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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
September 18 - September 22, 2017

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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Child custody -- Guardian ad litem fees -- Attorneys' fees -- Certiorari review of discovery order -- Trial court's order denying petitioner's discovery requests and requiring her to advance the fees charged by court-appointed guardian ad litem and guardian's attorney prior to taking guardian's deposition is a departure from essential requirements of law, resulting in irreparable harm that cannot be remedied on direct appeal -- Without being able to conduct discovery, the opportunity to prepare a defense to fees demanded will be materially impacted, which harm cannot be remedied on plenary appeal because there would be no practical way to determine what evidence would have been obtained had discovery been permitted -- Error to require petitioner to pay guardian fees for deposition and to pay fees in advance -- Trial court's order violates substance and intent of prior opinion issued by appellate court, which ordered that, upon remand, trial court was to determine which of parties would be responsible for payment of guardian's fees and costs and proper amount due
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Child support -- Federal income tax dependency exemption -- Although trial court had discretion to order that former husband and former wife would have right to dependency exemption in alternating years, it was error to fail to condition each party's right to claim the child as a dependent on being current with child support payments
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Dependent children -- Attorney's fees -- Counsel for indigent parent -- Where counsel who was appointed to represent father in dependency case involving five children received statutory initial flat fee of $800 after trial court proceeded to disposition as to four of five children, and an additional flat fee amount of $200 for the second year of the dependency process, trial court departed from essential requirements of law when it ordered Justice Administration Commission to pay father an additional $800, either as a second statutory initial flat fee or as extraordinary compensation, after trial court proceeded to disposition on fifth child -- Plain reading of statute precludes award of second initial flat fee -- Order failed to include requisite findings regarding attorney's time and effort and reasonable hours expended related to representation of father in proceedings related to fifth child, as required to support award of additional attorney's fees as extraordinary compensation
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Dissolution of marriage -- Trial court erred in including husband in requirement that parties complete 8-week cooperative parenting and divorce program together where only the former wife was non-compliant with court-ordered timesharing plan -- Trial court had authority to order former wife to attend appropriate parenting and divorce classes
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Mortgage foreclosure -- Conditions precedent -- Trial court erred by concluding that compliance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regulations was not condition precedent to foreclosure action where mortgage specifically incorporated HUD regulations as limitations on acceleration and foreclosure -- Remand for entry of order of involuntary dismissal
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Mortgage foreclosure -- Relief from judgment -- Trial court did not err by denying plaintiff's amended rule 1.540(b)(4) motion for relief from judgment on ground that judgment was void because it was entered without notice and opportunity to be heard -- Plaintiff's due process argument ignores facts that, after final judgment was entered, counsel for defendant who executed mortgage informed trial court that this defendant consented to and did not oppose entry of final judgment; remaining defendant who executed both note and mortgage never defended foreclosure action in any manner; final judgment entered was the exact final judgment proposed by plaintiff; and final judgment was consistent with plaintiff's amended complaint, which asserted that a specific amount was due and owing on the note and did not in any respect reference a streamline modification which entitled plaintiff to additional funds over and above amount specified in amended complaint -- Moreover, under section 702.036, which protects purchaser of foreclosed property under certain circumstances and in limited manner, when party challenges validity of final foreclosure judgment, trial court, at best, could have treated plaintiff's request to vacate final judgment as claim for monetary relief where it was undisputed that all parties were properly served, final judgment of foreclosure was entered as to property, all applicable appeal periods had run, no appeals were taken, and property was acquired for value by person not affiliated with foreclosing lender or foreclosed owner
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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 -- Search and seizure -- Vehicle passengers -- Law enforcement officers may, as a matter of course, detain passengers of a vehicle for the reasonable duration of a traffic stop without violating the Fourth Amendment -- Duration of traffic stop in question was reasonably extended in order for backup officers to arrive after belligerent passenger was placed in handcuffs
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Criminal law -- Search and seizure -- Vehicle stop -- Officer who had training and experience on how to identify someone who was under the influence, and who observed that defendant was extremely intoxicated approximately one hour before he stopped vehicle defendant was driving, had founded suspicion that defendant was driving under the influence -- Stop was justified although defendant was not driving erratically
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Criminal law -- Sentencing -- 10-20-Life statute -- Consecutive mandatory minimum sentences -- Supreme court decision holding that consecutive mandatory minimum terms are permissible but not mandatory where multiple firearm offenses are committed contemporaneously and multiple victims are shot at does not apply retroactively
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