Court rejects beach closure case, questions if it was ‘frivolous’

Raising questions about whether the case was “frivolous” or filed in “bad faith,” an appeals court Friday rejected a Northwest Florida attorney’s lawsuit that sought to force Gov. Ron DeSantis to close beaches statewide to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Santa Rosa Beach attorney Daniel Uhlfelder, who has drawn national media attention during the pandemic because of public appearances dressed as the grim reaper, took the beach-closure case to the 1st District Court of Appeal after a Leon County circuit judge ruled against him.

But in a sharply worded one-page order Friday, a three-judge panel rejected the case, saying the appeals court has “reviewed the briefs and other filings in this case and finds that the appellant (Uhlfelder) fails to demonstrate even an arguable legal basis for reversal.”

“Moreover, the appellant shall show cause within fifteen days why this court should not impose sanctions, including attorney fees and costs, on him and counsel for filing this appeal, the initial brief, and the request for oral argument, which appear to be frivolous and/or filed in bad faith,” said the order by Judges Brad Thomas, Susan Kelsey and Adam Tanenbaum.

Uhlfelder filed the lawsuit against DeSantis in late March, arguing that the

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