Because our decision in Koontz IV is entirely consistent with the decision of the United States Supreme Court, we adopt and reaffirm Koontz IV in its entirety and affirm the judgment below. We deny Appellant’s request to reopen the briefing. The constitutional issues decided by the United States Supreme Court were fully briefed here, and that Court’s holding does not set forth a new legal construct with which we must re-analyze these issues. To the extent that Appellant seeks to brief the state law issues left open by the Supreme Court, we conclude that those issues were either disposed of in Koontz I or Koontz IV, or they were not preserved and presented in those proceedings.
This is good news for property owners in Florida. As the Pacific Legal Foundation writes:
The Court of Appeal’s decision is an important win, not just for the Koontz family, but for all Floridians who face extortionate demands in the permitting process. Under the Court of Appeal’s interpretation of the relevant Florida statute, property owners can be compensated for the lost use of their land during the entire period the land-use agency engages in its extortionate practice.
Both my fellow bloggers, Gideon Kanner and Robert Thomas, think the St. Johns Water Management District will seek review in the Florida Supreme Court.
Maybe - but don't bet on it. Why? The Florida Supreme Court probably doesn't have jurisdiction to hear the case. The Florida Supreme Court has extremely limited jurisdiction compared to many other state high courts. Article V, section 3(b) of the Florida Constitution lays out its jurisdiction. None of the mandatory review provisions apply, and only two of the discretionary review provisions might apply:
(b) JURISDICTION.—The supreme court:As for article V, section 3(b)(3), there is no declaration a state statute is valid, there is no class of officers expressly affected, and no other district court of appeal has ruled on this issue in a way that directly conflicts with the 5th DCA's opinion. The only potential "in" for the St. Johns Water Management District would be to argue that the 5th DCA "expressly construes a provision of the state or federal constitution." But that's not really what the 5th DCA did, its re-adoption of St. Johns River Water Mgmt. Dist. v. Koontz, 5 So. 3d 8 (Fla. 5th DCA 2009) [Koontz IV] notwithstanding. Here, the 5th DCA is just saying that all issues have been disposed of previously, and to the extent they weren't, they haven't been preserved. You don't get Florida Supreme Court review for that.
(3) May review any decision of a district court of appeal that expressly declares valid a state statute, or that expressly construes a provision of the state or federal constitution, or that expressly affects a class of constitutional or state officers, or that expressly and directly conflicts with a decision of another district court of appeal or of the supreme court on the same question of law.
(4) May review any decision of a district court of appeal that passes upon a question certified by it to be of great public importance, or that is certified by it to be in direct conflict with a decision of another district court of appeal.
As for article V, section 3(b)(4), it's almost impossible to imagine the 5th DCA granting a motion by the St. Johns Water Management District like it did five years ago in Koontz IV. There, the court had wrestled with what it believed was an undecided questions of state and federal law. Here, on the other hand, the court writes "Because our decision in Koontz IV is entirely consistent with the decision of the United States Supreme Court, we adopt and reaffirm Koontz IV in its entirety and affirm the judgment below." And again, no other district court of appeal has ruled on this issue in a way that directly conflicts with the 5th DCA's opinion.
Is there a chance of a rehearing? Sure, there's always a chance, but I certainly wouldn't want to be the attorney who files a motion for rehearing in a case that the 5th DCA thinks is this open-and-shut. If I were the Koontz family, I'd feel pretty good right now. And as a property owner in Florida, I feel a little bit better.