Appeals court confirms no legal basis for AG suit by opponent

TAMPA, Fla. – Ryan Torrens, consumer protection attorney and former Democratic candidate for Florida Attorney General, today welcomed a First District Court of Appeal ruling this week that reversed a Circuit Court decision removing his name from the Aug. 28 primary ballot.

The appeals court’s three-judge panel unanimously ruled that Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers had no legal basis for ruling on a lawsuit brought against Torrens by his former primary opponent, Sean Shaw, asking the court to decertify him as a candidate for attorney general. The appeals court ordered Judge Karen Gievers to reverse her ruling late in the afternoon of Friday, Aug. 24, in which she ordered Torrens removed from the Tuesday, Aug. 28, primary ballot.

The appeals court held that the trial judge cited no legal authority to rule on Shaw’s challenge because the law specifically requires such matters to be handled through the Florida Elections Commission (FEC). Citing the applicable law, the appeals court ruled there “is no dispute that Torrens tendered ‘a properly executed check drawn upon the candidate’s campaign account.’” The appeals court specifically rejected Judge Gievers’ verdict, concluding that “the circuit court erred in declaring that Torrens failed to properly qualify.”

On the next workday after Judge Gievers’ verdict, just hours before the voting began, the appeals court had intervened and reinstated Torrens’ name to the ballot of the primary election, which was won by Shaw. Torrens said today, “I am gratified the appeals court felt compelled to issue its unanimous ruling this week, even though its legal reversal of course cannot change the outcome of the primary election or undo the negative impact the circuit court’s last-minute verdict had on my candidacy last August.”

“Our campaign for Florida Attorney General was never about me but was about the voters I was fighting for,” Torrens said. “We were the only campaign for attorney general that flat-out refused to accept even one dollar from the big corporate special interests that an attorney general must oversee on behalf of all Floridians. Today our supporters have been assured that their faith in our candidacy has been vindicated by the appeals court. Justice was done, not simply for me, but for the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who supported our determination to stand up to big special interests and fight for everyday Floridians once again.”

Torrens received the welcome news of the appeals court’s ruling on the day he won another major victory in Hillsborough County Circuit Court that prevented the U.S. Bank from foreclosing on the home of a Tampa family. “I’m pleased to be able to continue fighting on behalf of Florida consumers,” Torrens said.

You can find more about Ryan Torrens and his work at ###

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