Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
May 23, 2022 - May 27, 2022

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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Arbitration -- Clickwrap agreement -- Enforceability -- Trial court erred by denying motion to compel arbitration of plaintiff's claim that she was sexually assaulted during her massage appointment at defendant's franchise location where plaintiff electronically clicked box stating that she agreed to defendant's “terms of use” while filling out consent forms -- Because terms of use agreement immediately followed the consent forms and was attached via hyperlink, and plaintiff was directed to give her assent to the terms of use by checking the “I agree” box, plaintiff was put on sufficient notice of its terms and conditions, including the binding arbitration condition, and manifested her assent to those terms and conditions by affirmatively clicking the box where indicated, thus creating a valid agreement
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Civil rights -- Administrative law -- Disability discrimination -- COVID-19 -- Mask policies -- Dismissal -- Disability discrimination complaint alleging that defendant failed to make reasonable modifications to accommodate plaintiff's disability by exempting plaintiff from defendant's face-covering policy during COVID-19 pandemic -- Commission on Human Relations erred by dismissing complaint based on plaintiff's failure to allege how plaintiff was denied services since plaintiff did not visit defendant's public accommodation -- Plaintiff was not required to allege that he was denied services during a visit to place of public accommodation -- Once a plaintiff has actually become aware of discriminatory conditions existing at a public accommodation, and is thereby deterred from visiting or patronizing that accommodation, the plaintiff has suffered an injury -- Because plaintiff plausibly alleged that he was aware of discriminatory conditions at defendant's public accommodation, and that the denial of his request for a modification deterred him from visiting or patronizing that accommodation, the dismissal was improper
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Condominiums -- Special assessments -- Preliminary injunction -- Dissolution -- Association which operated residential multicondominium development had authority to levy community-wide special assessment to defray projected cost of restoration of one building in the development which was severely damaged by fire after available insurance proceeds were determined to be insufficient -- Trial court did not abuse its discretion when it granted association's motion to dissolve a previously-entered preliminary injunction invalidating the assessment, halting construction, and mandating that association convene membership meeting and conduct community-wide vote -- Absence of change in circumstances did not prevent trial court from dissolving injunction to correct what trial court found was clear legal error and misapprehension of facts on its part -- Association's authority was not limited to levying special assessments only against residents of damaged building -- Association was not required to convene vote of all unit owners, as opposed to board members, before levying assessments for urgently needed repairs to common elements -- Instead, all that was required by statute was a properly noticed meeting declaring amount of proposed assessment and its intended purpose, and this procedure is consistent with association's by-laws
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Consumer law -- Debt collection -- Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act -- Workers' compensation -- Jurisdiction -- Section 440.13(11)(c) of the Workers' Compensation Law does not preclude claims brought against workers' compensation medical providers under section 559.77(1) of the FCCPA which allege that providers illegally attempted to collect money for services connected to workplace injury from the employee rather than employer's workers' compensation carrier -- Discussion of section 440.13(11)(c) and what constitutes a “matter concerning reimbursement” subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Financial Services -- Reimbursement matters involve the relationship between the provider and the carrier -- Given this context, exclusive jurisdiction provision of WCL covers any matters concerning payments by a carrier to a provider, but is inapplicable to dissimilar matters that involve improper billing of a worker by a provider
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Creditors' rights -- Proceedings supplementary -- Execution of monetary judgments -- Jurisdiction -- A trial court may order a defendant over whom it has in personam jurisdiction to act on foreign property pursuant to section 56.29(6) -- In case at issue, trial court undisputedly had in personam jurisdiction over judgment debtor and therefore could compel him to act on assets located in foreign country
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Insurance -- Automobile liability -- Settlement agreement -- Validity -- Disclosure statement -- Verification -- Trial court erred by determining that there was no settlement agreement between between insurer and plaintiff who was injured by insured vehicle as a matter of law based on fact that insurer's information disclosure, which was certified as being true by claims manager “under penalty of perjury,” did not comply with technical requirement in section 627.4137 that it be under oath -- Under section 92.525, a document verified as being true “under penalty of perjury” qualifies as a statement under oath for purposes of satisfying verification requirement of section 627.4137 -- Valid settlement agreement was formed where insurer undisputedly accepted plaintiff's offer on terms presented, and insurer paid plaintiff's disputed claim -- Insurer's payment of claim at plaintiff's demand was consideration for plaintiff's promise to execute a release of the insureds where insurer had no legal obligation to pay plaintiff's disputed injury and loss claim -- Furthermore, any technical compliance by insurer with preexisting statutory obligation was not part of the parties' bargain and is not relevant to question of whether settlement agreement exists
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Legislation -- Reapportionment of congressional districts -- Declaratory judgments -- Injunctions -- Temporary -- Stay -- Vacation -- Action for declaratory relief alleging that recently adopted legislation has effect of diminishing ability of plaintiffs and other black voters to elect representative of their choice -- Trial court erred in vacating stay of temporary injunction which required secretary to conduct 2022 congressional elections under a new, unenacted redistricting plan proposed by plaintiffs where injunction was improperly entered and defendants' appeal has a high likelihood of success -- Discussion of temporary injunctions in declaratory judgment actions as a provisional remedy -- Without a merits determination as part of a final adjudication, chapter 86 provides no authority for trial court to grant any affirmative, remedial relief -- Trial court was limited to maintaining the status quo, and the temporary injunction entered by trial court went beyond that limit by essentially granting the ultimate relief sought by plaintiffs -- Stay of temporary injunction reinstated
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Real property -- Dispute over ownership of real property operating as church -- Jurisdiction -- Ecclesiastical abstention doctrine -- Trial court erred in treating dispute over ownership of real property operating as church as a dispute between two non-profit Florida corporations and in entering summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs after concluding that defendants who purported to transfer title from plaintiff back to mother church were unauthorized to do so, making warranty deed materially false, unauthorized, null, and void -- Trial court was required to make two-pronged inquiry whereby it first determined whether mother church was hierarchical in nature and then determined whether plaintiff was affiliated with church to an extent that it was part of, and a subordinate to, that hierarchical structure -- Trial court was obligated to defer to defendants' self-characterization of mother church as hierarchical in nature and to recognize it as hierarchical church as matter of law -- Conflicting summary judgment evidence of plaintiff's affiliation with and subordination to mother church precluded summary judgment -- If on remand trial court determines that plaintiff is affiliated with church and its district advisory board, as a subordinate, trial court is precluded by ecclesiastical abstention doctrine from interfering with matter of church governance
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Rules of Civil Procedure -- Amendment -- Proposals for settlement -- Form and content
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Torts -- Attorney's fees -- Proposal for settlement -- Validity -- Good faith -- Trial court abused its discretion by awarding plaintiff attorney's fees and costs based on defendant's rejection of proposal for settlement which required defendant to pay over a million dollars in cash within thirty days -- Proposal for settlement was not made in good faith -- Specific requirement that defendant actually make payment to effectuate acceptance made offer illusory as there was no real possibility defendant could accept -- Proposal would have been valid if it allowed acceptance by agreeing to an entry of judgment against defendant or by allowing defendant to sign a promissory note
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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 entries for this section this week.