Governmental Entity Defense
For over 25 years, a cornerstone of the firm’s practice has been its representation of counties, municipalities and public utilities. Dean, Ringers, Morgan & Lawton has enjoyed a close association with the Florida League of Cities and its member cities. These associations also include a 14-year history with Hernando County, a 4-year relationship with Orange County, and representation of nearly all of the municipalities located within 300 miles of Orlando.
The genesis of these close ties with local public entities is the firm’s commitment to understanding and consulting on issues important to local government. The firm’s attorneys are active members of organizations such as the Public Risk Management Association (PRIMA) and routinely lecture on issues ranging from safety programs to civil rights issues.
Our attorneys are frequently consulted by governmental risk managers regarding pending or proposed legislation affecting municipal clients. Along these lines we have drafted proposed statutory and ordinance changes and have authored opinions on legislative issues ranging from the merits of potential claims bills to sovereign immunity cap amendments.
The firm’s attorneys have represented public entities in every stage of litigation. Often, cases with potentially large exposures are referred to us immediately upon receipt of a Notice of Intent to Sue. Under such circumstances, we consult with the public entity with respect to preservation of evidence to avoid spoliation issues; the benefits and costs of pre-suit mediation; early evaluation of the merits of claims; and coordination of early investigations to memorialize testimony and evidence for anticipated claims. Many of these consultations have resulted in the local government avoiding a threatened lawsuit. Where lawsuits have been filed, we have successfully defended our clients in motion practice, mediation, trial and appeals. Our attorneys have arbitrated and tried cases involving virtually every aspect of governmental service, including police practices, claims of paramedic negligence in the provision of first responder care, inverse condemnation, unlawful taking and Bert Harris claims, improper maintenance of public utilities, fair housing claims, ADA accommodation claims, and claims involving permit denials and unlawful code enforcement.