Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
June 10 - June 14, 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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Public utilities -- Electric utility -- Rates -- Recovery of costs for solar energy through base rate adjustments -- Public Service Commission properly approved base rate adjustment projects upon concluding that projects comported with a settlement agreement reached in prior rate case which provided for recovery of costs and that the projects were cost effective -- Commission was not required to conduct prudence review prior to approving utility's solar petition -- By failing to object at time that settlement agreement was before Commission and by failing to appeal the settlement order, party waived right to challenge provisions in settlement agreement related to requirements and procedures for cost recovery of projects -- Findings regarding cost-effectiveness of projects were based on competent, substantial evidence
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Torts -- Discovery -- Financial records -- Experts -- Non-party business entity -- Petition for writ of certiorari seeking to quash discovery order compelling a non-party entity, under which defense expert worked, to produce information that would exceed scope of permissible discovery if sought from defense expert -- Protections from invasive discovery afforded to individual experts under 1.280(b)(5)(A)(iii) apply equally to the business entity with which the expert is affiliated -- Proposed subpoena duces tecum served on non-party was improper where it asked questions and requested descriptions rather than listing the types of documents sought -- Trial court erred in permitting excessive discovery with no finding of unusual or compelling circumstances -- Court rejects argument that proof that defense law firm hired non-party, a business entity with nine doctors, for one-hundred twenty cases in three years supports an unusual and compelling circumstance for the requested information
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Wrongful death -- Damages -- Limitation -- Parental immunity -- Action by mother of deceased unemancipated minor against father's estate arising out of crash of plane in which minor was passenger and which was piloted by father -- Trial court erred in limiting wrongful death claim to amount of father's liability insurance coverage -- Parental immunity is not bar to wrongful death claim brought by son's estate against estate of deceased father -- Further, where both parent and child are deceased, stated basis for capping damages by amount of any existing liability policy is enfeebled by the absence of need to maintain domestic harmony
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Wrongful death -- Nursing homes -- Punitive damages -- Trial court did not follow procedural requirements when it allowed plaintiff to amend complaint to add punitive damages claims against nursing home defendants in chapter 400 action alleging negligence and wrongful death where court failed to ensure, based on sufficient admissible evidence, that there was a reasonable basis to believe that plaintiff would be able to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that recovery of punitive damages was warranted under a claim for either direct or vicarious liability
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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 firearm -- Immunity -- Stand Your Ground law -- Trial court erred in denying immunity from prosecution on ground that defendant was trespassing on victim's property when he believed that his brother was in danger of death or great bodily harm where record demonstrated that defendant was not on victim's property at that time
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Criminal law -- Pretrial detention -- Article I, section 14 of Florida Constitution does not prohibit a trial court, upon finding of probable cause that defendant committed a crime punishable by capital punishment or life imprisonment, from detaining defendant beyond first appearance for a reasonable time pending a bond hearing without making a preliminary finding of “proof evident, presumption great” -- Conflict certified
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Criminal law -- Pretrial intervention program -- Veterans -- Eligibility -- Veterans' court did not depart from the essential requirements of the law in denying defendant admission into pretrial veteran's treatment intervention program despite the fact that defendant satisfied criteria as stated in section 948.08(7) -- Based on the plain language of the statute, a defendant who satisfies section 948.08(7)'s criteria is “eligible” for, but not entitled to, admission into veterans' court -- A judge has discretion to decide whether or not to admit defendant -- No abuse of discretion in denying defendant admittance into veterans' court where neither the administrative order enacting the program, the order's incorporated program manual, veterans' court's statements, nor veterans' court's written order contained any kind of blanket policy, rules or criteria in addition to those set forth in section 948.08(7) which would foreclose an otherwise eligible and willing defendant from being admitted
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Criminal law -- Sentencing -- Guidelines -- Downward departure -- Invalid departure -- Remedy -- The proper remedy upon reversal of a sentence due to the invalidity of a downward departure is resentencing de novo -- On remand for resentencing, the trial court is permitted to impose a downward departure as long as the departure “comports with the principles and criteria” of the Criminal Punishment Code
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