The Real Deal Miami

Miamians set to vote on whether they can sue their own city

City has repeatedly used argument of standing to defend itself from lawsuits

October 13, 2016 11:25AM

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Rendering of the SkyRise Miami tower

Rendering of the SkyRise Miami tower

Miami residents will vote on more than just who gets to be president this November.

A novel ballot question, prompted by a string of lawsuits involving controversial real estate projects, will decide whether Miamians have the explicit power to sue their city over charter violations.

According to the Miami Herald, the movement to amend the charter began last year after the Third District Court of Appeals struck down several suits against the city, alleging it violated its charter during deals with developments like SkyRise Miami and Grove Bay.

The rulings came down to a lack of standing, a repeated argument used by the city where residents had to prove they suffered a special injury not applicable to the general public.

But several of the plaintiffs in those cases, like developer Martin Margulies and Stephen Kneapler, also sat on a city committee that advises commissioners on charter amendments, the Herald reported. They pushed the item before the city commission, which voted 3-2 to place the item on November’s ballot earlier this year.

The movement has not been without critics, like attorney J.C. Planas, who’s represented the city on lawsuits involving SkyRise Miami. He told the Herald that the item will spawn a wave of litigation against the city each time residents disagree with decision.

“I can not understand how the city could have placed this on the ballot,” Planas told the Herald. “This will invite litigation and cause major problems for the city.” [Miami Herald]Sean Stewart-Muniz

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