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Florida Residents Contemplate Class-Action Lawsuit After Algae Infestation

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

Residents of the waterfront community of Cape Coral, Florida are making it known to lawmakers in Lee County that they want their taxes lowered in response to the sudden infestation of foul smelling blue algae that has surrounded the community. Residents allege that the taxes they pay are high due to their close proximity to the water. However, now that the putrid smelling algae has moved in, homeowners and business owners say their properties have lost significant value. If the local government does not respond by lowering taxes, residents say they will not hesitate to file a class-action suit similar to the one filed against BP several years ago.

The Florida governor has declared Lee County, Palm Beach County, St. Lucie County and Martin County to be in a state of emergency because of the algae infestation. Residents in effected areas have taken to wearing protective gas masks when around the water due to not only the foul smell of the algae, but also because the algae is believed to cause respiratory issues and rashes.

The problem began when the Jacksonville District of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers drained a large amount of fresh water from Lake Okeechobee into surrounding canals to prevent the lake from flooding. However, Lake Okeechobee contains excessive amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus, which caused the toxic algae to form.

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