LOG IN
    SELECT A PUBLICATION:
Florida Law Weekly
FLW Supplement
FLW Federal
User Name:
Password:
 


CONTACT
    Toll-free: 800-351-0917
    E-mail us
    Submit Opinions

PLACE AN ORDER
    Print Editions
    Online Editions
    Bound Volumes
    2/24-Hour Online Access


OUR PUBLICATIONS
    Florida Law Weekly
    FLW Supplement
    FLW Federal
    Collected Cases
    Sample FLW Online


RESEARCH
    Cross Citations
    Week In Review
    Rule Revisions
    Review Granted
    Current Issue Index
     Civil Section
     Criminal Section
    2020 Cumulative Index
     Civil Section
     Criminal Section
    Public Reprimands
    Florida Statutes
    Helpful Links



  
Week In Review

Headnotes of selected Florida Supreme Court and District Courts of Appeal cases filed the week of
July 19, 2021 - July 23, 2021

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.

Administrative law -- Insurance rates -- Regulatory rate-compliance action by Office of Insurance Regulation against regulated insurer -- Consent order -- Appeals -- Standing -- Adversely affected party -- Policyholder who filed rate complaint authorized by section 627.371(1) lacked standing to seek judicial review of consent order entered by OIR in rate-compliance proceeding against regulated insurer where policyholder was not party to OIR's administrative regulatory action against insurer and was not adversely affected by consent order -- Any adverse financial effect of consent order on complainant was collateral effect of consent order and did not qualify complainant as “party” to administrative regulatory action against insurer's license -- Nothing in statutes prohibits OIR from settling rate compliance proceeding with a regulated insurer without participation or approval of complainant under section 627.371
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Insurance -- Homeowners -- Assignment of benefits -- Action by assignee under assignment of benefits agreement which performed water mitigation services on insured home, alleging that insurer breached policy's loss payment provision by paying benefits to insured rather than to plaintiff assignee -- Error to enter summary judgment for plaintiff assignee where there was factual issue as to whether, as alleged in affirmative defense, the assignment of benefits agreement was signed by the insured
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Insurance -- Homeowners -- Insured's breach of contract action against insurer -- Discovery -- Privileged information -- Underwriting file -- Trial court departed from essential requirements of law by compelling insurer to produce certain documents contained in insurer's underwriting file without allowing insurer reasonable time after court had ruled on non-privilege objections to file a privilege log addressing the subject documents and conducting in camera inspection of any documents for which insurer asserted a claim of privilege or confidentiality
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Insurance -- Homeowners -- Mediation -- It was an abuse of discretion for trial court to dismiss insureds' action against insurer for recovery of water-related damage to insured home as a sanction for failure to attend mediation -- Dismissal was too severe a sanction where only one of three owners of property failed to appear for mediation -- Insureds ordered to pay mediator's and attorney's fees as sanction
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Insurance -- Personal injury protection -- Summary judgment -- Where insurer asserted that charges claimed by insured's assignee for medical services were not reasonable, it was error for trial court to grant summary judgment finding that charges were reasonable on basis that insurer's affidavit in opposition to motion for summary judgment was speculative and legally insufficient -- Affidavit of insurer's claims adjuster and records custodian was not speculative -- Expert testimony based on experience is not prohibited
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Landlord-tenant -- Trial court erred in entering judgment for alleged landlord in alleged tenant's action for damages for violation of section 83.67(1), Florida Statutes 2018, by termination or interruption of utilities on basis that no landlord-tenant relationship existed between parties -- Where alleged landlord rented house as a lessee and entered into oral agreement to rent a room in the house to alleged tenant, alleged landlord was a sublessor bound by the requirements of the Florida Residential Landlord and Tenant Act -- Alleged tenant, as a person who was entitled to occupy the house under a rental agreement with alleged landlord, was, in fact, a “tenant”
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Public records -- Access -- Advance payment of preliminary cost estimate -- Estimated final cost of reviewing responsive records for statutorily exempt information -- Reasonableness of amount -- Trial court erred in holding that city's prepayment request constituted an unlawful interference with party's right to access to public records -- Trial court's determination that amount of city's prepayment request, or even the city's estimated final cost to review for statutorily exempt information over 146,000 emails responsive to specified search terms, was unreasonable was not supported by competent, substantial evidence -- Further, order contained no meaningful findings, failed to explain criteria or basis for finding that estimate was unreasonable, and failed to explain to city what action it was required to take to comply with order other than directing parties to try to “work together in good faith” and indicating that city should try to “reduce the special services costs ... to a reasonable amount” -- Remand for further proceedings -- If trial court again concludes city violated Act, it must enter written order containing appropriate findings and legal conclusions supporting its decision
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Public records -- Venue -- Governmental entities -- Home venue privilege -- Election records -- Supervisors in eight Florida counties were entitled to exercise home venue privilege in suit filed against them in Leon County under chapter 119 seeking orders requiring supervisors to retain digital copies of permanent paper ballots -- Section 47.021, which generally provides that actions against multiple defendants may be brought in county of residence of any defendant, does not override home venue privilege -- Section 97.0115, which preempts election matters to the state, does not create a statutory waiver of home venue privilege -- Allegations were insufficient to support application of sword-wielder exception -- Argument that temporarily remote nature of court proceedings, a safety measure in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic, supports denial of home privilege is without merit -- Order denying supervisors' motion to dismiss reversed
