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ProveMyFloridaCase.com > Articles posted by David Adelstein (Page 3)

Attorney’s Fees and the “American Rule”

Not every cause of action asserted gives rise to an argument to recover attorney’s fees.  Florida follows what is known as the “American Rule” which is “attorney’s fees may be awarded by a court only when authorized by statute or agreement of the parties.”  State Farm Fire & Casualty Co v. Palma., 629 So.2d 830, 833 (Fla. 1993); Bank of New York Mellon Trust Co., N.A. v. Fitzgerald, 215 So.3d 116, 119 (Fla. 3d DCA 2017) (“It is well-established that attorney’s fees may not be awarded unless authorized by contract or statute.”); accord Attorney’s Title Ins. Fund, Inc., v. Landa-Posada,...

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Moving for a Remittitur to Reduce Jury’s Verdict

When a damages verdict comes in high for a plaintiff, it is not uncommon for a defendant to move for a remittitur for the trial judge to reduce the amount of damages arguing that the verdict is unreasonably excessive.   A motion for remittitur is a motion to reduce the jury's verdict award. Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal in Fernalld v. ABB, Inc., 46 Fla.L.Weekly D542a (Fla. 4th DCA 2021) explained: When considering a motion for remittitur, the court must determine whether the amount of a damages award “is excessive . . . in light of the facts and circumstances which...

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Appealing a Discovery Order Requiring the Production of Work Product

A party moves for a petition for a writ of certiorari when appealing a discovery order.  “To obtain a writ of certiorari, the petitioner must establish that the discovery order was a departure from the essential requirements of law resulting in a material injury that will affect the remainder of the proceedings below and the injury cannot be corrected on appeal.” Onward Living Recovery Community, LLC v. Mormeneo, 46 Fla.L.Weekly D637a (Fla. 3d DCA 2021).  One example of “material injury,” otherwise referred to as “irreparable harm” is when the trial court orders the production of work product material (protected material prepared...

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Non-Signatory Compelling Arbitration based on Equitable Estoppel

Many times, parties will prefer to arbitrate their disputes instead of litigate their disputes.  Because arbitration is a creature of contract, an arbitration provision must be included in the parties’ contract.  There are pros and cons to arbitration and it is important to discuss these pros and cons with your counsel when negotiating a contract that includes an arbitration provision.  The pros and cons may change over time.  (For example, in this COVID-19 world, there are pros with arbitration that did not exist before the COVID-19 pandemic.)  Notwithstanding, there are instances where a non-signatory to the contract with the arbitration provision...

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Procedure Over Substance when it comes to Temporary Injunction Order

The recent case of Phelan, Jr. v. TriFactor Solutions, LLC, 2021 WL 833515 (Fla. 2d DCA 2021) involves a temporary injunction issued in a noncompete case where the appellate court started off its decision saying, “In some cases, procedure precedes substance. This is one of those cases.”  A good ole procedure over substance matter!  In this case, regardless of the substance, the trial court issued a temporary injunction order.  But the order, i.e., the procedure in issuing the injunction, was wrong for two fundamental reasons. First, the order failed to include specific factual findings from the evidentiary hearing to satisfy the...

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Proposals for Settlements and Attaching Releases

I have discussed proposals for settlement (also known as offers of judgment) in a number of prior articles.  A proposal for settlement is a procedural vehicle used to facilitate a settlement and create a basis to recover attorney’s fees from the date of the proposal on forward if the proposal for settlement is not accepted and the net judgment comes within a certain amount.  Serving a proposal for settlement, and the strategic timing if one is served, should be discussed with your counsel.  It should also be discussed with counsel the pros and cons of rejecting a proposal for settlement...

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Dismissal due to Fraud on the Court Post-Jury Verdict — Not Soooooo Fast

Oftentimes, people use the term “fraud on the court” without truly recognizing the difficulties in getting a case dismissed--the harshest of sanctions--especially in a circumstance where the jury already rendered a verdict.  Upon learning of the facts supporting “fraud on the court,” the appropriate motions should be filed during the course of the case because there are a number of remedies that can be employed short of dismissing a case with prejudice. While in appellate court will review a dismissal due to fraud on the court under an abuse of discretion standard of review, this does not mean that a trial...

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Special Venue Rule in Breach of Contract Actions Known as Debtor-Creditor Rule

There is a special venue rule known as the debtor-creditor rule, which applies in limited circumstances in breach of contract actions.  The debtor-creditor rule provides that if “a cause of action [is] based on failure to pay money due under a contract and the contract does not expressly provide a place of payment, it is implied that the debtor must seek the creditor and payment is to be made where the creditor resides.” Magic Wok International, Inc. v. Li, 706 So.2d 372, 374 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998).  This rule, importantly, ONLY applies when dealing with a liquidated debt; it does...

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Do Not Overlook Reviewing the Forum Selection Provision in the Contract

Many contracts contain what is known as a forum selection provision.  This provision may state that disputes arising out of the contract MUST be brought in the exclusive venue of a specific county or state. Do not overlook this provision because this provision is enforceable and will likely dictate where you will need to file suit in the event of a dispute.  For instance, if you have a contract for services performed in Miami-Dade County, Florida (or you live in that County, or is receiving goods in that County), you may not want to agree to litigate disputes arising from...

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Expert Cannot Serve as Conduit for Inadmissible Evidence / Hearsay

The law allows an expert to rely on hearsay when formulating expert opinions, but an expert cannot serve as a conduit for inadmissible evidence / hearsay.  This point is discussed in the wrongful death action, Dayes v. Werner Enterprises, Inc., 46 Fla.L.Weekly D233b (Fla. 3d DCA 2021), a case that resulted in a defense verdict that was reversed on appeal.  The case involved a tractor-trailer backing up and killing someone. The plaintiff (the estate of the deceased person) raised an issue on appeal that it was error for the trial court to allow a detective to testify “that another officer...

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