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from Florida's Circuit and County Courts

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Judges -- Code of Judicial Conduct -- Disqualification -- Judge who receives no alimony or support from former spouse is not required to disclose or disqualify self when former law partner of former spouse, who still rents office space from and shares receptionist with former spouse, appears before judge
VIEW OPINION

Judges -- Code of Judicial Conduct -- Fundraising -- It is not permissible for judge to accept award and be inducted into hall of fame where advertisements in ceremony program are sold to raise funds for sponsoring organization, even if judge informs organization that judge's name and office cannot be used for fundraising in any way
VIEW OPINION

Judges -- Code of Judicial Conduct -- Judge who has learned derogatory nonpublic information about party during domestic violence hearing that causes judge to question ability of party to interact with children may not disclose that information to employer who is training party to perform work that would involve interaction with children
VIEW OPINION

Judges -- Code of Judicial Conduct -- Extrajudicial activities -- Judge can teach training session for court personnel learning to deal with domestic violence issues, so long as teaching activities do not cast reasonable doubt on judge's capacity to act impartially
VIEW OPINION

Judges -- Code of Judicial Conduct -- Fundraising -- Judge may participate as team member and team captain in walk/run fundraiser for bar association's pro bono projects, but may not personally or directly solicit others to participate unless those persons are other judges over whom judge exercises no supervisory or appellate authority
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Demand letter -- Sufficiency -- PIP statute does not require that demand letter include bills already reduced to Medicare fee schedule -- Compliance with demand letter requirement is question of law, not jury question -- Accordingly, there is not merit to insurer's contention that plaintiff's suit must fail if a jury ultimately issues a verdict in the provider's favor for an amount other than the exact amount specified in demand letter
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Automobile -- Action for balance of claim for windshield replacement paid at reduced rate -- Count alleging breach of contract by failing to pay claim within reasonable time is dismissed with prejudice -- Plaintiff has not alleged any policy term or statutory provision governing timeliness of payment for windshield loss claims -- Count alleging breach of contract by failing to pay appropriate and adequate amount on claim is dismissed without prejudice where plaintiff has failed to allege policy terms breached -- Plaintiff is not required to allege specific amount due and need only allege general damages unless he has items of special damages -- Count seeking declaratory judgment as to propriety of insurer's competitive bid process is dismissed without prejudice, as plaintiff has failed to allege necessary elements of declaratory action
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Venue -- Insurer waived right to object to venue by failing to appear at pre-trial conference and challenge venue or submit affidavit at least seven days prior to pre-trial conference -- Venue is proper in county where money is due -- Motion to dismiss denied -- Motion for transfer for convenience of parties or witnesses is denied, as insurer has failed to establish substantial inconvenience
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Emergency services -- Deductible -- Because insurer is mandated by statute to reserve $5,000 for emergency services providers, insurer should not have applied claim by plaintiff provider within that classification to deductible
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Property -- Standing -- Assignment -- Plaintiff who obtained post-loss assignment of benefits has standing to bring action against insurer
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Driving under influence -- Evidence -- Refusal to submit to blood test -- Impracticality or impossibility of breath test -- Where defendant who was transported to hospital after single-vehicle crash was released from hospital within two hours of accident and transported to facility equipped with Intoxilyzer, breath test was neither impossible nor impracticable -- Motion to suppress refusal to submit to blood test at hospital is granted
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Driving under influence -- Search and seizure -- Vehicle stop -- Tip -- Where deputy did not corroborate anonymous tip that defendant's vehicle had been involved in traffic crash before conducting traffic stop, stop was illegal -- All information obtained after stop is suppressed as fruit of poisonous tree
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Driving under influence -- Search and seizure -- Detention -- Where officer who stopped defendant for driving in dark without headlights lit did not observe any indicia of impairment other than slight odor of alcohol and slightly slurred speech, officer did not have reasonable suspicion to detain defendant for DUI investigation -- Motion to suppress is granted
