Judge dismisses Barfield Sunshine suit


Judge dismisses Barfield Sunshine suit


Date: August 11, 2014
by: Alex Mahadevan | Digital Content Producer


A Sunshine lawsuit paralegal Michael Barfield filed against former Sarasota City Commissioner Terry Turner is effectively dead.

On Tuesday, Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Charles Williams dismissed the third amended complaint with prejudice in a suit aimed at forcing Turner to release messages sent from his personal email address in connection with a 2012 ballot initiative. Barfield, who works with the group Citizens for Sunshine, alleged Turner’s emails regarding the push for a “strong city manager” referendum were public records.

“The dismissal with prejudice means that the complaint cannot be amended again and re-filed,” said City Attorney Robert Fournier in an email to commissioners. “So in effect the case here in the local Circuit Court is over.”

The lawsuit was originally bundled with a complaint that accused members of the Downtown Improvement District of using personal email accounts for city business. Turner had released a batch of personal emails pertaining to matters related to his duties on the city commission in October 2012, but Barfield claimed the messages pertaining to the ballot initiative should be public.

The city claimed that Turner was acting as a citizen, and not a commissioner, in his support of Citizens for a Better Sarasota, the group that successfully petitioned to get the “strong city manager” amendment on the ballot. “The court apparently agreed with this view,” Fournier said in the email.

Voters rejected the amendment by more than 2,000 votes. 

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Currently 2 Responses

  • 1.
  • one has to wonder how he(Barfield) could waste so much time and impede the communications of people - 2 people in the same room and it's a sunshine law violation even if it's the bathroom!
    a little knowledge can take us all on a merry chase. in this case not enough common sense to understand that you cannot make the law bend to your desires and will. next up Mr. B will run for legislative office to make laws he likes.
  • Francine DiFilippo
    Tue 12th Aug 2014
    at 5:22pm
  • 2.
  • Besides finding that the Plaintiff failed to plead sufficient facts and that the court agreed with the recommendation of Magistrate Bailey, its ruling reads:
    The Plaintiff's additional allegations in the Third Amended Complaint amount to nothing more than unsupported legal conclusions and opinions, all matters which the Court need not take as true for the purposes of the instant Motion to Dismiss. The Court additionally finds that any subsequent attempts to amend the current Third Amended Complaint would be futile. The motion to Dismiss is granted with prejudice.
  • sarasotan
    Mon 11th Aug 2014
    at 5:36pm
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