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February 23 - February 27, 2015
Civil Law Headnotes (Jump to Criminal Law Headnotes)
THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE CASES RELEASED BY THE COURTS FOR THE WEEK.
Civil procedure -- Foreclosure -- Deficiency judgment -- Relief from judgment -- Clerical mistakes -- Rule 1.540(a), which allows for corrections of clerical mistakes, does not encompass authorization to supplement a final deficiency judgment by clarifying the party defendants' status in the litigation nearly three years after entry of initial judgment -- Trial court's correction and supplementation of initial final deficiency judgment to reflect that certain defendant was the sole remaining defendant and that all claims, rights, or liabilities of the other parties had been adjudicated was a substantive change, not the sort of accidental slip or omission which could be corrected under rule 1.540(a) -- Remand for reinstatement of original judgment
Civil rights -- Claim of gender discrimination under Florida Civil Rights Act by sergeant with county corrections department whose employment had been terminated -- Res judicata -- Where plaintiff did not raise disparate treatment based on gender as a defense or affirmative defense in administrative proceedings challenging his discharge, he is barred from raising gender discrimination claim in civil rights action -- Trial court properly entered summary judgment dismissing claim
Forfeiture -- Currency -- Attorney's fees -- Prevailing claimant -- Probable cause determination following first-stage adversarial preliminary hearing does not preclude award of attorney's fees to claimant following second-stage summary judgment or trial determination -- Statute makes clear that attorney's fees may be awarded when it has been shown that seizing agency has not proceeded “at any stage of the proceedings” in good faith or that the seizing agency's action which precipitated the forfeiture proceedings was gross abuse of agency's discretion -- Lack of good faith was demonstrated in instant case in which claimant was not accorded opportunity to present evidence, and in fact was stymied in doing so by seizing agency at preliminary hearing, and in which seizing agency knew before forfeiture petition was filed that claimant's account of his actions and intentions with regard to large sum of cash he was carrying on flight from Colombia was unrefuted and that no sufficient probability existed to warrant reasonable belief that currency was connected to criminal activity -- Justiciable issues -- Award of attorney's fees to claimant could also be based on section 57.105 where neither facts nor law supported the forfeiture sought -- Remand for award of fees
Labor relations -- Unfair labor practices -- Impasse resolution -- Public Employees Relations Commission erred in concluding that county did not commit an unfair labor practice when its mayor vetoed the county commission's resolution of an impasse under section 447.403, Florida Statutes -- Section 447.403 does not permit a local executive branch official to veto the legislative body's resolution of an impasse -- County charter is superseded by statute insofar as it purports to give mayor authority to veto action taken by commission to resolve disputed impasse issues
Mortgage foreclosure -- Limitation of actions -- Amended complaint, substituting the name of the principal defendant's spouse for the defendant initially identified as the unknown spouse of the principal defendant, related back to the filing date of the original complaint -- Trial court erred in dismissing amended complaint against the spouse as untimely under statute of limitations
Public officials -- Public disclosure of public officers' financial interests -- Constitutional law -- Declaratory action challenging constitutionality of statute which allows public officers to file financial disclosure statements without disclosing the value of individual assets contained within qualified blind trusts -- Because no public officer or candidate for public office has used the type of qualified blind trust authorized by the statute, plaintiff has failed to present a justiciable case or controversy, and trial court erred in exercising its jurisdiction to render declaratory judgment -- Remand for trial court to dismiss complaint with prejudice
Public records -- Delay in responding to request -- Attorney's fees -- County's delay in responding to plaintiff's request for email addresses of county employees did not amount to an unlawful refusal where plaintiff made request in a suspicious email that could not be easily verified, directed to a general email account that might not be checked by the person having anything to do with the records at issue, waited four months without saying anything, and then sued the county, claiming a right to attorney's fees -- Further, county provided records to plaintiff soon after it learned that the request had been made by a person on behalf of a Florida corporation that did, in fact, exist -- Trial court correctly denied plaintiff's request for attorney's fees
Real property -- Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act -- Action against city alleging that city's construction and operation of a fire station on city property inordinately burdened plaintiffs' adjacent property by making it effectively unmarketable as a luxury home site, entitling plaintiffs to relief under Harris Act -- Harris Act is not applicable where plaintiffs' property was not itself subject to any governmental regulatory action -- Trial court erred in finding that plaintiffs were entitled to relief under act -- Question certified: May a property owner maintain an action pursuant to the Harris Act if that owner has not had a law, regulation, or ordinance directly applied to the owner's property which restricts or limits the use of the property?
