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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
August 13 - August 17, 2018

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.

Attorney's fees -- Proposal for settlement -- Trial court's determination that defendant's proposal for settlement was invalid because certificate of service accompanying it was not signed in compliance with rule 2.515 was incorrect, as signature is not expressly required by applicable statute and rules -- Even if signing requirement of rule 2.515 applied generally to rule 1.442, that requirement would nevertheless not apply to initial service of proposals for settlement on opposing party because those proposals are not “documents” as defined -- Because trial court did not rule on any of the other arguments raised concerning validity of proposal for settlement, remand for further proceedings is appropriate
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Contracts -- Torts -- Action by purchasers of real property against defendants who sold property to purchasers by warranty deed without disclosing the existence of a mortgage on the property -- Trial court properly entered judgment finding defendants liable for breach of warranty -- Trial court erred in finding defendants liable on unjust enrichment count, as a count for unjust enrichment cannot be pursued where an express contract exists -- Fraud -- Defendants could not be held liable for fraudulently promising to defend title to property without intending to do so, as stipulations contained in a warranty deed, even if untrue, do not constitute fraud in the sale -- Defendants could not be held liable for fraudulently representing in warranty deed that the property was free from encumbrances or for fraudulently concealing the mortgage, as the existence of the recorded mortgage was obvious to plaintiffs -- Question certified: Did the Court in Butler [v. Yusem] overrule the decisions in Besett [v. Basnett], Johnson [v. Davis], and Shottenstein [Homes, Inc. v. Azam] by holding that justifiable reliance is not an essential element of fraudulent misrepresentation?
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Dissolution of marriage -- Alimony -- Modification -- Change in circumstances -- Trial court erred in finding that former husband's potential voluntary retirement did not constitute a substantial change of circumstances that was not anticipated by parties at time of marital settlement agreement where no evidence was presented to show the parties contemplated former husband's future retirement when they entered into MSA -- Attorney's fees -- Award of attorney's fees to wife was improper where evidence revealed that she had ability equal to that of former husband to pay her attorney's fees and costs
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Dissolution of marriage -- Equitable distribution -- Marital/nonmarital property -- Trial court properly classified former wife's personal checking and savings accounts as marital assets where, although titled only in former wife's name, it was undisputed that former wife commingled in these accounts funds she acquired prior to marriage, including proceeds from sale of nonmarital property, with funds she acquired during marriage -- Trial court improperly classified marital home acquired by wife during marriage and titled in wife's name as nonmarital property where wife used commingled funds to make down payment and pay mortgage payments -- Trial court further erred by classifying as nonmarital asset a vehicle wife acquired during marriage in part with commingled money held in checking account containing marital funds -- Remand for reconsideration of equitable distribution scheme -- Judgment to be corrected as it relates to internal inconsistency regarding husband's responsibility for particular debt
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Injunctions -- Temporary -- Trial court abused its discretion by granting temporary injunction preventing defendant in breach of contract action from withholding revenue from plaintiff where plaintiff had adequate remedy at law in form of monetary damages, as evidenced by fact that trial court directed defendant to pay plaintiff certain sum for withheld sales revenues -- Plaintiff's argument that defendant's withholding revenue renders it unable to pay its members' commission, resulting in loss of members and ultimate destruction of the business and, therefore, irreparable harm, was refuted by CEO's testimony that business was continuing to operate, albeit through a personal financial loss to its CEO -- Trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining that defendant had caused plaintiff irreparable harm for which there was no adequate remedy at law by withholding client data and refusing to continue to process plaintiff's customers' credit card payments during pendency of underlying lawsuit where unrefuted evidence established that these actions by defendant would result in total destruction of plaintiff's business -- However, trial court erred in failing to include required findings of fact as to plaintiff's likelihood of success on merits and whether temporary injunction was in public interest -- Incorporation of magistrate's report and recommendation, which merely stated that there was a likelihood that plaintiff would succeed on the merits and that the public's interest would be served, did not amount to strict compliance with rule 1.610(c)'s requirement to specify the factual basis for entry of the injunction -- On remand, trial court may again enter temporary injunction directing defendant to provide plaintiff with its client data and to continue performing under parties' contract if it includes required findings as to each of four prongs necessary to support injunction
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Mortgage foreclosure -- Limitation of actions -- Second foreclosure complaint which was filed after voluntary dismissal of initial complaint was not barred by statute of limitations where complaint alleged continuing defaults occurring within five years of latest default -- Plaintiff bank was entitled to all sums alleged and proven due under note and mortgage, including those sums due more than five years from date of filing of complaint -- Conflict certified -- When note contains an optional acceleration clause, lender only runs out of opportunities to foreclose, under applicable statute of limitations, after five years of the latest default, or after five years of the date of maturity of the note -- Trial court erred in finding that notice letter's deadline to cure was the acceleration date -- Mortgage was accelerated when plaintiff filed its first, and then second, complaint
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Mortgage foreclosure -- Standing -- Plaintiff established standing by showing that it was the holder of note at time foreclosure action was filed -- Trial court properly found that plaintiff was not required to prove that it was both the holder and owner of the note -- Judges -- Disqualification -- Defendant's motion to disqualify trial judge was legally insufficient where it was premised on disagreement with judge's legal ruling that plaintiff was not required to prove that it was the owner of note -- Trial court did not err in denying defendant's motion for continuance to allow defendant to prepare motion for disqualification where defense counsel was given reasonable opportunity to make oral motion for disqualification and reasonable opportunity to prepare and file written motion to disqualify
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Torts -- Insurance agents -- Negligent procurement of insurance -- Unjust enrichment -- Condominium associations' claims against insurance agent that failed to procure a contractually required “Payment and Performance Bond” on behalf of contractor who performed post-hurricane roof repairs -- Damages -- Jury instructions -- Trial court did not err in instructing jury that proper measure of damages in negligent procurement of insurance claim is loss that would have been covered had the insurance been properly obtained -- Because associations sustained no loss during construction, they were limited to criminal and/or administrative penalties against agent -- Evidence -- Trial court abused its discretion by refusing to admit a consent order relating to suspension of principal's insurance license and the agent's admissions -- Consent order and admissions did not fall within purview of statute relating to inadmissibility of offers to compromise a claim -- Error was harmless
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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.

No Criminal law cases marked for review this week.