Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
February 11 - February 15, 2019

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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Attorney's fees -- Proposal for settlement -- Contractual fee agreement -- Trial court erred in denying attorney's fees pursuant to section 768.79 on the basis that fee provision in lease agreements prevented simultaneous award of attorney's fees under the statute where fee provision in leases did not explicitly waive attorney's fees available per statute, statute imposes a penalty, and plain language of statute makes attorney's fee award mandatory if all requirements are met -- Ambiguity -- Trial court erred in determining that offers of settlement were ambiguous because it could not determine whether the offers should be aggregated for the purposes of comparison to the judgment where aggregating of offers of settlement for purpose of determining attorney's fees cannot be tolerated under strict construction of statute
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Counties -- Finances -- Investment policies -- Mandamus -- No error in granting writ of mandamus compelling clerk of circuit court to invest county surplus funds as directed by board of county commissioners pursuant to county's revised investment policy -- Reading section 28.33 and section 218.415 together, it is clear that the board, as the county's governing body, has authority to adopt an investment policy for county surplus funds that must be implemented by the clerk -- Clerk is not the unit of local government authorized to have an investment policy for county surplus funds -- Clerk of circuit court has discretion in the investment of county surplus funds not covered by a county's investment policy
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Creditors' rights -- Limited liability companies -- Attorney's fees owed by LLC member -- Trial court exceeded its statutory authority when it transferred member's “right, title, and interest” in LLC to law firm which represented member in dissolution of marriage proceedings and which held money judgments for fees owed by member -- Whether charging order was sole and exclusive remedy by which law firm could satisfy judgment from debtor's interest in LLC or his rights to distributions from the LLC depended upon whether LLC was single or multiple member LLC, and factual dispute existed as to this issue -- Moreover, order went beyond granting a charging order, as was agreed to by the parties and authorized by statute
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Dependent children -- Termination of parental rights -- Evidence was insufficient to support termination of mother's parental rights on ground of abandonment -- Finding of abandonment could not be based solely on parent's incarceration and inability to provide for children -- Competent substantial evidence supported alternative decision to terminate mother's rights because she would be incarcerated for significant portion of children's minorities and termination would support children's interests in permanency
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Dissolution of marriage -- Child support -- Modification -- Trial court abused its discretion in granting former husband's petition for retroactive modification of child support based on changes in his commission based income -- Findings are irreconcilable with the standards for supporting a downward modification through proof of an unanticipated and permanent change in circumstances where trial court found that former husband did not experience a full year of substantially lowered income; former husband knew about his decreasing income before the date of final judgment; and trial court implicitly rejected former husband's testimony that his income had decreased since entry of marital settlement agreement by choosing date of final judgment instead of date of MSA in determining length of changed circumstances -- Trial court erred in utilizing sum of combined health and dental premiums former husband was previously paying where husband agreed that premiums had decreased -- Five percent variance permitted by section 61.30 was inapplicable since there was nothing in record that hints at any intent on trial court's part to utilize the greater amount so as to order payment of child support in an amount which varies more than five percent from such guideline amount
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Dissolution of marriage -- Contempt -- Child custody -- Parenting plan -- Shared parental responsibility -- Probation order finding wife in indirect criminal contempt for refusing to exercise shared parental responsibility in accordance with court orders cannot stand, as evidence failed to establish that wife intentionally violated a clear and precise order -- Provision of final judgment stating that parties “shall share parental responsibility for the children consistent with Florida Statute” failed to set forth sufficiently precise commands so as to put wife on notice of what she may or may not do -- Further, probation order failed to conform to trial court's oral pronouncement of the factual basis for finding of contempt
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Employer-employee relations -- Wages -- Minimum wage -- Counties -- Ordinances -- State preemption -- Section 218.077 prohibits local governments from imposing minimum wage requirements exceeding federal or state minimum wage laws, with limited exceptions applicable to a political subdivision, and preempts county's Living Wage Ordinance -- Exception to state statute for “the employees of an employer contracting to provide goods or services for the political subdivision” did not allow county to impose, via permit agreement, its own minimum wage requirements on employer who was issued a permit that allowed employer access to county-owned airport to provide general aeronautical and passenger services to private air carriers via separate written private contracts with commercial airlines -- Any derivative or collateral benefit to county as result of employer's provision of services to private air carriers at airport did not amount to a direct “provision of goods and services” to the county, and employer did not otherwise provide goods and services to county within meaning of statute -- Employer's lease of property at airport not sufficient contractual basis for enforcing county's lowest minimum wage ordinance against employer
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Municipal corporations -- Contracts -- Competitive bidding -- Bid protest -- Circuit court sitting in its review capacity did not depart from essential requirements of law by denying petition for writ of certiorari seeking review of administrative hearing officer's affirmance of city manager's recommendation to award bid for redevelopment of lease and waterfront property to protestor's competitor -- No clearly established law required either hearing officer or court to perform analysis, independent of the public procuring agency, of whether a material deviation from bid specifications occurred
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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 selected Criminal Law headnotes for the week of February 11- February 15