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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
November 24 - November 28, 2014

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.

Arbitration -- Waiver -- Where defendant claimed that plaintiffs waived the right to arbitrate by previously litigating the matter in court, it was error for trial court to conclude that the waiver issue was for the arbitrator, not the court, to decide -- Claim of waiver of right to arbitrate based on prior litigation conduct is presumptively one for court to decide
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Guardianship -- Incapacitated persons -- Accounting -- Inspection of guardianship reports and financial information -- Standing -- Interested person -- Probate court did not err in finding that mother of 22-year-old autistic man was not an interested person for purpose of inspecting guardianship reports and other financial information -- Neither parenting plan incorporated into trial court's order appointing father as plenary guardian nor mother's status as next of kin made mother an “interested person” with standing -- Parenting plan did not give mother any right to, or interest in, financial decisions made for her son
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Insurance -- Homeowners -- Sinkhole claim -- Claim for breach of contract against insurer that refused to pay claim after its expert engineer determined that there was no sinkhole activity and no structural damage to property -- Trial court erred in allocating the burden of proof by finding that insured had burden of proof to show that damage to home was caused by sinkhole activity during policy period -- In the case of all risks policy with sinkhole endorsement, insured had burden of proving that insured property suffered a loss while policy was in effect, and burden then shifted to insurer to prove that the loss was excluded from coverage -- Evidence -- Impeachment -- Error to exclude impeachment evidence of the amount insurer had paid to firm that employed insurer's engineer expert during previous three years
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Pari-mutuel wagering -- Legislation -- District court erred in holding that statute permitting holder of permit to conduct jai alai to convert permit to permit to conduct greyhound racing if three criteria are met is an unconstitutional special law enacted in the guise of a general law -- As construed by Court, class created by statute is open to additional parties, and statute is a general law
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Torts -- Automobile accident -- Intersection collision between motorcycle and vehicle -- Evidence -- Error to permit officer who assisted in accident investigation to testify that defendant violated right-of-way and that plaintiff did not -- Jurors should not be informed of investigating officer's determination of who caused accident -- New trial required -- Error to permit plaintiffs' counsel to publish to jury defendant's interrogatory answers concerning defense's surveillance of the plaintiffs where defense counsel advised court he did not intend to introduce surveillance videos at trial or present any testimony concerning surveillance, and only purpose for admitting interrogatory answers was to denigrate defendant
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Public employees -- Counties -- Investigation of county affairs -- Police officers -- Trial court erred in ruling that section 112.533 confers exclusive authority on Miami-Dade County Police Department to investigate any and all complaints against its officers, thereby precluding county's Office of Inspector General from conducting independent, external investigation of off-duty officers' compliance with county policies and procedures regarding outside employment and disclosure of financial gifts and benefits -- Nothing in Police Officers' Bill of Rights precludes non-disciplinary investigations that involve police officers
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Torts -- Automobile accident -- Rear-end collision -- Damages -- Setoff -- Collateral source statute does not allow for set-off of unemployment compensation benefits
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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 -- Discovery -- Violation by state -- Where, prior to her deposition, state witness gave statement that defendant had never lived at her residence, and in her deposition witness stated that she had previously lied and that defendant was in fact living at her home, it was a discovery violation for prosecutor to fail to inform defense counsel that on morning of trial the witness had said that she would revert to her initial statement and would testify differently than she had testified on deposition -- Witness's statement to prosecutor on morning of trial should have been promptly disclosed to defense, even though it was neither written nor recorded, nor summarized in any writing or recording -- Trial court erred by failing to conduct Richardson hearing
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Criminal law -- Limitation of actions -- Running of statute of limitations was tolled while defendant was continuously absent from state -- Where defendant is continuously absent from state, express language of section 775.15(5), Florida Statutes, does not require that state undertake a diligent search or that defendant's absence hindered the prosecution for the statute of limitations to be tolled
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