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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
September 21, 2020 - September 25, 2020

Civil Law Headnotes (Jump to Criminal Law Headnotes)

THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE CASES RELEASED BY THE COURTS FOR THE WEEK.
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Civil procedure -- Summary judgment -- Torts -- Trial court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of defendant funeral home on claims of interference with dead body and infliction of emotional distress where plaintiffs failed to provide notice of their summary judgment evidence as required by mandatory language of rule 1.510(c) -- Party may not rely on summary judgment evidence unless identified in timely notice, even if that evidence is already on file -- Attorney's fees were properly awarded in favor of defendant
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Civil procedure -- Discovery -- Trade secrets -- In dispute between competing tree and vegetation management companies, it was a departure from essential requirements of law to order defendant to produce bid documents without conducting in camera review of the documents despite defendant's assertion that the documents contained trade secrets -- When plaintiff disputed whether defendant's bid documents contained trade secret information, court improperly refused defendant's request that court conduct in camera review of documents to determine whether they contained protected trade secret information -- Court erroneously ruled that it would conduct in camera review only after defendant established that its bid documents contained trade secret information
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Contracts -- Attorney's fees -- Contingency fees -- Fee splitting -- Dispute between two law firms over division of contingency fees derived from settlement in personal injury case -- Fee-splitting agreement between the two firms was void for failure to comply with applicable Florida Bar rules regulating contingency fee contracts and, thus, unenforceable -- Law firms were required to seek court approval of their fee-splitting agreement because potential total amount of fees exceeded those authorized by the fee schedule in rule 4-1.5 -- Petition for approval filed with the court failed to comply with requirements that petition be sworn, signed by all counsel, filed within ten days of execution, and disclose in detail the service to be performed by each counsel -- Furthermore, record established that there was a failure to comply with requirement that the firms accept substantially equal active participation in providing legal services -- Fact that defective petition was approved does not change analysis -- While an attorney may seek recovery under a quantum meruit theory when a contingency fee contract is unenforceable because of noncompliance with the rules, such a claim must be pled or tried with consent
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Contracts -- Unjust enrichment -- Hospitals -- Sovereign immunity -- Class action against hospital, alleging that hospital was unjustly enriched by collection of bills due under a claim of lien statute that was subsequently declared unconstitutional -- Trial court erred in finding that hospital's use of lien law was an illegal extraction to which sovereign immunity does not apply -- Trial court erred in denying motion to dismiss on basis of sovereign immunity
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Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Coverage -- Medical services -- Action brought by medical providers seeking reimbursement of full amount of their charges from insurer whose policy stated that reimbursement shall be limited to 80% of the schedule of maximum charges set forth in section 627.736(5)(a)1. -- No error in granting summary judgment in favor of insurer -- PIP insurance policy does not require the insurer to pay more than 80% of the statutory fee schedule if it includes provision for the total limit of benefits the insurer is obligated to pay based on the difference between the deductible and the total amount of expenses incurred, subject to $10,000 limit of benefits -- Policy is not ambiguous and plainly provides for the insurer to limit reimbursement to 80% of statutory fee schedule -- When policy is read in its entirety, disputed provision clearly limits the overall liability and explains how any applicable deductible is applied, but does not create a separate and independent payment obligation -- The only reasonable interpretation of the policy's plain language is that the aggregate of expenses and losses, after any applicable deductible, reimbursed at 80% pursuant to statutory fee schedule, cannot exceed $10,000 limit
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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.

No Criminal Law Headnotes selected for this week.