Broward County Residents Sue State Over Killed Citrus Trees

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Attorneys representing Broward County homeowners are demanding the state pay a $20 million judgment for tearing down healthy citrus trees in a failed attempt to eradicate citrus canker.

The attorneys filed a motion Monday asking a judge to order the Florida Department of Agriculture pay the 70,000 homeowners and legal fees. 

Canker kills citrus trees. From 2000 to 2006, the state removed citrus trees within 1,900 feet of an infected tree.

The state gave $100 Walmart gift cards for the first tree killed and $55 cash for others, but courts ruled the average tree was worth $434 and ordered homeowners be compensated. The state says the Legislature must authorize the payments.

The state also owes $80 million to Palm Beach, Lee and Orange county homeowners. A Miami-Dade case remains open.

(Photo credit: Scott Barbour)

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