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New Releases
from Florida's Circuit and County Courts

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Criminal law -- Battery -- Violation of domestic violence injunction -- Discovery -- State's failure to comply -- Trial court erred in failing to hold Richardson hearing after one of defendant's victims, at sentencing hearing, presented trial court with social media posts presumed to be written by defendant and not previously disclosed by state -- Error not harmless where trial court noted that it considered social media posts in imposing sentence
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Suspension -- Refusal to submit to breath test -- Lawfulness of stop and arrest -- Officer acting outside jurisdiction -- Mutual aid agreement -- Hearing officer's finding that officers who effected extra-jurisdictional stop and DUI arrest were working under authority of mutual aid agreement was not supported by competent substantial evidence where agreement was placed into evidence but there was no record evidence showing that assistance was requested pursuant to, and in compliance with, agreement -- Petition for writ of certiorari is granted
VIEW OPINION

Licensing -- Driver's license -- Revocation -- Fourth DUI conviction -- Out-of-state conviction -- Hearing officer did not depart from essential requirements of law in determining that New York conviction for driving while ability impaired was alcohol-related traffic offense similar to Florida DUI offense and could serve as prior conviction for purpose of permanent license revocation
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Dispensing contact lenses without license -- Trial court did not err in granting defendant's renewed motion for judgment of acquittal on charge of dispensing contact lenses without a license -- Defendant could not legally be found guilty of dispensing “contact lenses” without a license where product defendant sold was not a “prescribed medical device” -- Discussion of statutory definition of “contact lenses”
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Reasonableness of charges -- Trial court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of plaintiff on issue of reasonableness of charges where affidavit filed by plaintiff in support of motion was conclusory and failed to prove nonexistence of genuine issue of material fact -- Even if plaintiff's submission of medical bills satisfied its burden, entry of summary judgment was erroneous where affidavit of insurer's expert showed possible existence of disputed issue of material fact -- Trial court erred in excluding insurer's affidavit where affiant qualified as expert and affidavit contained analysis comparing amounts billed to reimbursement levels in community and various state and federal medical fee schedules that satisfied criteria that expert use generally accepted scientific method and that opinion be product of reliable principles and methods -- Trial court also erred in excluding affidavit on ground that affiant relied on Medicare fee schedules to analyze reasonableness of charges when insurer did not elect statutory fee schedule method of reimbursement in PIP policy -- Although Medicare fee schedule cannot be used to conclusively determine reasonable amount of charges, PIP statute provides that federal fee schedules are relevant factor in determining reasonableness of charges
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Reasonableness of charges -- When considering reasonableness of particular charge, trier of fact may consider evidence pertaining to Medicare fee schedules that are referenced by and incorporated into PIP statute -- Affidavit submitted by insurer in opposition to provider's motion for summary judgment was legally sufficient to create genuine issue of material fact as to reasonableness of amount charged for X-ray services at issue -- Trial court improperly applied Daubert admissibility standard to reject affidavit filed in opposition to motion for summary judgment -- Remand for further proceedings
VIEW OPINION

Contracts -- Brokerage agreements -- Although brokers are not generally entitled to commissions upon lease extensions that contain material alteration of lease terms, where parties contracted for commission payments to be made upon extension, renewal, and/or modification of lease agreement between landlord and tenant, broker was entitled to commission when tenant occupied additional space and lease renewal increased leased space
VIEW OPINION

Landlord-tenant -- Eviction -- Default -- Landlord was entitled to eviction and writ of possession where eviction was based on non-payment of rent and tenant failed to deposit disputed rent into court registry -- Trial court erred by including in default final judgment a money judgment for damages for unpaid rent where landlord failed to plead count for money damages and there were other issues remaining to be tried
VIEW OPINION