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Discovery -- Depositions -- Failure to attend -- Sanctions
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Reasonableness of charges -- Summary judgment -- Opposing affidavits filed by insurer do not preclude summary judgment in favor of medical provider on issue of reasonableness of x-ray charges where affidavits are conclusory, lack foundation, and are contrary to insurer's previous position, and affiants are not qualified to render opinion on reasonableness of charges -- Insurer is precluded from relying on Medicare fee schedule to determine reimbursement level when it did not adopt fee schedule in its policy
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Coverage -- Reasonable, related and necessary expenses
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Reasonableness of charges -- Summary judgment -- Affidavits filed by medical provider are sufficient to meet provider's burden on summary judgment regarding reasonableness of x-ray charges where affidavits set forth factual basis for opinions -- Opposing affidavit and independent medical examination report filed by insurer do not preclude summary judgment in favor of provider on issue of reasonableness of charges where IME report concludes that charges were reasonable and affidavit is conclusory and lacks foundation
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Reasonableness of charges -- Summary judgment -- Medicare and TriCare fee schedules filed by insurer do not preclude summary judgment in favor of medical provider on issue of reasonableness of charges -- Medical provider is not required to provide expert testimony regarding reasonableness of medical bills; prima facie showing of reasonableness can be established by presenting bills along with testimony that services were provided to insured
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Discovery -- Documents -- HMO/PPO documents are not discoverable
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Attorney's fees -- Confession of judgment -- Payment of benefits in excess of $2,500 emergency medical condition limitation upon receipt of determination of emergency medical condition after suit was filed constitutes confession of judgment entitling medical provider to award of attorney's fees and costs -- If insurer was in doubt as to existence of emergency medical condition upon receipt of notice of loss that did not contain emergency medical condition determination, it was incumbent upon insurer to make request for additional information under section 627.736(6)(b) -- Where insurer that did not receive emergency medical condition determination with notice of loss failed to timely pay benefits in excess of $2,500 limit without making request for additional information, and instead obtained unauthorized peer review determining that insured did not have emergency medical condition, provider was authorized to file suit for balance of bill after submitting pre-suit demand letter -- No merit to insurer's arguments that 30-day payment deadline did not begin to run for expenses over $2,500 until provider submitted emergency medical condition determination during course of litigation or that suit was premature
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Discovery -- Failure to comply -- Contempt -- Sanctions -- Where insurer demonstrated gross negligence in disregarding three discovery orders, law firm has been previously sanctioned for violation of court orders, one-year delay in discovery has prejudiced medical provider, there is no reasonable credible justification for failure to comply with orders, and delay created significant problems of judicial administration, all defenses in insurer's answer are stricken, insurer is precluded from presenting any evidence in support of material misrepresentation defense that was subject of discovery requests, and monetary sanctions are imposed
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Discovery -- Depositions -- Failure to attend -- Order finding insurer in contempt and imposing monetary sanctions for failure of corporate representative to attend court-ordered deposition is vacated
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Lawfully rendered services -- Where, during time of insured's treatment, medical provider falsely identified licensed massage therapist as owner of provider in order to circumvent requirements of PIP statute and Florida Health Care Clinic Act, neither insurer nor insured are liable to provider for charges for services
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Lawfully rendered services -- Where, during time of insured's treatment, medical provider falsely identified licensed massage therapist as owner of provider in order to circumvent requirements of PIP statute and Florida Health Care Clinic Act, neither insurer nor insured are liable to provider for charges for services
VIEW OPINION

