Public agencies must take care to collect and maintain messages sent from smart phones and other portable devices. In Lorenzo v. City of Venice, Case No. 2008 CA 8108 SC (Fla. 12 Cir. Ct. Oct. 7, 2009), the City of Venice’s clerk was unable to produce email communications between City Council Members in response to a public records request. Several City Council Members had failed to copy the clerk on emails transmitted from their personal email accounts and smart phones, and the City council members had deleted their emails. The judge ordered the City to pay $777,114.42 in attorneys fees and costs, one of the highest and most costly judgments ever entered against a local government for violation of Florida’s public records laws.
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