Public records case against Town of Gulf Stream sent back to lower court

By Charmaine Little | Nov 11, 2018

PALM BEACH — The District Court of Appeal for the State of Florida in the Fourth District remanded a lower court’s dismissal of a public records case against the Town of Gulf Stream on Oct. 24.

While the appeals court concurred with the Circuit Court for the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County's decision to dismiss the case brought forward by Martin E. O’Boyle and Asset Enhancement on the basis of the state’s Sunshine Law, the appeals court reversed a portion of the case related to the Public Records Act.

The appeals court instructed the lower court to perform an in-camera inspection of the mayor's text messages to see if any of them could be considered public record.

Asset and O’Boyle accused the Town of violating the Public Records Act when it came to two public records requests. The first was for copies of bills and payments sent by the Town’s attorney. The second was for copies of any text messages the mayor sent or received since he was sworn into office.

They received redacted versions of the documents, leading to the initial court complaint. The town handed over the bills and payments without the redactions a few days later. The town then asked the court to dismiss the case, which it did, leading to the appeal.

Judge Mark W. Klingensmith authored the opinion. Judge Jeffrey T. Kuntz and Carole Y. Taylor concurred.

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