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Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
April 14 - April 18, 2014

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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Civil rights -- Florida Civil Rights Act prohibits pregnancy discrimination in employment
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Contracts -- Real property sale -- Liquidated damages -- Provision providing for seller to retain buyer's deposit as liquidated damages upon buyer's breach of contract was enforceable -- Fact that contract provided alternative remedies of liquidated damages or specific performance did not render liquidated damages provision unenforceable -- Provision providing for forfeiture of deposit was not unconscionable where deposit amounted to 7.6 percent of purchase price -- Liquidated damages provision was not rendered unconscionable because seller sold property to another buyer for higher price than the original contract price -- Liquidated damages provision was not a penalty clause
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Dissolution of marriage -- Attorney's fees -- Justiciable issues -- Error to grant former wife's motion for section 57.105 attorney's fees on basis that there was no justiciable issue of either law or fact in former husband's request to set aside stipulated oral settlement which resolved parties' cross-petitions to modify child custody and visitation provisions contained in final judgment of dissolution -- Best interests of child take predominance over any agreement between parents and must be independently determined by trial court, and it cannot be concluded that former husband's attempt to set aside custody agreement prior to issuance of final judgment, on the basis that the trial court had independent obligation to determine children's best interests and repudiate the couples' “preliminary” agreement to the extent it was inconsistent with this standard, warranted award of attorney's fees
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Insurance -- Disability -- Where insured filed action against insurer alleging counts for declaratory judgment, breach of contract, promissory estoppel, and reformation after insurer denied insured's claim under disability insurance policy, and complaint also alleged count for negligent misrepresentation against insurance agent, it was a departure from essential requirements of law for trial court to deny motion to dismiss or stay/abate claim for negligent misrepresentation -- Negligent misrepresentation claim is premature where there has been no determination of coverage under policy -- Proper remedy is dismissal of negligent misrepresentation claim without prejudice
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Workers' compensation -- Permanent total disability -- Judge of compensation claims did not err in considering claimant's psychiatric limitations in assessing claimant's entitlement to PTD benefits
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Workers' compensation -- Temporary partial disability -- Where employer had fired claimant, it was error to award claimant temporary partial disability without determining whether claimant had been discharged for misconduct -- Termination for misconduct precludes an award of temporary partial disability 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 -- Aggravated battery with deadly weapon -- Automobile -- Lesser included offenses -- Reckless driving -- Trial court erred in denying defendant's request for reckless driving instruction as permissive lesser included offense of aggravated battery with deadly weapon -- Reckless driving is a permissive lesser included offense of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon when the alleged weapon is an automobile -- Conditions for giving a jury instruction on a permissive lesser included offense were met -- No merit to state's argument that error was harmless because, since trial court instructed jury on simple battery, which is one degree removed from charged crime, jury could not have found defendant guilty of reckless driving, a crime two degrees removed from charged crime -- No known authority holds that when a jury fails to find a defendant guilty of a crime one degree removed from charged crime, failure to instruct jury on a crime two degrees removed is per se harmless -- Applying harmless error analysis, error was not harmless because both simple and aggravated battery require intent, but reckless driving does not -- Remand for new trial
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Criminal law -- Discovery -- Trial court departed from essential requirements of law, causing sheriff material injury for which there was no adequate remedy on appeal, by directing state to produce sheriff's operation plan for an undercover operation intended to identify violations of Computer Pornography and Child Exploitation Prevention Act without providing sheriff a meaningful opportunity to be heard on claim that plan contained sensitive law enforcement information and was exempt from disclosure under procedural rules and public records statute and without in camera inspection of requested material
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Criminal law -- Double jeopardy -- Separate convictions for aggravated battery and aggravated battery upon a pregnant victim did not violate prohibition against double jeopardy
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