1. Archive

Courts too must use recycled paper, justices rule

Florida's court system will use recycled paper just as the rest of state government does under rules adopted Thursday by the state Supreme Court.

The court also decided Thursday that a property manager doesn't always need a lawyer to evict tenants who fail to pay rent and affirmed that cities can condemn entire tracts of land even if only a small part is needed for a municipal purpose.

The justices found that requiring recycled paper to be used on all documents filed in state courts would not be a major burden on lawyers or the justice system, even though the requirement was opposed by the Florida Bar board of governors.

"The prices of recycled and non-recycled paper are about the same," the justices wrote. "There is no discernible difference in quality between recycled and non-recycled paper of similar grade and weight."

The Legislature and the executive branch of Florida government already observe recycled paper goals, requiring its use by all agencies that get state funds.

The Bar's board opposed the requirement as "another mandatory regulation" and questioned whether it could ever be enforced, the court's opinion said.

In another decision Thursday, the justices ruled that property managers can evict tenants for non-payment of rent without an attorney's help. The process involves filing complaints with courts and handling a number of other legal documents.

The property manager's powers are limited to uncontested cases, which the justices said is a "rather perfunctory process in which abuses seem unlikely."

The decision will remain in effect for one year, after which the court will review the situation.

The court also ruled that cities can use condemnation power to acquire an entire piece of property even if only part is needed for a government purpose.

The case arose from a dispute between business owners and the city of Ocala , which took an entire parcel to widen a city street in order to avoid paying such a claim.