Current laws in Florida afford substantial protection to the “people behind the corporations” (corporate principals) and generally do not allow environmental permitting agencies such as the water management districts to consider such people in their permitting or enforcement efforts. This article poses the question “Do existing corporate law principles of limited liability defeat the important public policy of water resource protection in Florida?” First, in Parts II and III, this article introduces the problem and provides an overview of Florida water management district permitting and enforcement authorities and processes. Next, in Part IV, this article explores the existing legal authorities for water management districts to take into consideration past acts of corporations and corporate principals in permitting and enforcement actions. Part V provides a review of corporate legal protection, describes the various types of business entities that may be permit applicants, and provides an overview of legal mechanisms that can defeat limited liability. Part VI reviews a variety of existing laws, both state and federal, that authorize a permitting agency to peak behind the corporate form. Finally, Part VII of this article presents a number of considerations for change to address the problem.
Mary Jane Angelo, Charles Lobdell, & Tara Boonstra, Exalting the Corporate Form over Environmental Protection the Corporate Shell Game and the Enforcement of Water Management Law in Florida, 17 J. Land Use & Envtl. L. 89 (2001), available at http://scholarship.law.ufl.edu/facultypub/463