It's actually not a surprise that the State of Florida has lost yet another ferociously-litigated citrus canker trial, this time in Lee County, but I did find this number eye-opening even to our jaded peepers:
Williams said that the canker-related litigation is the longest and most expensive litigation the state has ever been involved in as a defendant.
Documents filed during the Broward trial in 2011 showed the state had paid its attorneys $9.2 million. Gilbert estimates the state has spent at least $1 million more in legal fees since then.
However, the state does not plan to settle the two remaining lawsuits.
“The department’s position has not changed,” said Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services spokeswoman Amanda Bevis.Ok, I call bullcrap.
Wes Parsons, a Miami attorney representing the state, said the homeowners’ attorneys are seeking roughly $500 million for the tree payments and their fees and costs.
“The state of Florida does not have half a billion to pay the plaintiffs,” Parsons said.
While I have no doubt taxpayers have spent $10 million+ to lose repeatedly in court defending a half-baked program that was poorly designed and even more poorly executed, I have to believe the half billion number is a bogey man.
Are there not any competent mediators available to put this case to bed?
BTW, if you keep losing these cases, the number will rightly go up (or has no one thought of that?).
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