Quarterly summary of pending litigation in the city of Fernandina Beach

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City Attorney Tammi Bach

Prepared by Tammi Bach
Fernandina Beach City Attorney

 

I. CASE NAME: City of Fernandina Beach v. Isle De Mai a. DATE FILED: August 5, 2014

CASE SUMMARY: On or about May 1, 2014, the City discovered that Spanish Way East and Spanish Way West, public roads within the Isle De Mai subdivision, are prematurely failing due to being designed and constructed in a negligent manner that has caused the roads to be saturated with ground water which compromises the integrity and functionality of the roads for their intended use.

CASE STATUS AS OF: October 1, 2018
Discovery resumed in September 2017 and is ongoing, with depositions taken in January, March, and in May. The Judge has set a trial date in June 2019. The parties will have a mediation later this year also in June 2019. Jacobs, Scholz & Wyler is the primary firm representing the City in this case, and they are working on their witness lists.

CITY COSTS:

The City’s current costs are $34,763.89

II. CASE NAME: Dennis T. Hutto v. City of Fernandina Beach, et al. (2017-CA-17) a. DATE FILED: December 29, 2016

CASE SUMMARY: On December 23, 2014, the Fernandina Beach Police Department arrested Mr. Hutto on charges of hit and run and driving while driver’s license was suspended or revoked. Mr. Hutto’s driver’s license had been permanently revoked by the State of Florida on unrelated charges prior to his arrest by FBPD in 2014. Mr. Hutto was sentenced to 5 years in state prison for driving with a permanently revoked driver’s license. The hit and run charge was dropped by the state. Mr. Hutto currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida. On December 29, 2016, Mr. Hutto, representing himself (pro se), filed a lawsuit against the City alleging violation of his civil rights because the truck he was driving when he was arrested was towed from the scene. Mr. Hutto claims the City acquired title to his truck in a forfeiture proceeding, but the PD only had his truck towed. The tow business sold the truck for non- payment of storage fees while Mr. Hutto was incarcerated.

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Police Chief James Hurley was named individually as a defendant and recently dismissed by the Court based on the City’s Motion to Dismiss Party Defendant. All of the motions for summary judgment were filed on March 27, 2018. On March 28, 2018, the Court entered a Summary Judgment Notice advising that there will not be a hearing on these motions and they will be decide based on the motions and the responses. Plaintiff, Mr.Hutto’s responses to our motions are due on April 10, 2018.

The City’s insurer PGIT and claims administrator, PGCS are handling defense of the lawsuit and have assigned defense counsel in Jacksonville (Quintairos, Prieto et al.)

CASE STATUS AS OF: October 1, 2018
The action has been removed to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Jacksonville Division. Discovery is ongoing.

CITY COSTS:

The City will pay the insurance deductible of $10,000. PGIT pays the City’s defense costs.

III. CASE NAME: Maria Allen et al. v. City of Fernandina Beach & Island Art Incorporated a. DATE FILED: January 12, 2018

CASE SUMMARY: Maria Allen was allegedly injured when she fell on a sidewalk near Island Art Association because she tripped over an electrical cord taped to the City sidewalk while attending “Dickens on Centre” on or about December 11, 2016.

CASE STATUS AS OF: October 1, 2018
Discovery is ongoing. The Plaintiff, Ms. Allen has requested documents and insurance information from the Amelia Island Visitors and Convention Bureau since the incident occurred during“Dickens on Centre” event. Primary attorney for the City’s defense is Quintairos et al.

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CITY COSTS: PGCS $5,000 deductible

IV. CASE NAME: Dennis T. Hutto v. City of Fernandina Beach (Case No.: 2018-CA-253) a. DATE FILED: June 18, 2018

CASE SUMMARY: On December 23, 2014, the Fernandina Beach Police Department arrested Mr. Hutto on charges of hit and run and driving while driver’s license was suspended or revoked. Mr. Hutto’s driver’s license had been permanently revoked by the State of Floridaon unrelated charges prior to his arrest by FBPD in 2014. Mr. Hutto was sentenced to 5 yearsin state prison for driving with a permanently revoked driver’s license. The hit and run chargewas dropped by the state. Mr. Hutto currently resides in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to the above pending lawsuit, on June 18, 2017, Mr. Hutto, representing himself (pro se), filed a lawsuit in state court against the City alleging civil theft because the truck he was driving when he was arrested was towed from the scene and subsequently sold by the tow company. The tow business sold the truck for non-payment of storage fees while Mr. Hutto was incarcerated.

CASE STATUS AS OF: October 1, 2018
Primary attorney for the City’s defense is Quintairos et al. The City’s defense attorneys have attempted to settle this case by offering Mr. Hutto the value of the truck (around $5,000). Mr. Hutto has refused to settle each time an offer has been made

CITY COSTS: PGCS $5,000 deductible

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2 Responses to Quarterly summary of pending litigation in the city of Fernandina Beach

  1. Teri Donovan says:

    Wondering why the city is responsible for the cost of the truck. Shouldn’t he be suing the towing company?

  2. Dave Lott says:

    This is just crazy. Between the two lawsuits the City is out the total of $15,000 on an incident where Mr. Hutto wasn’t even driving. Should be a loser pays on this one or responsibility to the towing company IF they failed to follow proper notification procedures. I am sure that Chief Hurley is sleeping better knowing he was dropped from the lawsuit. LOL

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