Mandamus is an appropriate remedy to enforce compliance with the Public Records Act. See Chandler v. City of Greenacres, 140 So. 3d 1080, 1083 (Fla. 4th DCA 2014); Weeks v. Golden, 764 So. 2d 633 (Fla. 1st DCA 2000); Smith v. State, 696 So. 2d 814 (Fla. 2d DCA 1997); Donner v. Edelstein, 415 So. 2d 830 (Fla. 3d DCA 1982). See also Farmer v. State, 927 So. 2d 1075 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006) (trial court should treat motion to compel production of public records as petition for writ of mandamus); Major v. Hallandale Beach Police Department, 219 So. 3d 856 (Fla. 4th DCA 2017) (petition for writ of mandamus filed against a governmental agency must attach a copy of any record that supports the petition). Cf. Agency for Health Care Administration v. Zuckerman Spaeder, LLP, 221 So. 3d 1260 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017) (mandamus relief ordering agency to produce records within 48 hours and prior to requester’s payment of invoices or agency’s opportunity to review and redact exempt material was improper because agency’s duty was not “ministerial” and requester’s right to the records was not “indisputable”). If the requester’s petition presents a prima facie claim for relief, an order to show cause should be issued so that the claim may receive further consideration on the merits. Staton v. McMillan, 597 So. 2d 940 (Fla. 1st DCA 1992). Accord Gay v. State, 697 So. 2d 179 (Fla. 1st DCA 1997). See Radford v. Brock, 914 So. 2d 1066 (Fla. 2d DCA 2005) (trial judge dismissal of a writ of mandamus directed to clerk of court and court reporter who were alleged to be records custodians was erroneous because trial judge did not issue an alternative writ of mandamus requiring the clerk and court reporter to show cause why the writ should not be issued, and because there was no sworn evidence refuting the petitioner’s allegations).
Joe’s Comments: Lawsuits were required to get public documents. Still have the same problems today.