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July 18 - July 22, 2016
Civil Law Headnotes (Jump to Criminal Law Headnotes)
THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE CASES RELEASED BY THE COURTS FOR THE WEEK.
Civil rights -- Employment discrimination -- Disability -- Municipal corporations -- Action against city by plaintiff who worked for city until he was informed that he would be required to obtain commercial driver license and was unable to obtain exemption from this requirement or other requested accommodation, although he informed his supervisors that he was unable to take CDL exam because of disability associated with post-traumatic stress disorder -- Jury instructions -- Trial court did not abuse its discretion when it utilized plaintiff's proposed instruction, which was based on federal “Americans With Disabilities Act: Reasonable Accommodation Claim” pattern jury instruction published by Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals -- It was appropriate for court to look to federal ADA jury instructions for guidance on claim brought pursuant to unlawful employment practices section of Florida Civil Rights Act -- Damages -- Sovereign immunity -- No error in finding that plaintiff's recovery was limited by principles of sovereign immunity -- Non-economic damages -- Remittitur -- Trial court erred in denying city's motion for remittur of jury's $500,000 pain and suffering award where case was “garden-variety” discrimination case in which plaintiff provided generalized testimony that he experienced stress and presented no proof of physical injury or psychological evidence of emotional pain and suffering as result of city's discrimination
Contracts -- Law firm partnership agreement -- Withdrawal of partner -- Trial court erred in its interpretation of partner's “contributions or additions to capital,” a factor in calculating value of partner's interest in “Firm Capital” -- Withdrawing partner's conveyance of his right, title and interest in and to partnership business, assets, and service marks was not a contribution or addition of capital -- Income allocation -- Trial court erred in determining that, as 10% partner, withdrawing partner was entitled to 10% of income shown on firm's books as of date of partner's withdrawal where agreement provided that partner's share of firm profits was to be determined by law firm's compensation committee after payment of certain significant expenses -- Costs -- Error to award costs to withdrawing partner where agreement provided that each party would bear their own attorney's fees, costs, and expenses, regardless of who prevailed -- Provision of partnership agreement on which plaintiff relied as basis for cost award applied to retired partner, not one that withdrew
Contracts -- Prejudgment interest -- Trial court erred in awarding prejudgment interest for periods of time earlier than the dates plaintiff suffered the pecuniary losses for which damages were awarded -- There is no merit to claim that in a breach of contract or breach of warranty action, prejudgment interest accrues from the date of breach rather than the date plaintiff sustains pecuniary loss for which jury awarded damages
Mortgage foreclosure -- Affirmative defenses -- Non-compliance with Florida Consumer Collections Practices Act -- Trial court erred in entering summary judgment in favor of defendants based on application of statute requiring assignee of consumer debt to provide debtors with written notice of assignment -- Statute, by its clear language, did not apply to plaintiff, which was not the assignee of the right to bill and collect a debt, but the holder of the note at the time the lawsuit was filed -- Discussion of section 559.715 in mortgage foreclosure context
Real property -- Lis pendens -- Discharge of lis pendens recorded in connection with buyer's suit for specific performance of contract for sale of real property -- Proper standard to be used in determining whether to discharge lis pendens -- Lis pendens cannot be discharged if proponent of lis pendens can establish fair nexus between apparent ownership of property and dispute embodied in lawsuit -- To establish a fair nexus between plaintiff's claim and the property subject to lis pendens by way of a good faith, viable claim, the proponent of the lis pendens must make a minimal showing that there is at least some basis for the underlying claim and show that proponent has a good faith basis to allege facts supporting a claim and that the facts alleged would at least state a viable claim -- In discharging lis pendens recorded in connection with suit for specific performance, trial court erroneously found that proponent was required to present clear and convincing evidence to overcome motion to discharge lis pendens
Wrongful death -- Damages -- Medicaid lien -- Federal preemption -- Section 409.910(11)(f) of Medicaid Third-Party Liability Act is not preempted by the anti-lien provision of federal Medicaid law in wrongful death action -- Trial court correctly ruled that Agency for Health Care Administration was entitled to recover full amount of its Medicaid lien because federal Medicaid Act's anti-lien statute applies only to living Medicaid recipients
Wrongful death -- Medical malpractice -- Presuit requirements -- Applicability -- Trial court did not err in dismissing, for failure to comply with medical malpractice presuit requirements, an action by the estate of a former patient against a mental facility and its attending psychiatrist for wrongful death of the patient -- Although third amended complaint alleged ordinary negligence, plaintiff's claim was based on assertion that psychiatrist had patient sign consent form for voluntary admission to mental health facility in order to avoid involuntary Baker Act commitment, and that the lack of involuntary commitment directly led to patient's suicide after patient was released without the notification to family members that would have been required had patient been involuntarily committed; and attached to complaint was certification of psychiatrist that he personally evaluated patient and found him competent to consent to treatment -- At its core, claim was one involving medical judgment and would constitute an allegation of malpractice if psychiatrist had improperly found patient competent to consent to voluntary admission to facility -- Moreover, complaint alleged that there was no negligence in decision to discharge patient or in prescribing medication, the overdose of which apparently led to patient's death when he was no longer in custody or control of facility -- Facility had no common law duty to protect patient once he left its custody and control -- Abuse of vulnerable adult -- Section 415.1111, relating to abuse by caregiver, does not apply where there were no allegations to show that doctor and facility were “caregivers” within meaning of statute, determination to discharge patient was an exercise of medical judgment, and facility's caregiver role, if any, would have ended with discharge of patient
Criminal Law Headnotes (Jump to Civil Law Headnotes)
THESE ARE NOT ALL OF THE CASES RELEASED BY THE COURTS FOR THE WEEK.
Criminal law -- Sentencing -- Guidelines -- Upward departure -- Statute which permits departure from presumptive non-prison sanction upon finding that defendant poses a risk of danger to public must be interpreted to mandate that such upward departures be based on a jury determination that defendant poses a risk of danger to public, absent either a waiver by defendant or a negotiated sentence -- Error in imposing upward departure sentence without jury finding was harmless where no rational jury would have declined to find that defendant posed a financial danger to public based on her prior convictions