Appeals Court Ruling: Tiny Broward Town Must Pay Huge Legal Fees






Tiny Southwest Ranches is facing an estimated $2 million in attorney fees after an appeals court ruling.

Its the latest chapter in the long battle over construction of an immigration detention center in the town. 

And this chapter could hit the residents of the leafy, horsy town hard. In the pocket.

Why some home owners may even have to sell their horses.




For roughly 15 years Pembroke Pines has fought against construction of a federal detention center for 1,800 immigrants near its western suburbs in Southwest Ranches. 

Southwest Ranches wanted the center, which was planned for town land in a sprawling industrial park.

After years of sniping in the media and law suits, the federal government pulled the plug on the proposed center. 

Southwest Ranches sued Pembroke Pines.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals earlier this month affirmed a jury’s earlier finding that Pembroke Pines was not liable for damages to Southwest Ranches for federal decision not to build the facility.

“The taxpayers of the Town of Southwest Ranches will now be responsible for paying the attorneys’ fees of both their own attorneys as well the attorneys for the City (of Pembroke Pines), a total amount of fees which will likely exceed $2,000,000,” crows a news release from Pembroke Pines.

That kind of money could hurt Southwest Ranches, especially because you can expect Pembroke Pines in being aggressive in collecting everything they are owed.

The town has only 7,500 residents. Its total operating budget for 2022-2023 is $18.8 million. 

The tiny town is expected to spend over $800,000 for “prosecutions and lawsuits” in the 2022-2023 budget year, the budget states. The ruling could push that figure, already large for a small community,  much higher if the town indeed has to pay Pembroke Pines’ legal fees, too. 

All this is contingent on the appeals court ruling holding up. And the $2 million figure from Pembroke Pines is correct. 

One legal expert who has watched the case questioned by Browardbeat called the $2 million figure “accurate.”

Regardless, the Southwest Ranches Town Hall crowd should face a blistering quizzing by residents.

The first question.Why did Town Hall kept pushing this law suit after losing a similar one filed by the Corrections Corporation of America over the same issues.

3 Responses to “Appeals Court Ruling: Tiny Broward Town Must Pay Huge Legal Fees”

  1. Rancher Fed Up says:

    Southwest Ranches should not even be a city. It should have been part of Pembroke Pines or Davie. Instead, it is duplicating the cost of everything and the bigger cities could do the job better..

  2. Citizen Observer says:

    Ever since SW Ranches was incorporated, weird stuff and bad decisions have been common.

  3. Rancher with info says:

    Buddy – Perhaps you should have done your job and called SWR. Many of your facts and figures are wrong.