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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
October 20 - October 24, 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.

Administrative law -- Florida Department of Law Enforcement -- Rule challenge -- Administrative law judge did not err in rejecting challenge to rules governing Florida Department of Law Enforcement's approval and oversight of breath test instruments
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Arbitration -- Employer-employee relations -- Whistle-blowers -- Action against employer by employee who was retaliated against after she brought violations to employer's attention -- Action was not subject to arbitration where employment agreement, standing alone, did not contain a legally sufficient agreement to arbitrate, and employment agreement did not sufficiently incorporate by reference a separate document which did contain a legally sufficient agreement to arbitrate -- Employment agreement did not contain a legally sufficient arbitration agreement because it failed to set forth some procedures by which arbitration was to be effected -- Separate document containing arbitration agreement was not sufficiently described in employment agreement or attached, and no location was given as to where the document could be found until after employment agreement had been signed
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Attorney's fees -- Municipal corporations -- Firefighter and police officer pension plan -- Enforcement -- Prevailing party attorney's fees provisions in sections 175.061(5) and 185.05(5) apply to judicial proceedings to enforce claims under local law plans -- Language in complaint pleading claim for “plaintiff's costs and attorney's fees” pleaded claim for attorney's fees with sufficient specificity
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Civil procedure -- Discovery -- Postjudgment discovery of financial and organizational documents of non-party entity -- Trial court did not err in ordering non-party entities to produce financial and organizational records where there was a close link between judgment debtor and the non-party entities and documents were relevant to allow plaintiffs to collect judgment against judgment debtor -- Discovery request was not barred by any privacy interests of non-parties' shareholders, officers, or directors -- Where relevancy of discovery was apparent, there was no error in failing to conduct evidentiary hearing before requiring disclosure of documents
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Contracts -- Real property sale -- Breach of warranty -- Fraudulent misrepresentation -- Complaint alleging that defendant made fraudulent misrepresentations and breached warranty that there existed no violations of land use plans, zoning, restrictions, prohibitions and other requirements imposed by governmental authority by selling to buyer a building that was advertised as a two-bedroom modular residence but that was actually a large storage shed that had been converted into a residence without conforming to applicable building codes -- Error to enter summary judgment for defendant where there were factual issues as to whether defendant or her agents misrepresented the nature of the structure, and whether the structure complied with governmental laws and regulations -- It is reasonable to infer that plaintiff was persuaded that it was not necessary to hire an expert in home inspections or perform some other due diligence in order to ascertain whether the structure was a home -- Court improperly found that statements made to plaintiff by defendant between time contract was signed and closing were irrelevant--Trial court erred by concluding that contractual warranty merged with deed at time of closing -- Appeal of judgment awarding prevailing party attorney's fees and costs to defendant dismissed without prejudice where fee judgment was not addressed in initial brief
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Government in the sunshine -- Collective bargaining -- Trial court properly found that the conduct of closed-door federal mediation sessions which resulted in mediation settlement agreement changing pension benefits of city employees in union constituted collective bargaining negotiations that violated Sunshine Law -- Circuit court properly found that it had jurisdiction to determine whether collective bargaining had been held in compliance with Sunshine Law and to enjoin further violations -- Court properly found that federal mediation sessions violated Sunshine Law, voided the mediated settlement agreement, and enjoined parties from conducting further proceedings entailing collective bargaining in private
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Insurance -- Bad faith -- Discovery -- Attorney-client privilege -- Documents from insurer's attorney's litigation file in underlying coverage case -- Trial court departed from essential requirements of law in requiring production of attorney-client privileged material on grounds that the privileged information did not pertain to bad faith aspects of case
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Insurance -- Uninsured motorist -- Coverage -- Insured injured while riding as passenger in insured vehicle being driven by permissive user -- Family vehicle exclusion for uninsured motorist benefits does not conflict with section 627.727(3), Florida Statutes, when the exclusion is applied to a class I insured who seeks such benefits in connection with a single-vehicle accident where the vehicle was being driven by a class II permissive user, and where the driver is underinsured and liability payments from the driver's insurer, when combined with liability payments under the class I insured's policy, do not fully cover the class I insured's medical costs -- Uninsured motorist benefits are not stackable under section 627.727(9), Florida Statutes, where such benefits are claimed by an insured policyholder, and where a non-stacking election was made by the purchaser of the policy, but where the insured claimant did not elect non-stacking benefits -- Family vehicle exclusion in an automobile policy, which excludes a family vehicle from the definition of an uninsured motor vehicle, does not conflict with section 627.727(3), Florida Statutes -- Uninsured motorist benefits are not stackable under section 627.727(9) if the named insured or purchaser of the policy made a non-stacking election, as this waiver applies on behalf of all insureds under the policy
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Public employees -- School board employee who had reached normal retirement date and made election to participate in DROP could properly receive his retirement benefits while serving as an elected member of the county council -- Amended statute which would have required that employee terminate his employment with both school board and county council before he could receive any retirement benefits was not applicable because employee's rights in his pension had vested prior to the statutory amendments
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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 -- Second degree murder -- Jury instructions -- Lesser included offenses -- Manslaughter by act -- Giving of erroneous standard instruction on manslaughter by act as lesser included offense of second degree murder was harmless error where there was no dispute regarding element of intent -- Fundamental error analysis where offense for which erroneous instruction is given is one step removed from offense of conviction -- Court is not required by Florida Supreme Court decisions to use an analysis that declares the erroneous instruction to be fundamental error subject to automatic reversal as per se error merely because the instruction contained a bad element and is the instruction for the next lesser offense -- Defendant is required to make showing by reasonable probability that the error in the instruction was prejudicial to him
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