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New Releases
from Florida's Circuit and County Courts

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Eviction -- Standing -- Attorney-in-fact -- Motion to dismiss eviction action on ground that plaintiff's durable power of attorney was not valid because grantor was not competent at the time and lacked mental capacity to execute the document is denied -- Although grantor had been placed in care facility due to deterioration of his mental condition, the only evidence regarding grantor's state of mind at the moment grantor revoked prior durable power of attorney and executed power of attorney in plaintiff's favor was testimony of lawyer who prepared the document and lawyer's assistant who witnessed grantor's execution of the document, and defendants failed to demonstrate by preponderance of the evidence that grantor lacked mental capacity at the time he executed the disputed power of attorney -- Notarization -- Lawyer who notarized document had satisfactory evidence, as contemplated by section 117.05(5), of the identity of the person whose signature he notarized
VIEW OPINION

Attorney's fees -- Appellate -- Insurance -- Contingency fee -- Lodestar factors considered -- Attorney's fees and expert witness fees awarded -- Jurisdiction retained to determine, at conclusion of case, whether contingency risk multiplier is warranted
VIEW OPINION

Consumer law -- Deceptive and unfair trade practices -- Where recreational vehicle dealer is found to have violated Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act in course of sale of RV trailer, dealer must accept redelivery of RV and transfer of RV title from plaintiff and make plaintiff whole for any amounts plaintiff is deemed to owe bank that is assignee of retail installment contract between plaintiff and dealer -- Attorney's fees, including contingency risk multiplier of 2.0, are awarded to plaintiff
VIEW OPINION

Estates -- Attorney's fees and costs -- Personal representative's commission -- Ordinary estate administration attorney's fees -- Extraordinary attorney's fees -- Multiple attorneys are entitled to only one fee when only one lawyer was necessary -- Attorney not permitted to charge fee for duties that are those of the personal representative -- Paralegal fees cannot be billed for services that are secretarial in nature -- Expert's testimony failed to distinguish which services were compensable and those which were not -- Extraordinary fees cannot be awarded for services that have been performed, but have not yet been proved to be of benefit to the estate -- Attorney's fees and expenses awarded based on consideration of appropriate factors -- Award without prejudice to counsel retained by personal representative seeking additional compensation for extraordinary services rendered to estate upon demonstration that such work is non-duplicative of work falling within personal representative's responsibility, timely, reasonable, and of benefit to estate
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Driving under influence -- Evidence -- Even if officer's testimony that he did not always arrest all individuals he originally suspects of DUI amounted to improper bolstering, error was harmless beyond reasonable doubt given overwhelming evidence of guilt
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Contracting without a license -- Double jeopardy -- Administrative fines previously imposed were not criminal in nature and did not invoke Double Jeopardy Clause -- Statutes providing for sanctions for unlicensed contracting were not, on their face, so punitive in purpose or effect as to transform civil sanction into criminal proceeding
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Search and seizure -- Vehicle stop -- Delay between initial stop of vehicle and commencement of DUI investigation was unreasonable where stopping officer and two other officers detained defendant at scene of stop for just under 30 minutes without doing anything further to investigate possible DUI charge until the arrival of a fourth officer -- Trial court did not err by granting motion to suppress observations and statements made by defendant
VIEW OPINION

Civil procedure -- Default -- Trial court erred in denying motion to vacate default where defendants demonstrated excusable neglect, meritorious defense, and due diligence in seeking relief after learning of default -- Failure to attend pretrial hearing because of calendaring mistake is form of excusable neglect
VIEW OPINION

Contracts -- Debt collection -- Account stated -- Trial court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of defendant in action for account stated based on erroneous conclusion that existence of express credit card agreement precluded cause of action for account stated
VIEW OPINION

Contracts -- Debt collection -- Account stated -- Trial court erred in entering summary disposition in favor of defendant in action for account stated -- Failure to attach itemized statement of all account activity to complaint is, at best, pleading defect that subjects complaint to dismissal rather than summary disposition -- Defendant's affidavit denying that she had any agreed balance on credit card account with plaintiff's predecessor in interest is insufficient to establish absence of genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendant agreed to account balance
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Post conviction relief -- Challenge to judgment and sentence was moot where sentence had been served -- Assuming issue was ripe, rule 3.850 motion would be time-barred where motion was filed more than two years after judgment and sentence became final -- Trial court erred in granting motion in which defendant alleged plea was involuntary because he did not have counsel to advise him of deportation consequences and no Faretta inquiry
VIEW OPINION

Civil procedure -- Default -- Relief from judgment -- Trial court erred in denying defendant's rule 1.540(b) motion to set aside or vacate default final judgment where amended complaint was served on third party who was not employee, representative, or authorized person for defendant -- Judgment was void where service of process was never effected on defendant
VIEW OPINION

Mobile home parks -- Eviction -- Attorney's fees -- Prevailing party -- Jurisdiction -- Trial court erred in denying, for lack of jurisdiction, prevailing defendant's motion to determine entitlement to attorney's fees and costs where rule 1.525 motion was filed within 30 days after judgment was filed -- Defendant properly pled grounds for relief in her answer and affirmative defense as well as in motion filed within 30-day time limit -- Defendant pled with particularity her entitlement to fees under section 513.151
VIEW OPINION

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