Civil procedure -- Discovery -- Failure to comply -- Sanctions -- Plaintiff's pleadings are stricken and its case is dismissed as sanctions for willful noncompliance with three orders compelling discovery responses
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Possession of cannabis -- Search and seizure -- Vehicle stop -- Traffic infraction -- Move over law -- Where defendant and his passenger testified that they saw overhead lights activated as they approached patrol vehicle stopped at roadside, but that no lights were on when they passed patrol vehicle, and state did not present any evidence to corroborate deputy's testimony that he activated rear light bar when he turned off overhead lights, state has not met burden to establish that stop for violation of Move over law was valid -- Motion to suppress is granted
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Demand letter that failed to delineate CPT codes at issue, alleged billed amounts and dates of services that were incorrect and differed from entries on attached patient ledger, and failed to accurately account for payments by insurer does not satisfy condition precedent to PIP suit
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Reasonableness of charges -- Summary judgment -- Opposing affidavit filed by insurer does not preclude summary judgment in favor of medical provider on issue of reasonableness of MRI charge where affidavit is conclusory and lacks foundation, and affiant is not qualified to render opinion on reasonableness of charge -- Fact that Medicare and private health insurance pay less than amount billed by provider does not, by itself, create factual issue as to reasonableness of charge
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Timeliness of claim -- Insurer may not challenge timeliness of claim for which it has already paid PIP benefits
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Arbitration -- Motion to vacate final judgment on arbitrator's decision and allow trial de novo is denied where motion was not made under oath -- Even if motion had been properly made under oath, it does not establish that plaintiff, who waited more than one month after receipt of final judgment to file motion to vacate, acted diligently in seeking relief
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Automobile -- Claim that defendant is not insurer for plaintiff's assignee is not grounds for motion to dismiss and should be raised, instead, as affirmative defense
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Discovery -- Interrogatories -- Insurer's claims processing procedures and method of determining reasonableness of charges and reimbursement levels in community -- Scope of discovery
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Affirmative defenses -- Accord and satisfaction -- Notation on letter accompanying check fails to meet conspicuousness requirement for statutory accord and satisfaction -- Elements of common law accord and satisfaction not met
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Related and necessary services -- Insurer may not challenge relatedness and necessity of services for which it has already paid benefits
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Discovery -- Interrogatories -- Use of medical billing software -- Scope of discovery
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Reasonableness of charges -- Summary judgment -- Opposing affidavits filed by insurer do not preclude summary judgment in favor of medical provider on issue of reasonableness of charges where one affiant was not disclosed as required by court order, and insurer stipulated that second affiant would only testify as to relatedness and necessity of charges -- Even if court considered affidavit of second affiant, court would find it wholly unreliable where affiant signed original affidavit that makes no sense in context of case before filing amended affidavit that is substantively different from original -- Moreover, opinions in affidavit lack foundation
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Discovery -- Insurer is not entitled to discover documents reflecting amounts accepted by medical provider as reimbursement from self-pay patients, workers' compensation carriers, Medicare and Medicaid and from other private health insurers with which provider has negotiated rate contracts -- Insurer is entitled to discover reimbursement amounts accepted by provider from other PIP carriers
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Deductible -- Proper formula for payment of PIP claim requires that deductible be subtracted from total billing amount before statutory reductions are applied
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Commercial general liability insurer of subcontractor responsible for window installation on construction project owed duty to defend general contractor against action for property damage caused by defects in window installation where general contractor is additional insured under policy -- Insurer who did not agree to defend general contractor is jointly and severally liable for all attorney's fees and costs incurred by contractor, including pre-tender fees
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Class actions -- Injunctions -- Injunctive relief is not available to redress withholding of PIP benefits -- Class action for PIP benefits is inappropriate due to pre-suit demand letter requirement -- Plaintiff may pursue action for PIP benefits individually after satisfaction of demand letter requirement
VIEW OPINION

Dependent children -- Termination of parental rights -- Contempt -- Order adjudicating Department of Children and Families in contempt for failure to provide pre-termination assessment of suitability of relative caregiver as adoptive candidate is vacated upon department's representation that caregiver has been investigated and is acceptable adoptive candidate
VIEW OPINION

