We have experience working with public and private educational institutions that serve students from Kindergarten through the collegiate level. In serving them, we have developed familiarity with the broad swath of laws applicable to these institutions, including as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Throughout Florida, our firm routinely serves as counsel for local governments, including municipalities, counties, and special purpose tax districts like community development districts. We provide assistance in eminent domain, real estate, commercial litigation, property rights and zoning disputes, and appellate litigation support.
Florida leads the nation in public access to its government meetings and records. Our State Constitution and the Public Records Act provides that our citizens have the right to inspect records of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of government at all levels. The Sunshine Law further provides that public meetings must be conducted in the open and in the “sunshine.” We frequently work with citizens and with public entities to ensure that access to public meetings and public records is provided in a timely and reasonable manner.
Public-Private Partnerships, nicknamed P3s, are getting a great deal of attention in Florida these days. These arrangements are especially common in infrastructure and large-scale redevelopment projects. They save taxpayers money and stimulate the economy. New laws provide for greater predictability and broaden the use of P3s, but there are still pitfalls for the unwary. We assist clients in understanding the detailed requirements and oversight of these programs and projects.
Public Procurement and Bid Protests
Our experience working for, with, and against state and local governments and special purpose tax districts has yielded an understanding in how these entities procure services from the private sector. When participating in the bidding process, private businesses must take great care in understanding the appropriate rules, regulations, and timelines. Afterwards, they must be prepared to move quickly under an accelerated process to protect their rights in regard to bid disputes and bid protests. We are able to work effectively in the design of the procurement and bid process, its implementation, and in the participation of the private sector in that process.
Special Purpose Tax Districts
According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, Florida has more than 1,600 independent and dependent special purpose taxing districts. These districts are governed by more than 30 statutes and recently reported a total of over $15 billion in revenues. Among the most commonly-known districts are community development districts (CDDs), community redevelopment districts, infrastructure districts, water control districts, among many others. These limited-purpose governmental units provide governmental services and infrastructure within their boundaries, and like local governments, must operate according to Florida’s Sunshine Laws. They finance their operations through taxes, property assessments, fees, and bonds. We have experience representing these districts, as well as landowners of properties within their boundaries.