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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
February 22, 2021 - February 26, 2021

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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Attorney's fees -- Proposal for settlement -- Trial court erred in finding defendant's proposal for settlement and release were ambiguous and unenforceable because of use of word “assigns” in line of standard release stating that release was on behalf of plaintiff on her own behalf “and on behalf of her agents, heirs, spouses, successors, assigns, . . .” -- Remand for entry of order granting defendant's motion for attorney's fees and setting evidentiary hearing to determine amount of fees
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Insurance -- Homeowners -- Bad faith -- Civil remedy notice -- Cure period -- Tolling -- Trial court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of insurer based on conclusion that insurer's invocation of appraisal after CRN was filed tolled sixty-day cure period until appraisal award was entered, and that CRN was deficient because it did not state with specificity the facts and circumstances giving rise to violations alleged in CRN -- The language of section 624.155(3)(d) does not toll the cure period until appraisal is complete -- Insurer's invocation of appraisal process and payment of appraisal award after cure period expired did not cure, as a matter of law, the alleged bad faith claim -- CRN sufficiently put insurer on notice of the facts and circumstances giving rise to the violations and corrective action required to remedy the violations
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Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Trial court properly entered summary judgment for defendant insurer in insured's action to recover transportation costs incurred in connection with medical treatment where insured's pre-suit demand letter failed to meet specificity requirements demanded by section 627.736(10), Florida Statutes -- Strict compliance with statutory requirements is necessary
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Municipal corporations -- Stormwater utility fees -- County school board is protected by sovereign immunity from paying municipal stormwater utility fees
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Torts -- Trespass -- Real property -- Riparian rights -- Construction of dock over privately owned submerged lands -- No error in entering summary judgment in favor of defendant owners of upland property in action for trespass stemming from defendants' building of a boat dock over plaintiff's privately owned submerged lands and out to navigable waters -- Defendants have a common law right to wharf out and construct a dock out to navigable waters without plaintiff's consent -- Defendants' right to construct the dock was not limited to the low water line -- Any private entity that obtains submerged lands from the state is subject to the public trust obligation not to interfere with riparian rights of upland owners -- Private ownership of submerged land does not confer any right upon the private owner to require consent to, prevent the exercise of, extract payment in exchange for, or declare a trespass in connection with the exercise of a riparian owner's right to construct a dock from his or her upland property over the submerged land and out to navigable waters in compliance with local and state regulations
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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 -- Evidence -- Expert -- DNA -- Mixtures containing genetic material from multiple people -- Probabilistic genotype software -- Internal validation -- No abuse of discretion in denying defendant's motion to exclude DNA interpretations made by TrueAllele software program based on assertion that, under Daubert, the failure to internally validate the TrueAllele software using a test sample of sheriff's office-generated DNA data prior to using the program for case work rendered the TruAllele analysis results unreliable -- Trial court properly assessed and concluded that the DNA statistical interpretation performed by TrueAllele software program was reliable after considering the theory or technique has been tested; the theory or technique has been subjected to peer review and publication; the known or potential rate of error for the program; and the general acceptance of the program
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Insurance -- Homeowners -- Appraisal -- Trial court erred in denying insurer's motion to stay proceedings and compel appraisal where insurer had accepted insured's claim for hurricane damages and invoked its option to repair under Preferred Contractor Endorsement -- There is no bar to seeking appraisal after litigation has begun, and insurer did not waive right to seek appraisal -- Once insurer conceded coverage, and insured timely submitted his scope of loss estimate which disagreed with insurer's scope of loss estimate, trial court needed to evaluate whether all post-loss obligations had been met and whether appraisal was ripe
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Criminal law -- Search and seizure -- Investigatory stop -- Vehicle -- Reasonable suspicion -- Vehicle, in which defendant was a passenger, prevented from leaving parking lot by law enforcement after officer had observed the driver standing near the back doors of a closed business looking at a discarded couch after midnight -- Trial court erred in denying defendant's motion to suppress statements defendant made to officer during course of stop and ensuing arrest, including statement that there were drugs in the vehicle -- Investigatory stop and subsequent arrest were unlawful where, setting aside the unusual hour, the driver was simply standing behind a closed shopping center in an area known for “dumpster diving,” looking at a piece of apparently discarded furniture in the light of the headlights of her vehicle while defendant sat inside the vehicle -- Although driver hurried back to vehicle and attempted to leave when she saw the officer, these facts were insufficient to give rise to a reasonable, articulable suspicion of loitering and prowling, or of any other criminal activity, so as to support the investigatory stop -- No error in denying motion to suppress drugs found in vehicle where defendant wholly failed to challenge trial court's express finding that officers had discovered drugs during an inventory, officer's testimony that vehicle would have been impounded and inventoried no matter what because neither driver nor defendant had a valid driver's license, or the independent validity of the inventory
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