Joseph Byrd has become a fixture at the end of City Council meetings since taking over as City Attorney in January. In that time, he has given updates on lawsuits, introduced contracts and raised other last-minute issues during the City Attorney’s Report section, but at Wednesday’s meeting, he came bearing good news.

Byrd released an update on the Apopka vs. NEB Group case involving negligience by the city’s former Emergency Medical Service billing agent from 2007 until June of 2019 and its owner David Sulik. The update included an email from the Orange County Clerk of Courts that confirmed no one viewed confidential health information that was posted on its site by Sulik or an NEB representative under the title of “Response” to the City’s lawsuit.

Apopka City Attorney Joseph Byrd

In less than two months, Byrd has filed a lawsuit and two motions against the NEB Group, and in this latest motion, Byrd had the “Response” portion of the lawsuit sealed because it contained confidential health information according to Byrd, who wrote this in an update to the City Council on July 17th:

“Unknown to me, Mr. Sulik (or his employee) sent/filed a document entitled “Response” that included more than 1,000 pages of documents to the Orange County Clerk of Court. To my shock, I discovered hundreds of those pages contained Confidential Health Information of patients and were available as a public record on the Clerk of Court’s website. I learned of the filing late in the evening of Saturday, July 13, 2019 and on Monday morning, July 15, 2019 I filed a second motion for emergency temporary relief to seal the record to protect the privacy of an unknown number of patients transported by Apopka EMS.”

In the update, which was emailed to the City Council on July 26th, given to The Apopka Voice at the July 31st meeting as a general release for public information, and announced, Byrd explained the activity the document received on the Clerk’s site.

“…While the case has been accessed approximately 161 times, Mr. Sulik’s “Response” file was only viewed five times prior to my court approved viewing today – the five times that I viewed it in order to file the motion to seal it,” Byrd wrote in the release. “This means only I viewed the document and no one else in the public viewed it. This has been verified with a review of the history log of the computers I utilized to access the document. By having the record sealed on the City’s motion on July 15th, we insured that that information disclosed was not further used.”

On June 5th, Byrd filed an eight-count breach of contract complaint against the NEB Group and Sulik. He is also overseeing an investigation that he describes as “misconduct” in the Apopka Fire Department which began with written allegations from a confidential source received by the administration on April 29th.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Honestly, I just don’t understand this case at all. It says that the website was accessed 161 times, but that only our city attorney linked on five times to the website, and that he was the only one who viewed what was there, and not the general public, so who were the other 156 times……? I don’t expect the city attorney to answer my questions about this here, as I heard him say previously, that he doesn’t answer questions from citizens, and anyway, he has stated that he doesn’t read social media, so I just wonder why the city is sending out letters, about this subject to our citizens?

  2. I planned to go to the city council meeting Wednesday night, but right ahead of the time to go, it started some bad lightning and thunder with rain, and I changed my mind about going. I am honestly proud the Apopka City Council voted to keep the millage rate the same. I don’t think the millage rate will change, this late of a date, so again, I am very happy that you all did not go wild with the property tax millage rates. Thanks so much, city council. Now, don’t go wild with the user fees that you all are considering….Keep up the good work city council!

  3. I read the breaking news of the death of Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter found deceased, who was only 22 years old. This is so tragic. So many tragedies in their huge family, and I also heard on tv, that she also was the victim of an attempted abduction in the past, when she was out walking, and two men in a van attempted to abduct her. I assume, probably, wanting big money, in the form of a ransom was the plan, that failed. Is it really safe anywhere on this earth? I guess, I will always remember where I was when President John F. Kennedy was was murdered, and I will always want to cry, when I remember little John John saluting his daddy’s casket as it passed by, and I want to cry when I think about John Kennedy Jr. crashing the plane into the Atlantic, and he, his wife, and his sister-in-law dying so tragically. So very sad to learn about this latest Kennedy family member. God rest her troubled soul.

  4. Okay, it is getting annoying that the city council meetings, and other city meetings that are listed on the agenda, are not getting the audios of the meetings posted in a timely manner. Why is that? People like to listen to the meetings, if they didn’t attend. Bad enough that the packets aren’t posted, and now there is slacking on posting the audios.

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