Municipal corporations -- Code enforcement -- Failure to register condominium for short-term rentals and pay associated fees and taxes on rental income -- Due process was not afforded where special master granted a continuance, but entered order containing findings of fact, conclusions of law, and imposing fines prior to the date of the continued hearing -- Moreover, written order levying fine was inconsistent with special master's earlier oral ruling granting a continuance
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Settlement -- Trial court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of insurer on its affirmative defense of accord and satisfaction after previously finding that genuine issues of material fact were created by handwritten notations made by insurer's representative on settlement letter, beneath representative's signature, indicating that representative understood once all payments were made, benefits would be exhausted; whereas, at time replacement settlement check had been sent to provider and deposited, insured had withdrawn his intention to pursue a lost wages claim which had figured into insurer's pre-settlement discussion of the amount of policy benefits that would be available to pay provider
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Homeowners -- Water damage -- Contractor/assignee's action against insurer -- Order dismissing insurer's second amended compulsory counterclaim without prejudice was non-final, non-appealable order -- Second amended counterclaim alleging contractor violated Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act was compulsory in nature where counterclaim arose from same aggregate of operative facts
VIEW OPINION

School boards -- Termination of teacher -- Competent substantial evidence did not support school board's decision that teacher's use of personal laptop computer on school district's network violated district's internet policy that provides that only district-approved equipment shall be used on its network where teacher was advised by school site technology manager that his laptop would have to be inspected for viruses and compatibility before it could be used on network, and thereafter manager performed inspection and installed software enabling connection to network -- No merit to board's argument that policy's limitation to use of only “district-approved equipment” means no personal devices can be used on network -- Petition for writ of certiorari is granted
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Animal cruelty and abandonment -- Jurors -- Challenge -- Cause -- Juror's statement that he was strong dog lover and his equivocation between stating that he could act impartially and stating that he doubted whether he could be impartial based on his love of dogs cast reasonable doubt on juror's ability to serve with impartiality and outweighed juror's subsequent statements recognizing that state had to prove case beyond reasonable doubt and existence of presumption of innocence -- Trial court abused its discretion by failing to dismiss juror for cause -- New trial required
VIEW OPINION

Criminal law -- Resisting officer without violence -- Dismissal -- Trial court erred in inviting defense counsel to move to dismiss based solely on year defendant was charged and granting motion without giving state opportunity to controvert motion
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Withdrawal of benefits -- Valid report by physician licensed under same chapter as treating physician stating treatment was not reasonable, related, or medically necessary -- Trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of provider where insurer presented report of chiropractic physician and there was factual issue as to identity of treating physician for the services at issue
VIEW OPINION

Contracts -- Venue -- Forum selection clause -- Petition for writ of certiorari challenging county court order transferring venue to another county is granted -- Trial court departed from essential requirements of law in concluding that use of term “shall” in forum selection clause rendered clause permissive rather than mandatory, and departure causes irreparable injury to petitioner that cannot be corrected on appeal -- No merit to argument that petitioner failed to preserve error for appeal where county court ruled that forum selection clause was permissive without either party presenting any arguments on issue and, thus, petitioner had no opportunity to object or inform county court of its misunderstanding -- No merit to argument that, because case was only transferred one county away, inconvenience to petitioner is too minor to constitute irreparable injury
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Trial court did not err in granting provider's motions for summary judgment as to reasonableness of its charges -- Evidence presented in support of motions was legally sufficient to shift burden to insurer, and insurer did not carry its burden of showing genuine issue of material fact or triable issue -- Trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of provider as to relatedness and medical necessity of services rendered -- Insurer did not waive right to raise these issues by making partial payment of benefits prior to commencement of lawsuit
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Trial court did not err in granting provider's motions for summary judgment as to reasonableness of its charges -- Evidence presented in support of motions was legally sufficient to shift burden to insurer, and insurer did not carry its burden of showing genuine issue of material fact or triable issue -- Trial court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of provider as to relatedness and medical necessity of services rendered -- Insurer did not waive right to raise these issues by making partial payment of benefits prior to commencement of lawsuit
VIEW OPINION

Counties -- Code enforcement -- Laches -- Hearing officer departed from essential requirements of law when it precluded argument on affirmative defense of laches -- Laches is available defense to code enforcement proceeding
VIEW OPINION

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical expenses -- Statutory fee schedules
VIEW OPINION

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