Child support -- Enforcement -- Income withholding order entered to pay public assistance arrears is vacated where obligor is Supplemental Security Income recipient
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Deductible -- Class action alleging insurer improperly applied deductible to bills of proposed class of medical providers -- Necessary and individualized determinations of reasonableness of bills of each medical provider in proposed class and each provider's compliance with pre-suit demand letter requirement renders action inappropriate for class action treatment -- Motion to dismiss is granted as to class allegations but denied as to individual claims
VIEW OPINION

Dependent children -- Termination of parental rights -- Where father repeatedly shot children's mother in their presence, pointed gun at and threatened children and then fled leaving children alone with dying mother, termination of father's parental rights is authorized based on findings that father engaged in egregious conduct that endangered children and murdered children's other parent -- Father's conduct does not meet statutory definition of aggravated child abuse warranting termination of rights -- Termination of parental rights is in children's manifest best interest where father has no capacity or disposition to care for children, aunt with whom children now reside wants to adopt children, and children lack any emotional ties to father and want termination of his rights -- Termination is least restrictive means to protect children from severe emotional harm that they would suffer if forced to endure father as parent any longer
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Traffic infractions -- Sentencing -- Florida law does not prohibit court from withholding adjudication for driver holding commercial driver's license who enters plea of nolo contendere -- Withhold of adjudication does not constitute prohibited “masking” of commercial driver's record where sentencing order does not provide for dismissal of citation upon payment of fine or satisfaction of other sanctions -- Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles' expressed intent to return withhold orders to court clerk as errors would violate separation of powers -- Legislature has probably given department authority to consider withhold of adjudication of commercial driver as conviction in administering chapter 322
VIEW OPINION

Mortgages -- Foreclosure -- Standing -- Foreclosure complaint in which plaintiff asserts standing as holder of note is contradicted by attached promissory note with variable-balance feature that removes note from sphere of negotiable instruments that can be enforced by holder under section 673.3011(1) -- Complaint dismissed with leave to amend
VIEW OPINION

Torts -- Settlement -- Allocation -- Medicaid lien -- Agency for Health Care Administration may only assert lien against that portion of settlement representing compensation for past medical expenses -- AHCA is ordered to accept $115,437.27 in satisfaction of $360,741.48 Medicaid lien
VIEW OPINION

Torts -- Discovery -- Compulsory medical examination -- Conditions of CME defense examination established
VIEW OPINION

Mortgages -- Foreclosure sale -- Stay pending appeal
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Suspension -- Refusal to submit to breath test -- Lawfulness of detention -- Hearing officer's finding that officers had reasonable suspicion to detain licensee for DUI investigation is supported by competent substantial evidence, notwithstanding officer's testimony that licensee's speech was not slurred but “just different,” where officers' booking reports state that licensee had slurred speech and glassy bloodshot eyes and admitted to having “probably a little too much” to drink
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Suspension -- Refusal to submit to breath test -- Hearing -- Failure of subpoenaed witness to appear -- Hearing officer did not deny licensee due process by failing to invalidate suspension due to officer's failure to appear at hearing where hearing was continued and licensee was able to examine officer at continued hearing -- Hearing officer did not depart from neutrality by limiting licensee's questioning of officer about his request for continuance of initial hearing where questions were outside scope of hearing
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Confession of error
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Suspension -- Refusal to submit to breath and urine tests -- Where licensee was requested to submit to breath and urine tests as unified combination, but there was no factual basis to support request for urine test, refusal to perform both tests was not violation of law -- Order upholding license suspension is quashed
VIEW OPINION

Landlord-tenant -- Eviction -- Appeals -- Jurisdiction -- Non-final order determining amount of rent owed and requiring deposit of rent into court registry is not appealable non-final order determining immediate possession of property
VIEW OPINION

