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FLORIDA JUDGE UPHOLDS ORANGE COUNTY TRIAL COURT’S JUDGEMENT AGAINST NONPARTISAN COUNTY CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICER ELECTIONS
Greenspoon Marder Successfully Represented Orange County Property Appraiser
Fort Lauderdale, FL – December 13, 2017 – A Greenspoon Marder team successfully argued in front of a Florida Appellate Court, which upheld a lower court’s final judgment entered in favor of Orange County constitutional officers. The Greenspoon team represented Property Appraiser Rick Singh against Orange County in the lawsuit, arguing that the county charter amendment regarding the nonpartisan election of certain county constitutional officers is contrary to state law.
In August 2014, the Orange County Board of Commissioners included a ballot question for Orange County voters proposing an amendment to the Orange County Charter to enact term limits and nonpartisan elections for six county constitutional officers: clerk of the circuit court, comptroller, property appraiser, sheriff, supervisor of elections, and tax collector. The majority of voters approved the amendment in November 2014, and the Orange County Charter was amended to include term limits of four consecutive full 4-year terms and election on a non-partisan basis for these officers.
Before the November 2014 election, three Orange County constitutional officers – the sheriff, property appraiser, and tax collector – filed a suit for declaratory and injunctive relief against Orange County, challenging the underlying county ordinance as well as the ballot title and summary. After the election, the trial court affirmed the term limits portion of the amendment, but struck down the nonpartisan elections portion, ruling that Orange County is prohibited from regulating nonpartisan elections for county constitutional officers since the subject matter was preempted to the Legislature.
On defense of the appeal, the Greenspoon Marder team cited Article VIII, section 1(g) of the Florida Constitution, which prohibits counties from enacting ordinances that are inconsistent with general law. In this case, Orange County cannot regulate the method and timing of its elections for county constitutional officers as the State has preempted the subject area. Chapter 105, Florida Statutes (2014) did not authorize counties to hold nonpartisan elections for the county constitutional officers that are the subject of the charter amendment at issue.
The Greenspoon Marder team representing Singh consisted of Shareholders
John H. Pelzer and Michael Marder.
About Greenspoon Marder
Greenspoon Marder is a national full-service business law firm with 240 attorneys and 26 locations across the United States. We are ranked amongst
American Lawyer’s Am Law 200, as one of the top law firms in the U.S. since 2015. Since our inception in 1981, our firm has been committed to providing excellent client service through our cross-disciplinary, client-team approach. Our mission is to understand the challenges that our clients face, build collaborative relationships, and craft creative solutions designed and executed with long-term strategic goals in mind. We serve Fortune 500, middle-market public and private companies, start-ups, emerging businesses, individuals and entrepreneurs nationwide.
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