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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
September 20, 2021 - September 24, 2021

Civil Law Headnotes (Jump to Criminal Law Headnotes)

THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE CASES RELEASED BY THE COURTS FOR THE WEEK.
To see others not presented here, log in for more comprehensive weekly listings.

Declaratory judgments -- Enforcement -- Jurisdiction -- Filing of notice of appeal did not divest trial court of jurisdiction to enforce its declaratory decree -- Lower court's authority to enforce its order after a notice of appeal, absent a stay pending appeal, extends to declaratory decrees
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Declaratory judgments -- Gambling -- Trial court erred in dismissing with prejudice a complaint filed by owners and operators of game room offering electronic games to public seeking determination of whether certain games were slot machines or amusement machines and whether they violate sections 849.15 and 849.16, Florida Statutes -- Complaint sufficiently alleged four requisite elements for declaratory action
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Liens -- Construction -- Foreclosure -- Breach of contract claims and counterclaims -- Damages -- Trial court did not err in finding that contractor was entitled only to quantum meruit value of work performed on contractor's breach of contract claim -- It was proper to enter judgment which returned homeowner to his pre-contract position where contractor committed first material breach of parties' contract by failing to obtain required permits and failing to substantially perform its obligations under the contract, homeowner chose to terminate the contract because of contractor's breach and to treat the breach as total, and counterclaim sought damages which were inconsistent with affirmance of the contract and demand for full performance -- Because homeowner had paid contractor monies in excess of the quantum meruit value of work performed, trial court did not err in entering judgment in favor of homeowner requiring contractor to repay money equal to the difference between total paid and value of contractor's work -- Pretrial stipulations -- Claim that trial court decided an issue outside parties' pretrial stipulation when it entered judgment for homeowner for the amount he paid contractor does not change result -- Counterclaim specifically pled for the relief awarded, issue was raised and argued by counsel at close of trial without objection, and homeowner's proposed judgment included judgment for overpayment to which contractor did not object -- Court may decide issue outside pretrial stipulation when necessary to resolve issues properly before the court
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Torts -- Dog owner's liability -- Directed verdict -- Action for damages under section 767.01 by plaintiff who alleged that defendant's dog, whom plaintiff and his wife had agreed to watch, caused both physical and neurological injuries when dog ran up behind plaintiff and knocked him down, rendering him immediately unconscious -- Trial court erred in granting plaintiff's motion to set aside verdict in favor of defendant and plaintiff's motion for directed verdict where whether plaintiff had been injured in incident involving defendant's dog and extent of his injuries were hotly contested at trial and inconsistencies in plaintiff's version of events placed his credibility at issue -- Directed verdict reversed -- New trial -- Order granting new trial on damages after entering directed verdict on issue of liability must also be reversed -- Remand for reinstatement of jury's verdict and entry of judgment in accordance with that verdict
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Torts -- Product liability -- Tobacco -- Statute of repose -- Claims of fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment of the dangers associated with smoking filtered cigarettes are barred by twelve-year statute of repose for fraud where defendant has engaged in no wrongful conduct during the repose period -- False statements by defendant's representative in deposition testimony in an unrelated case did not constitute wrongful conduct where the statements were not intended to induce anyone to do anything -- Defendant's continued manufacture and sale of filtered cigarettes during repose period did not constitute wrongful conduct
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Wrongful death -- Suicide -- Action alleging that decedent, after being admitted to defendant's mental health facility, died as direct and proximate result of defendant's negligence in failing to keep decedent under constant visual observation to ensure that he did not commit suicide and by allowing decedent unsupervised access to an unlocked bathroom where he was found hanging -- Circuit court did not depart from essential requirements of law in denying motion to dismiss asserting that suit was actually a medical malpractice complaint subject to presuit screening requirements with which plaintiff failed to comply -- Trial court properly concluded that, in its current form, complaint sounded in general negligence
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Criminal Law Headnotes (Jump to Civil Law Headnotes)

THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE CASES RELEASED BY THE COURTS FOR THE WEEK.
To see others not presented here, log in for more comprehensive weekly listings.

Criminal law -- False insurance claim -- Dismissal -- Trial court erred in granting defendant's amended rule 3.190(c)(4) motion to dismiss insurance fraud charge in part on ground that insurer's payment on claim was not result of justifiable reliance on any misrepresentation by defendant -- Justifiable reliance is not element of insurance fraud -- Trial court further erred in concluding that state's traverse of defendant's motion was legally insufficient to establish prima facie case of insurance fraud where that conclusion was based on trial court's having read non-existent justifiable reliance element into statute -- Although insurer did not pay out any insurance proceeds connected with an alleged misstatement by defendant, defendant's argument that insurer did not ultimately rely on his statements was immaterial to validity of charge
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Criminal law -- Sexual predator designation -- Jurisdiction -- Circuit court has jurisdiction to impose sexual predator designation on an offender who qualifies under section 775.21, Florida Statutes (2018), when the sentencing court did not impose the designation at sentencing and the offender's sentence has been completed
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