The Attorney General, as the State of Florida’s constitutionally designated "chief legal officer," is called upon to represent the state and its officials in any civil action which affects the state’s interests. The State Programs Bureau, General Civil Litigation Division, is the quintessential "generalist" branch of the Office of the Attorney General and is charged with defending a wide variety of actions in both state and federal court, at both the trial and appellate levels. The "clients" of this bureau are all the state departments and agencies from all three branches of state government, including their individual officials and employees. Attorneys from this bureau routinely handle: suits which challenge the constitutionality of the general laws of the state; suits that seek damages for tort claims which are coupled with §1983 civil rights issues; construction litigation involving the departments, agencies and the state universities; specialized administrative litigation before the Division of Administrative Hearings, including bid protests; the defense of judges and state attorneys in lawsuits, discovery and extraordinary writs; and occasionally as plaintiffs, sue individuals, groups or business entities on behalf of our state clients.
Additionally, this bureau is charged with representing the state in class action civil rights lawsuits encompassing claims for prospective injunctive or declaratory relief, which seek systemic or institutional reform of state programs or systems. Often times such litigation seeks to alter the public policy of the state or to increase the available funding for a certain program or group of individuals on a statewide basis. Many such lawsuits have already been resolved through settlement agreements or "consent decrees" where the court, usually a federal district court, maintains jurisdiction over the parties to enforce the terms of the consent decree. Because systemic reform is often complicated, consent decrees routinely last for several years and, in some instances, may last for decades. It is the mission of this bureau to resolve these actions as expeditiously as possible so that the business of state government is able to function smoothly and efficiently.
For more information on this bureau, please call (850) 414-3300.