of the contamination after a reasonable inquiry. The takeaway here is that liability under the statute is strict - do not assume that just because you did not cause the contamination you cannot be held liable for it.
  • Department of Transportation v. Florida Gas Transmission Co., - So.3d -, 2012 WL 2014755 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012), discussing issues related to contractual interpretation of a gas pipeline easement.
  • Turkali v. Safety Harbor, Case no. 2D11-3649 (Fla. 2d DCA 2012), explaining, as I have discussed previously, that a "valid, bona fide appraisal" under the Bert J. Harris Private Property Protection Act must provide information about the value of the individual property at issue. As I discussed before, it's important to make sure that you follow the statute precisely to preserve your statutory rights.
As always, if you're interested in previous case law updates, take a look at my past posts for previous cases I've summarized about Florida environmental and land use law.