Counties -- Zoning -- Certiorari challenge to county board of adjustment's grant of special exception to height limitation of communication tower to be erected in residential area and variance of setback requirements from adjacent properties -- Board was not prohibited from considering requests for special exception and variance separately -- Competent substantial evidence supports decision to grant special exception to height limitation -- Where application demonstrates that board considered whether it would be unnecessary hardship for respondent if request for special exception from height limitation was not granted but does not indicate that board considered whether denial of variance as to setbacks would create unnecessary hardship, board departed from essential requirements of law in granting variance
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Suspension -- Refusal to submit to breath test -- Lawfulness of stop -- Officer's encounter with licensee, who was seated in vehicle with engine running in parking lot of gas station open for business, became a detention and seizure when officer told licensee to “stay there” while officer exited his vehicle -- Observation of licensee moving his vehicle from one side of the building to the other and observation that licensee had red skin and glossy eyes did not provide reasonable suspicion of criminal activity justifying detention -- Hearing officer departed from essential requirements of law in determining that licensee was not unlawfully seized and in denying motion to invalidate suspension
VIEW OPINION

Liens -- Motor vehicle repairs -- Appeals -- Appellant who brought action contesting claim of lien and sale of her motor vehicle under section 713.585 cannot raise issue of applicability of Florida Motor Vehicle Repair Act for first time on appeal -- Appellant cannot raise on appeal argument that trial court erred in awarding attorney's fees and costs to appellee because appellee failed to serve affidavits evidencing those fees and costs on appellant where appellant failed to raise issue in motion for rehearing below
VIEW OPINION

Appeals -- Timeliness -- Motion for reconsideration of order denying motion for relief from judgment is not authorized and did not toll time for filing appeal -- Appeal filed more than 30 days after entry of order denying motion for relief from judgment is untimely
VIEW OPINION

Landlord-tenant -- Eviction -- Default -- Failure to deposit rent into court registry -- Tenant alleging defense of failure to satisfactorily maintain premises was required to deposit accrued rent into court registry, and failure to do so entitled landlord to immediate default judgment for possession
VIEW OPINION

Municipal corporations -- Ordinances -- Trespass warning -- Certiorari challenge to hearing master's order upholding trespass warning that banned petitioner from entry into city park for one year is denied -- City's trespass warning appeal process provided petitioner procedural due process -- Double jeopardy -- No merit to argument that issuance of trespass warning to petitioner who also entered plea to charge of trespass in city park and was sentenced in criminal court violates double jeopardy where issuance of trespass warning is not criminal punishment, and civil sanction of prohibiting park access for one year is not so inherently punitive as to rise to level of criminal punishment
VIEW OPINION

Torts -- Automobile accident -- Suit for diminished value of vehicle involved in accident -- Summary judgment -- Error to enter summary judgment in favor of defendant where defendant's argument that plaintiff's claim does not take into account subsequent damage to vehicle in second accident establishes that there is factual issue to be resolved -- Trial court's function when defendant moves for summary judgment is solely to determine whether record conclusively shows that plaintiff's claim cannot be proved as a matter of law and the defendant is entitled to judgment -- If summary judgment was entered on basis that there can be no diminished value claim after repairs as matter of law, this was error -- If summary judgment was entered on basis of spoliation of evidence because plaintiff has sold vehicle, this was improper where issue was not raised in written motion
VIEW OPINION

Consumer law -- Debt collection -- Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act -- Direct communication with person represented by counsel -- Summary judgment -- Trial court did not err in determining as matter of law that advertisement for debt mitigation workshop was informational only and not communication made in connection with collection of debt in violation of FCCPA where advertisement did not contain any identifying information regarding plaintiff and did not make specific demands for financial information -- Trial court correctly rejected argument that fact that advertisement included statement required by Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, stating that it was attempt to collect debt, created issue of fact as to whether letter was unlawful demand for payment -- Trial court correctly found that letter required by Home Affordable Modification Program was not attempt to collect debt and not violation of FCCPA
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Jury trial -- Error to conduct or attempt to conduct bench trial where defendant had made written request for jury trial, and there is no evidence that defendant waived jury trial right or that state consented to such waiver -- Abuse of discretion to dismiss case because state's first witness was not present in courtroom at precise moment court wanted to begin trial
VIEW OPINION

