Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center forced to reimburse Polk County expenses from frivolous lawsuit

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After a decisive victory against the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center on allegations over the mistreatment of juveniles detained in the Polk County, FL jail, the Polk County sheriff’s office sued lawyers for the SPLC to recover $1.1 million in legal fees and expenses the department incurred defending the frivolous lawsuit.
This week, a federal judge in Tampa ruled against legal sanctions that would force the SPLC to pay Polk County’s legal fees.
“Given the law’s ‘demanding standard for imposing sanctions,’ the Sheriff’s claim falls (barely) short,” U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday wrote in his order.
Merryday did however mandate the center reimburse the county $130,383 for expenses related to the lawsuit.
This week, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd took to Facebook to tell Polk County taxpayers the good news:

Back in April, I promised the taxpayers of Polk County that we would go after the legal costs and fees associated with this frivolous lawsuit, after U.S. District Court Judge Steven Merryday ruled in our favor that there was absolutely no evidence that juveniles in our county jail were being treated unfairly, as alleged by the plaintiffs. Not only did His Honor pen a 182-page ruling against their claims, he rebuked the SPLC for their legal arguments.

As you know, I am very fiscally conservative, and we are always looking for ways to save money. When we have to spend money defending ourselves against ridiculous allegations such as these, we will pursue every avenue to recover costs allowable by law. We couldn’t be more thrilled that we were able to recoup some of those dollars.

Southern Poverty Law Center check to Polk County

A photo of the check from SPLC that accompanied sheriff Grady’s Facebook post.

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