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Taxation -- Ad valorem -- Exemptions -- Federal enclave -- Trial court did not err in ruling that tangible personal property used in connection with solar energy generating facility located on a ground lease within territorial confines of federal air force base was taxable -- Congress has indicated its consent for state or local taxation of private lessee's interest in building and improvements under Military Leasing Act -- Even if Congress had not consented to taxation under Military Leasing Act, property would be subject to taxation pursuant to Florida law and Deed of Cession -- Deed exempted property from taxation so long as it was occupied by the United States for the purpose set forth in the deed, and Section 6.04, Florida Statutes, exempts property conveyed to federal government for “needful” federal purposes while it continues to be owned, held, used and occupied by U.S. for the purposes set forth in the statute “and not otherwise”
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Torts -- Premises liability -- Trip and fall in hotel room -- Change in floor level -- Duty to warn -- Duty to maintain premises in reasonably safe condition -- Although trial court correctly determined as matter of law that defendant had no duty to warn plaintiff of open and obvious change in floor level between tiled entryway and carpeted floor of hotel room, it was error to grant summary judgment in favor of defendant where there was genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendant failed to maintain premises in reasonably safe condition given evidence that unbeveled 3/8-inch change in floor level violated building code -- Constructive notice of condition may be inferred where condition existed for sufficient length of time that condition should have been known to defendant through exercise of due diligence
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Torts -- Product liability -- Tobacco -- Punitive damages -- Mitigating evidence -- Settlement agreements -- Trial court did not abuse its discretion by allowing defendant to introduce as mitigation evidence the amounts paid to states under two tobacco-litigation settlement agreements -- Settlements were relevant to jury's job of discerning appropriate degree of punishment and deterrence to be imposed due to defendant's Engle-related misconduct
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Wrongful death -- Product liability -- Tobacco -- Jury instructions -- Spoliation of evidence -- Adverse inference -- Trial court did not abuse discretion by instructing jury with Standard Civil Jury Instruction 301.11(a), which permits, but does not require, the jury to draw an adverse inference if jury concludes that a party lost or destroyed evidence that “would have been material in deciding the disputed issues in this case” -- Instruction was correct statement of law, and defendant's proffer laid sufficient factual predicate to allow jury to infer that decedent's husband, who originally initiated lawsuit on behalf of wife's estate, destroyed wife's medical records and that medical records were material to issues in dispute -- Duty to preserve evidence is not required for adverse instruction to apply -- Evidence -- Call log -- Plaintiff waived any evidentiary objection to call log in which paralegal at plaintiff's counsel's law firm memorialized a phone call with decedent's husband in which he admitted that he had shredded all wife's medical records where plaintiff herself admitted the call log into evidence at second trial pursuant to an agreement with defendant that defendant would not depose records custodian of plaintiff's counsel's law firm -- Plaintiff's voluntary disclosure of call log waived attorney-client privilege
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 -- Appeals -- Certiorari -- Denial of motion to dismiss misdemeanor charge based on presumption of continued incompetency -- Trial court did not depart from essential requirements of law by denying motion to dismiss misdemeanor charge filed by defendant who had been found incompetent to proceed over a year earlier without any subsequent order finding that competency had been restored where defendant failed to submit to competency evaluation before expiration of rule 3.213's one-year limitation period -- Trial court properly referred defendant for competency examination that defendant had previously evaded
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Criminal law -- Perjury -- Providing false official statement -- Evidence -- Intercepted recording of private oral communications -- Trial court erred in finding defendant had reasonable expectation of privacy during mandatory employee exit interview which was conducted by defendant and another Department of Corrections employee when a correctional officer leaving employment with Department of Corrections stated that he saw DOC staff members using excessive force on three inmates during three separate incidents -- Departing employee's secret recording of exit interview was not an “oral communication” as defined by section 934.02 -- Defendant did not have actual subjective expectation of privacy which was reasonable where DOC's policy mandated that both exit interview and its subject matter be documented; subject matter involved matters of great public importance; interview was witnessed by another DOC employee; and interview took place on government property
VIEW OPINION (login required)

Criminal law -- Sexual battery on child under age twelve by person eighteen or older -- Evidence -- Other crimes, wrongs or acts -- Statements of child victim -- Trial court did not err by admitting collateral-crime evidence where it was proven by clear and convincing evidence that collateral crime occurred, evidence was properly used to corroborate child victim's testimony, and prejudicial effect did not outweigh probative value -- Hearsay -- Exceptions -- Trial court did not abuse discretion by determining that child victim's statements to officer were sufficiently reliable and admissible -- Trial court provided specific findings of fact as to statements' reliability based on factors described in Townsend v. State, and findings were supported by record
VIEW OPINION (login required)