Torts -- Automobile accident -- Rear-end collision -- Action for property damage brought by owner of lead vehicle against driver of following vehicle, which was itself struck from the rear by a third vehicle -- Evidence -- Trial court erred in allowing testimony by plaintiff, who was not present during accident and had no personal knowledge of accident -- Trial court further erred in allowing plaintiff to rely openly on inadmissible accident report during his testimony, allowing plaintiff to present impermissible hearsay testimony about the accident report, and allowing plaintiff to present the former testimony of the third driver involved the accident, which testimony was given in separate lawsuit -- Cross-examination -- Trial court violated due process by preventing defendant from cross-examining plaintiff as to amount of damages his vehicle sustained in accident -- Trial court erred in failing to apportion and offset negligence from second tortfeasor in three-car accident when finding defendant negligent
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Discovery -- Appeals -- Order denying insurer's request for production of insured's employment records does not merit certiorari review where insurer claims records are necessary to establish that accident may have been staged during time that elapsed between time of accident reported by insured and actual time of accident, but insurer's affirmative defenses and counterclaim plead material misrepresentations in application, not fraud from staged accident, and records are unlikely to lead to additional evidence of fraud by insured who has admitted to time discrepancy
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- PIP policy that subjects payments to any and all limitations authorized by PIP statute, including all fee schedules, clearly and unambiguously elects to limit reimbursement to permissive statutory fee schedule
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Attorney's fees -- Proposal for settlement that allocates half of proposed settlement amount to PIP claim and half to attorney's fees was not invalid joint offer -- Error to deny motion for entitlement to attorney's fees and costs
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Indecent exposure -- Jurors -- Challenge -- Cause -- No error in denying cause challenge based on juror's expression of discomfort about public masturbation where juror did not express bias based on life experiences or indicate that she was biased or prejudiced against defendant, and trial court's finding that juror could set aside discomfort is supported by record
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Suspension -- Driving under influence -- Hearing -- Due process -- Hearing officer deprived licensee of due process by preventing him from proffering evidence regarding flow meter, which he sought to introduce to challenge validity of breath sample used to test his breath-alcohol content -- Order upholding license suspension is quashed -- Remand for further proceedings is inappropriate where suspension has expired
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Automobile -- Discovery -- Trade secret privilege -- Trial court erred in compelling disclosure of competitive pricing survey relied upon by insurer in making estimate of cost of automobile repair work without determining whether survey constituted trade secret and, if so, whether there was reasonable necessity for production
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Battery -- Evidence -- Hearsay -- Error to allow detective to testify that he was told that defendant was initial aggressor in altercation leading to battery charge -- Error was harmless where detective's hearsay testimony was cumulative to other non-hearsay testimony identifying defendant as initial aggressor
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Domestic violence -- Violation of injunction -- Verdict form -- Error to let jury deliberate on two separate incidents of violation of injunction for protection against domestic violence where state charged only one violation -- Trial court should have included special interrogatory on verdict form to ensure unanimous verdict on incident that state was pursuing -- Error in verdict form was not remedied by instruction that jury must return unanimous verdict where jury was not instructed that they must unanimously agree on which incident constituted violation of injunction -- New trial required
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Competency to stand trial -- Dismissal -- Error to dismiss cases where competency evaluations were conducted but trial court never held hearing or made findings that defendant was incompetent to stand trial, defendant remains incompetent to stand trial, and there is no substantial likelihood that defendant will become mentally competent to stand trial in foreseeable future
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Possession of cannabis -- Jury trial -- Waiver -- New trial is required where trial court failed to obtain valid written or oral jury trial waiver
VIEW OPINION

Traffic infractions -- Hearing -- Civil infraction hearing on speeding citation was mandatory where defendant was cited for driving more than 30 mph over speed limit -- Appeals -- Absence of transcript -- Affirmance of hearing officer's determination of guilt and imposition of sentence
VIEW OPINION

