Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
August 19 - August 23, 2019

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.

Estates -- Trusts -- Modification of revocable trust -- Cy pres doctrine -- Where, after settlor's death, university which had been designated by trust to receive charitable bequest of real property owned by trust rejected the terms of the bequest, probate court did not err in modifying the trust pursuant to cy pres doctrine to name a different educational institution to receive the charitable bequest -- Court properly found that alternative charitable disposition is consistent with settlor's charitable purposes after originally proposed charitable gift became impractical or impossible to achieve
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Real property -- Partition -- Sale -- Trial court abused its discretion by disbursing proceeds from sale of partitioned property without first holding evidentiary hearing to determine appropriate liabilities and credits due each party where language of judgment supported argument that parties intended court to make an equitable distribution rather than defaulting to an equal distribution
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Real property -- Restrictive covenants -- Enforcement -- Arbitration -- Given clear language in both declaration and statute, homeowners association waived its claims against owner who modified landscaping without authorization from association when it failed to submit dispute to arbitration within 30 days after termination of mediation
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Workers' compensation -- Limitation of actions -- Estoppel -- Appeals -- Claim that employer/carrier was estopped from asserting statute of limitations defense to claimant's petition for benefits because, in response to an informal fax sent by claimant the day prior to filing of petition, e/c had sent an email authorizing a change to claimant's treating physician pursuant to section 440.13(2)(f) -- Judge of compensation claims's finding that e/c was not estopped from raising statute of limitations defense is affirmed where claimant never alleged that he relied on the e/c's authorization email -- Additionally, the record does not show any suggestion of reliance where claimant filed his petition for benefits prior to receiving the authorization email -- Argument that allowing e/c to raise the statute of limitations defense runs counter to legislative intent behind presuit resolution process was not preserved for appeal where argument was not made below or in motion for rehearing
VIEW OPINION (login required)


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 -- First degree murder -- Evidence -- Other crimes, wrongs, or acts -- Trial court did not err by allowing state to introduce evidence of collateral-crime shooting that occurred less than a month before charged offense after finding that there was clear and convincing evidence that shell casings from both the prior shootings and the instant offense were fired from the same gun, defendant had entered a guilty plea to the collateral-crime shooting charges and was identified as the shooter, evidence was relevant for identity purposes, and probative value outweighed prejudicial effect -- Trial court was not required to hold a second hearing on Williams rule evidence after defendant informed court that he had filed a motion to withdraw plea in the collateral case -- Witnesses -- Impeachment -- Prior inconsistent statements -- Trial court did not err by allowing state to impeach alibi witness with portions of recorded interview which were inconsistent with witness's trial testimony and which included references to conversations between witness and defendant's counsel and witness's opinion regarding defendant's guilt
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Criminal law -- DUI manslaughter -- Search and seizure -- Medical records -- Blood test -- Medical records containing defendant's blood-alcohol test results initially obtained without notice through subpoena, then subsequently seized under valid search warrant which did not rely on information contained in the improperly subpoenaed records -- Denial of defendant's first motion to suppress medical records based on exclusionary rule is affirmed -- Due to the likely-significant societal costs that would be incurred in suppressing this evidence on a retrial, the exclusionary rule does not demand suppression of the medical records improperly subpoenaed without notice -- It is not reasonable to assume that, under the facts of this case, the state would not have pursued and obtained the records from the hospital -- It is likewise neither appropriate nor consistent with the intent of the exclusionary rule for the state to be placed in a worse position at trial due solely to the indiscretion or improper zeal of police officer who first subpoenaed records -- No error in denying defendant's second motion to suppress on grounds that search warrant did not contain requisite level of particularity or specificity regarding items to be seized as defendant's argument is without merit -- Although warrant requested records beyond laboratory test results and state admitted that it was only planning on using blood-alcohol test results contained within the seized medical records, this did not invalidate the entire warrant or otherwise require blood-alcohol test results to be suppressed -- Evidence -- Hearsay -- Exceptions -- Business records -- Trial court did not violate defendant's due process rights by admitting test results without requiring testimony from the individuals who drew and tested defendant's blood -- Evidence could be admitted under business record exception to hearsay rule and no testimony other than that of the business record custodian of the hospital qualifying the report as a business record was required -- There is no requirement that the records custodian or other qualified witness must have been employed at hospital at the time the medical record being admitted into evidence was generated -- Questions certified: Does the failure of the investigating law enforcement officer to provide any notice prior to subpoenaing a defendant's medical records under section 395.3025(4)(d), Florida Statutes, forever preclude the admissibility of these records at trial, even if they are subsequently obtained through the issuance and execution of a valid search warrant without the assistance of any information gleaned from the previously-subpoenaed records? -- Does the inevitable discovery exception to the exclusionary rule permit the admissibility of a defendant's hospital records later obtained by the state through a valid search warrant when the records were first acquired by the state by subpoena without notice to the defendant in violation of section 395.3025(4)(d), Florida Statutes?
VIEW OPINION (login required)