Florida Senate - 2017 CS for SB 80
By the Committee on Community Affairs; and Senator Steube
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to public records; amending s. 119.12,
3 F.S.; requiring a complainant to timely provide
4 written notice of a public records request in order to
5 be entitled to the reasonable costs of enforcement,
6 including attorney fees, in certain civil actions for
7 enforcement of ch. 119, F.S.; providing that the award
8 of such attorney fees is within the discretion of the
9 court; specifying factors for a court to consider in
10 determining whether an agency unlawfully refused to
11 permit a public record to be inspected or copied;
12 authorizing a court to assess and award attorney fees
13 against a complainant if certain conditions exist;
14 specifying circumstances under which a court must
15 assess and award the reasonable costs of enforcement
16 against an agency; providing an effective date.
18 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
20 Section 1. Section 119.12, Florida Statutes, is amended to
22 119.12 Attorney
23 (1) If a civil action is filed against an agency to enforce
24 the provisions of this chapter and if the court determines that
25 the complainant provided written notice of the public records
26 request to the agency’s custodian of public records at least 5
27 business days before filing the civil action and the such agency
28 unlawfully refused to permit a public record to be inspected or
29 copied, the court may shall assess and award , against the
30 responsible agency responsible, the reasonable costs of
31 enforcement, including reasonable attorney attorneys’ fees.
32 (2)(a) In determining whether the responsible agency
33 unlawfully refused to permit a public record to be inspected or
34 copied, the court shall consider if the request to inspect or
35 copy the public record was made in bad faith or was made to
36 harass the agency or to cause a violation of this chapter and if
37 the responsible agency responded in good faith to the request to
38 inspect or copy the records.
39 (b) The court may assess and award reasonable attorney fees
40 against the complainant filing such an action if the court finds
41 the action was filed in bad faith or was frivolous.
42 (c) If the complainant shows by the preponderance of the
43 evidence that the agency intentionally or willfully refused to
44 permit a public record listed in the notice to be inspected or
45 copied, the court shall, after making such a finding, assess and
46 award the reasonable costs of enforcement against the
47 responsible agency, including reasonable attorney fees.
48 Section 2. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law.