More than one Martin County judge warned environmental icon Maggy Hurchalla over the past six years that lies and misrepresentations of fact are not protected free speech. The Fourth District Court of Appeals concurred today in a 12-page, unanimous opinion that Hurchalla's free speech privileges “were negated by malice on the part of Hurchalla.”
Environmentalist Maggy Hurchalla's day in court Wednesday was a day of tired adages, conflicting opinions, and "blurry lines" between federal and state laws on protected speech.
She held court among a throng of supporters in the courthouse lobby of the Fourth District Court of Appeal in West Palm Beach, convinced that her First Amendment rights would set her free from a Martin County Circuit Court jury's nearly $4.4 million judgment against her for interfering in a business contract.
U.S. Rep. Brian Mast was the man of the hour during the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' two public meetings in Stuart Tuesday. The Republican congressman's impassioned comments were first -- and untimed -- at both sessions, convened by the Army to get public input on the Corps' new Lake Okeechobee System Operating Manual, which will replace the Army's former Lake Okeechobee Regulation Schedule (LORS).
Many speakers, primarily from Martin County, acknowledged and directed their comments to the congressman, encouraging him, “Don't let up.”
A lot of people, including the attorneys of the second-highest ranked law firm in the U.S., WilmerHale of Washington D.C. and New York, recently joined the Maggy Hurchalla appeal. They will “help” the appellate court decide if a lower court's award of $4.4 million to Lake Point will stand.
Environmental icon Maggy Hurchalla has called in the cavalry. She apparently thought she needed more help than top-rated Florida law firm D'Alemberte & Palmer, PA could give her.
Environmental activist Maggy Hurchalla can no longer hope for a mistrial.
Still facing criminal charges for alleged public records violations in 2013, Martin County Commissioner Sarah Heard, a Republican, filed for re-election June 22, on the last day of the qualifying period. She paid the $3,810 qualifying fee from a $5,000 loan to herself and rented a post office box in Palm City.
Environmental activist Maggy Hurchalla's appeal of a $4.3 million judgment by a Martin County jury on Feb. 14 has not gone well for her. At least, not until now.
Tampa Bay Times reporter Craig Pittman undermined the public's trust of venerable news organizations with his May 12 article, “Only in Florida: Battle over water, free speech pits billionaire vs. activist.”
On the surface, it appears to be a legal dispute between the South Florida Water Management District and the Everglades Law Center -- then again, this is Martin County, where things aren’t often as they appear, and where misinformation and hyperbole seem to rule.
The argument over whether the transcript of a SFWMD mediation meeting among its attorneys and the district's governing board should be made public under the state's Sunshine Laws, Chapter 119, or remain confidential under the state's mediation laws, Chapter 44, is now before the Fourth District Court of Appeal.