Taxation -- Ad valorem -- Assessment -- Homestead exemption -- A homestead exemption obtained by a husband alone inures to his wife's benefit after his death where the property was held as a tenancy by the entireties, the wife never filed for her own homestead exemption, and the wife continuously maintained her permanent residence on the property before and after her husband's death
Torts -- Premises liability -- Negligence -- Action by plaintiff who was attacked and sexually assaulted by unknown assailant while asleep in employer-provided dormitory room, located in building to rear of guest section of defendant's Bahamian resort -- Arbitration -- Claim seeking compensation for harm resulting from attack and sexual assault by unknown assailant in employer-provided dormitory room, during plaintiff's non-working hours and away from plaintiff's place of work, did not constitute a claim or controversy arising out of her employment -- Trial court did not err in denying motion to compel arbitration -- Dismissal -- Forum non conveniens -- Trial court erred in construing provision in arbitration agreement that any arbitration would be conducted in Miami as waiver of forum non conveniens challenge -- Remand for reconsideration of defendant's motion to dismiss on this ground
Workers' compensation -- Attendant care services -- Evidence -- Judge of compensation claims abused discretion in excluding deposition of home health nurse on basis that nurse was not identified on pretrial stipulation where there was no showing that claimant would have been prejudiced by admission of the deposition -- It was error to make blanket award of attendant care for time not spent by claimant's wife in the actual performance of services -- Claimant has burden to prove time spent providing necessary services
Wrongful death -- Inherently dangerous activity -- Punitive damages -- Action against contractor who had contracted to install power poles along the shoulder of a street by estate of decedent whose vehicle was struck from behind by a speeding motorist while stopped on the street and propelled into the end of a concrete pole extending from the end of a flatbed trailer which had been parked on the shoulder of the road by a subcontractor while awaiting installation -- Trial court erred in finding, as a matter of law, that defendant was engaged in an inherently dangerous activity, and in entering summary judgment holding that defendant was legally responsible for any negligence of its subcontractors and was not entitled to any set-offs for their negligence -- Under circumstances, question of whether work defendant was performing at time of accident constituted an inherently dangerous activity was a question for jury rather than court -- Trial court erred in denying defendant's motion for directed verdict on issue of punitive damages where there was no evidence that would support conclusion that defendant's conduct was of a gross and flagrant character that evinced a reckless disregard for human life
Criminal Law Headnotes (Jump to Civil Law Headnotes)
THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE CASES RELEASED BY THE COURTS FOR THE WEEK.
Criminal law -- Battery on law enforcement officer with deadly weapon -- Immunity -- Stand Your Ground law -- Prohibition is proper method to challenge trial court's denial of pre-trial motion to dismiss charges based on claim of statutory immunity under section 776.032 -- Statutory immunity is not available if person against whom force is used is law enforcement officer who is acting in performance of official duties and who has identified himself or herself as law enforcement officer in accordance with any applicable law -- Evidence supports trial court's findings that at time of incident the law enforcement victim and his fellow deputies were investigating report of a robbery and that the victim identified himself as a police officer before the defendant shot him -- Any challenge to legality of search and seizure of defendant is separate from determination of defendant's entitlement to statutory immunity -- Writ of prohibition denied without prejudice to defendant's ability to raise affirmative defense of self-defense at trial
Criminal law -- Leaving scene of accident involving injury -- In order to convict defendant of leaving the scene of a crash with injury, state must prove that the defendant had actual knowledge of the crash -- Trial court erred in failing to give requested jury instruction that in order to prove crime of leaving scene of a crash, state must prove that the driver had actual knowledge of the crash
Criminal law -- Murder -- Armed burglary -- Self-defense -- Jury instructions -- Where defendant claimed that he had a right to be on the premises where the offenses occurred because his prepaid rental months for a room on the premises had not expired, it was error to refuse to give portion of standard jury instruction on burglary that would have required the jury, in order to convict defendant on burglary charge, to find that he did not have a right to be on the property -- With regard to self-defense, court instructed jury that use of deadly force was not justifiable if defendant was attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of a burglary, but if jury had been properly instructed and found that defendant had a right to be on the property, that would have been a defense to the burglary charge and would have removed a statutory bar to defendant's assertion of self-defense regarding the murder charge
Criminal law -- Search and seizure -- Vehicle -- Stop -- Illegal window tint -- Officer who could not see driver of vehicle through tint of side window in middle of the day had probable cause to believe vehicle had an illegal tint and was justified in making traffic stop -- Error to grant motion to suppress based on finding that officer's stop was based on mistake of law
Criminal law -- Sexually violent predators -- Involuntary civil commitment under Jimmy Ryce Act -- Release -- Defendant not entitled to release on basis of fact that American Psychiatric Association has removed the mental disorder underlying defendant's commitment in 2001 from fifth edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders where evidence supported trial court's conclusion that defendant's underlying mental condition remained unchanged and that he could not safely be released under Act