Landlord-tenant -- Jurisdiction -- Funds deposited into county court registry -- County court erred in holding evidentiary hearing regarding disbursement of funds deposited into court registry by tenant without adequate notice to tenant and after it had already dismissed eviction action
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Dismissal -- Competency to stand trial -- Trial court erred in dismissing charges against defendant who had been found incompetent to stand trial one year previously without holding evidentiary hearing and finding that defendant remained incompetent to proceed, there was no substantial probability that defendant would be competent to proceed in foreseeable future, and that defendant does not meet criteria for commitment
VIEW OPINION

Traffic infractions -- Appeals -- Absence of transcript -- Affirmance of lower court ruling
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Possession of cannabis -- Search and seizure -- Investigatory stop -- Trial court's finding that officer could not have seen marijuana inside rolled up baggie from 30 feet away at night in gas station parking lot is supported by competent substantial evidence -- Where officer could not see drugs in baggie and event occurred in area that does not have reputation for drug transactions or significant history of narcotic arrests, trial court did not err in finding that officer did not have reasonable suspicion for stop -- Order granting motion to suppress affirmed
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Petit theft -- No abuse of discretion in permitting Secret Service agent to testify that defendant, who was arrested after she attempted to pay for merchandise with counterfeit bill, stated that she used to steal where probative value of statement was not outweighed by any potential prejudice since defendant admitted in response to questioning by defense counsel that she had four prior convictions involving dishonesty -- No abuse of discretion in permitting testimony regarding defendant's use of false name at time of arrest and her use of other aliases -- Testimony was relevant and admissible as evidence of defendant's attempt to evade law enforcement and consciousness of guilt -- Issue of whether trial court abused discretion by not allowing defendant to clarify testimony that her prior convictions were disposed of through no contest pleas was not preserved for appellate review by contemporaneous objection
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Domestic battery -- References to defendant being incarcerated not preserved for appellate review where defense counsel did not object -- Comments did not constitute fundamental error where they did not go to merits or foundation of case and were not focal point of trial
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Suspension -- Refusal to submit to breath test -- Hearing -- Due process -- Licensee was deprived of due process where he was not permitted to question breath test operator about her impressions of licensee at jail or make proffer of operator's testimony -- Argument that hearing officer improperly considered licensee's failure to perform field sobriety exercises as evidence of probable cause without determining whether licensee was conscious of consequences of refusal prior to refusing is speculative where hearing officer did not articulate reasoning regarding credibility or impact of refusal -- Even excluding refusal to perform field sobriety exercises, finding of probable cause is supported by evidence that licensee had odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and bloodshot and watery eyes and that licensee was speeding and admitted to consuming alcohol -- Remand for new hearing
VIEW OPINION

Counties -- Code enforcement -- Land Development Code -- Certiorari challenge to code enforcement magistrate's order upholding county's notice of violation determining that residence being constructed by petitioner was in violation of code because it was not connected to permanent foundation and, therefore, did not meet definition of modular home -- Magistrate's order that is based on definition of “permanent foundation” created by director of growth management during investigation of alleged violation is not supported by competent substantial evidence -- Magistrate violated essential requirements of law by allowing director to apply definition of “permanent foundation” that was drafted without notice or hearing to petitioners after they received building permit and began construction
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Driving under influence -- Information -- Striking -- Trial court did not impermissibly act sua sponte when it struck state's amended information after it had initially denied the motion to strike -- Trial court exercised its inherent authority to reconsider and alter prior nonfinal ruling
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Small claims -- Doctrine of de minimis non curat lex cannot be used to dismiss PIP claim in small claims court based on amount in controversy -- Issue of whether trial court erred in going outside of four corners of complaint to consider amount in controversy stated in demand letter was not preserved for appeal by contemporaneous objection
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Small claims -- Doctrine of de minimis non curat lex cannot be used to dismiss PIP claim in small claims court based on amount in controversy -- Issue of whether trial court erred in going outside of four corners of complaint to consider amount in controversy stated in demand letter was not preserved for appeal by contemporaneous objection
VIEW OPINION

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